It’s no secret that getting an education isn’t cheap these days. With already-high tuition costs rising far faster than inflation, getting an advanced degree has become an exceedingly difficult proposition for the average young adult. But there’s a catch-22 at work here: while attaining a degree may saddle you with student loans for years to come, the cost of forgoing a degree and entering the workplace has been shown, time and time again, to hamper long-term earning potential. In today’s economy, it’s difficult to get by in the white collar world without an advanced degree.
The stark economic situation leaves many people with little choice but to get an education and take out student loans. While it may be impossible in this situation to graduate without any debt, there are, however, numerous ways to lower the cost of education and reduce that debt in the process. Here are a few such approaches you can take:
-Get an online degree. Overlooked by many employers just a decade ago, online schools have grown highly respected in recent years due to their focused pre-professional approach, their increasing popularity, and to the gradual blurring of lines between traditional and virtual universities. Online schools are also far cheaper than their real-world counterparts. Whether you’re seeking a business, criminal justice, or healthcare degree online, you can probably check out online-degree.com and find a program well-suited for your needs – and for your budget.
-Use digital textbooks. Although tuition makes up a substantial portion of any college cost, the high price of textbooks adds up quickly over a few years or semesters. For example, a science major at a four-year school may need four textbooks every semester at a cost of $120 each, bringing the total expense to $3,840 over the course of the degree. Digital textbooks are a great low-cost alternative to the traditional variety. Priced in the range of $15, using these books can translate into considerable savings in the long run, even if you have to buy a laptop or a tablet up front.
-Get scholarships. Many people assume that they won’t qualify for any college scholarships, believing that they aren’t poor enough for need-based aid or smart enough to receive a merit award. While having few assets and a brilliant mind is certainly a great way to secure scholarship funding, there are scholarships out there for all types of people, interests, and backgrounds. There are scholarships for people with red hair, scholarships for those of Bulgarian descent, and scholarships for students who have an interest in rock climbing. The list goes on and on.
-Seek a loan forgiveness program. Most students paying for school will attempt to take out subsidized loans of some sort. While most loans are pretty similar in nature, some colleges, programs, and loan lenders have a forgiveness policy that can help a student eliminate their debt in the long run. Such a policy will usually forgive a student’s remaining debt if they have been paying it off consistently and out of school for a set number of years.
These are a few of the many ways that a student can work to reduce his effective cost of education. While it’s difficult these days to find a degree that comes to us cheaply, there are numerous opportunities and possibilities for those who seek to chip away at the total and save themselves some money.