It’s no secret that college can be insanely expensive. It will most likely take the average student anywhere from 2 to 6 years to complete their associate’s or bachelor’s degree. In that time, it’s easy to rack up a lot of debt that could take years to pay off. Sounds pretty scary, doesn’t it? Don’t freak out just yet! There are ways to actually get through school debt-free. Here’s a few:
Scholarships, Scholarships, Scholarships!
Yes, three times – it’s that important. Scholarships are probably the easiest way to save money during your college years, but they do take a little work to find. There are scholarships out there for almost everything - grades, special skills, gender, financial need, minority status, you name it! All it takes is some serious searching on the web or at your school. Even though it may seem like a pain to search and apply to multiple scholarships, it’s free money! It’ll be worth it once the dollars start rolling in.
Try a Community College First
This tip is for all of the high-schoolers who are thinking about college. Although the thought of going to a university right away may seem exciting, community college can be a great way to start off the first two years, and save you a good chunk of change in the process. Every school has prerequisites and general education requirements in order to graduate, and these classes are usually less expensive at a community college. You might be able to test out of them, but either way, make sure all of your credits will transfer directly to the university of your choice, and you’re set! Bonus: you can earn an associate’s degree while you save money!
Work Hard, and You’ll Play Hard
If you’re a full-time student, it can be hard to find time to hold down a job. However, the extra money can definitely be worth it by the end of your college journey. If you have classes that don’t take too much study time, or if you’re taking online courses, it’d be a good idea to use your extra time to find some work. A part-time job with flexible hours or a job on the weekends are great options for a full-time student. Working can also be a good way to take your mind off of the stress of school while also gaining some real-world job experience.
Live at Home
I know, I know, you’re an adult now, so you want to leave home and make your own life. The thing is, being an adult can be pretty costly. Add on the price of tuition, textbooks, and other school expenses to that, and you could be in debt pretty fast. If your parents aren’t rushing you to leave home yet, it’s might be a good idea to stay. You might have to compromise a bit with late nights out and dealing with their rules, but not having to pay for your own groceries and rent? So worth it.
Take Classes During the Summer & Winter
Most schools offer classes during the summer, and some offer them during the winter, too. Taking a break from school may seem great, but the summer and winter classes are shorter and can be cheaper than classes held in the fall and spring. Not all classes are offered during these times, but you may be able to find a couple of courses that you still need to complete in order to graduate. Putting in a little extra work can be rewarding; you’ll save money and you might even graduate earlier than expected!