It’s no secret that college is expensive. Today’s graduates are leaving college with more than just an education – they’re leaving with staggering amounts of debt. These massive student loans are causing them to delay important life milestones like getting married, buying a house and having children.
New polls from the Pew Research center indicate that more Americans than ever feel that college is simply too expensive to afford. If that sounds like you, read on to discover 7 easy ways you can save on college.
Go To A Public School
Be choosy about your school. Not only will you need to select an institution that has a great reputation for a quality education, but you’ll want to also look at the total cost. Public universities are a great way to get a world-class education without the huge expense of fancy private schools.
Sure, you may have to give up the dream of having your own dorm room or another perk of a private school, but in return you’ll have much lower loans which is a fair tradeoff.
Take Advantage Of Tax Benefits
Don’t forget about the tax savings. Whether you’re filing your year-end taxes or saving for college, there are programs that offer tax advantages to help you pay for the high cost of college.
Opening a 529 plan is a great way to save money for school in a tax-free way provided you use the funds for college costs. You can also claim tax credits for tuition paid or interest paid on student loans.
Get A Federal Loan
To keep your college costs down, look into federal loans. Federal loans generally have lower interest rates than private loans. As a bonus, some loans can be forgiven if you go into the right field and work in a disadvantaged area for a certain period of time.
The subsidized federal loans are based on financial need while unsubsidized loans are available to anyone. Whether you get federal loans or not, be sure to fill out the FAFSA to see which loans are available to you. Your school may also use the FAFSA to determine if you’re eligible for any need-based scholarships.
Apply For Scholarships
Apply for all of the scholarships and grants you can find. There are thousands of dollars available every year for a variety of reasons. Look for and apply for the free money to help cut down on the cost of your education.
Remember that grants and scholarships don’t need to be repaid, so really put some effort into finding ones you’re eligible for.
There are plenty of ways you can go about obtaining a degree in under four years, and online schools are arguably one of the most efficient and cost-effective options available.
This new form of education also helps you cut down costs that otherwise would have been dedicated to commuting and room and board, making it a great choice for any student on a budget.
Plan your education carefully to ensure you graduate in a maximum of four years to prevent the dreaded expense of a fifth year.
Try Community College First
Go to a local community college for the first 2 years. If you’re not sure what you want to major in or if you’re just feeling thrifty, try out a community college first.
In 2 years you can get an associates degree that includes all of the prerequisites for your major meaning you’ll complete your bachelor’s degree on time, but for a fraction of the cost.
If this sounds like a good idea, check with the school you plan to attend to make sure credits are transferable. In general, public universities are more accepting of community college credits than private schools are.
Look into military or veteran college benefits. If you were in the military or if your parent was in the military, you may be eligible for college benefits. Servicemen and women who were in for at least 36 months of active duty are eligible to receive financial assistance to pay for school.
If you’re considering going to college, but can’t afford it, entering the military may be a great way to serve your country, kickstart your career and pay for your education. Some schools offer ROTC programs where you can train for military service while going to college full time as long as you commit to a military career upon graduation.