Going to college can be one of the best experiences of your life. You’ll make friends you won’t forget, and you’ll create a ton of memories that will last a lifetime. While having fun, you’ll also get an education that will help prepare you for the career you want to enjoy.
But while college can be fun, it can also be expensive. Most college students take out loans just to afford college, and then they’re bombarded with a large amount of student loan debt as soon as they graduate.
Thankfully, there are ways to combat the financial burden that could hang over you. Check out the following fall savings ideas that full-time students can use to keep some cash in their pocket.
Take Online Classes
Publishing servers are so fast, that the vast majority of our higher learning institutions allow students to take classes (or earn an entire degree) online. And we’re not talking about your regular Online Colleges that many have said are a bad investment. Ivy League schools, Stanford, Berkeley, MIT, all have entire departmental pedagogy online now. The move to MOOC’s is in full swing.
This is a great way to save on the cost of school. Going to school online is much cheaper than traditional colleges for varying reasons. First, you don’t have to pay for room and board, which is a huge expense when going to college. Instead, you can stay living at your parents rent free, or you can live on your own for a cheaper cost than a 10’x10’ room.
Online courses are also cheaper because the school doesn’t have to pay for anything other than an Internet connection and a course instructor to run the class. Because their overhead is minimized, you can earn your degree for a cheaper cost.
Most online programs are also more streamlined too, which means that you can graduate sooner than you would in a traditional college. If you can finish school in two or three years instead of four or five, you will not incur as much debt, and you’ll also be able to start paying off any loans more quickly.
If you need to take out loans, you understand you have to pay them back, and paying them back requires you to make money. While it may be hard for you to juggle full-time classes as well as a job that pays decent enough for you to start paying back your loans, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of luck. Instead, you need to consider other ways to make money, which includes investing.
Learning how to invest your money is not as scary as it may sound. There are plenty of options you have when it comes to investing. Some are more risky than others, but some will allow you to earn a little extra cash without doing or risking too much. You can then use this money to help you pay for college, which is always great to have in your back pocket.
Look For Scholarships And Grants
Student loans may be extremely beneficial when it comes to college, but scholarships and grants are so much better because you don’t have to pay them back. There are scholarships out there for just about everything, so be sure to do your research and apply for as many scholarships as you possibly can. There’s no limit to the amount of scholarships you can have either, so the more the better. Your school of choice may offer some, but also look for other opportunities, such as your place of employment (or your parents’ places of employment).
Websites such as CollegeScholarships.com are also extremely beneficial, as they list a variety of different scholarships for different students. There are scholarships for full-time, part-time, undergraduate, and graduate, so keep looking.
Grants are another great option. These are usually aimed at graduate students, but you may be able to find a few for undergrad too. Some companies are willing to give students grants for college as long as the student is willing to research certain topics.
For example, a student going to school for environmental engineering may get a grant from the EPA (or another organization) to aim their studies on a certain environmental-related topic. This is basically a way for the organization to get a student to do some hard work without having to pay them a salary or hourly wages. In most cases, this grant will be applied to the student’s thesis, but other grant regulations may vary. Depending on your course of study, this can be a viable option to help you pay for school.
Going to school is important, and you need to ensure you don’t let the cost of college weigh you down. Instead, use these tips to help you save money on school and get the education you deserve.
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.