6 Simple Hacks To Make Going To College More Affordable.
It is impossible to deny that attending college has become more exponentially more expensive of the last thirty years. My father did his masters from Yale University in 1995, and did so without taking out a single loan or asking for help from his parents. He received a stipend for assisting with research and helping professors teach classes, and my mother worked and made enough to pay their room and board.
When looking at tuition prices for my own advanced degree, it seemed unlikely that I would be able to find a program that I would be able to pay for in the same way—and not because my grades were worse, but because school is now more than twice as expensive as it was during our parents’ day, even when adjusted for inflation. A degree that someone would have had to pay $3000 for in 1989 would now cost them more than $8000. This limits the ability of many students to get an education, unless they are looking for ways to make a college education more affordable. Here’s how it can be done:
- Take online classes. Most accredited universities are starting to offer online classes, and not just to their on campus students. In fact, there are plenty of degrees that you can take completely online, at a discount when compared to what you would have to pay to actually sit in a classroom. Some schools are even offering completely free online degrees, which might sound too good to be true, but if you’re looking for a way to save money and still get an education, this is one of the best ways.
- Don’t forget to apply for scholarships. Some schools will automatically consider you for all and every scholarship that they have. Others require you to actually apply for those scholarships, even the academic ones. Do not forget to look for and apply to any and all scholarships that your school and any associated programs offer. If you really cannot afford school and do not have any other means for getting the funding you need, there is probably a scholarship program out there that is willing to send some money your way.
- Consider taking a lighter load. If you only have so much money to devote to your school each year, it might be prudent to only take one or two classes each semester, especially if you have to pay per credit for your classes. It might take you longer to get your degree, but you won’t have to worry about paying tens of thousands into your schooling every year.
- Pick a cheaper school. There’s no use in pretending that you are probably going to get a better education at a more prestigious school. But that doesn’t mean that there are less expensive schools where you cannot still get a great education. A community college does not have the same resources as an Ivy League university, but there are lots of universities in between these two strata that have plenty to offer. If you cannot afford an Ivy League education, consider picking a cheaper a school. Every state has at least one state school, and there are also other types of private and public universities that can give you the same level of education, without asking you to pay $40,000 a semester just for tuition.
- Look for schools offering deals on your program. There are lots of schools that offer expedited or special degree programs. For example, the University of New Mexico has an expedited pre-med program, designed to funnel students into medical schools as quickly as possible. This program is subsidized because of the high demand there is for doctors and other healthcare professionals in that state. There are lots of schools that offer similar programs, depending on what that school or that state values.
- Find a school that matches your values. You don’t want to waste time trying to make a school work for you. Before you even set foot on campus, look for universities that match your learning style and that share your values. This means considering how rigorous the school is going to be, the culture of the campus, the schedule of classes (if some classes are only offered during certain semesters, it can harm your ability to expedite your education), etc. Most schools now have comprehensive webpages that will make it very easy to see whether or not the school you are considering will actually be the right school for you.
College doesn’t have to be a super expensive part of your life that then become a financial burden for the rest of it. Using these methods, you can make getting higher education more affordable.