When you begin researching colleges and degree programs, it’s easy to get caught up with the cost – specifically the cost per credit hour. Before choosing a college, it’s important to look inside the cost of tuition because it often includes a number of hidden fees, everything from books to parking and living expenses. No one wants to pay for things they don’t need, but students often do without even realizing it.
Then, you need to consider what types of services are available to you as a student. Will the college help you apply for financial aid? Will it help you start your career? We put together these five great tips to help make college more affordable.
1) Research student loan opportunities before you commit to a school. Most colleges have someone to walk you through different types of loans, current interest rates and payment plan options. Make sure the loan is right for you and your family and, if possible, start making payments right away to cut down on the total amount of interest you’ll pay over the term of the loan.
2) Look for scholarship and grant opportunities within your college and beyond. There are several websites that track open scholarships from various organizations and foundations. Colleges may also have a database where students can apply for a scholarship of their choice.
3) Don’t pay more for your degree than you have to. Look for a college or degree program that accepts transfer credits. This not only saves you money, but also accelerates your degree timeline, so you can start working faster. Also, look for a college that includes course materials fees in their tuition, so you’re not paying more out of pocket down the road to complete your degree.
4) Take advantage of employee benefits. If you’re already working, ask your company if it offers tuition assistance. Some colleges may also have partnerships with a company or organization.
5) Choose a college that has career placement services to help you in your job search. Most have access to employment databases that you would otherwise pay for. They will also help you develop your interviewing and networking skills, so you are ready to start your career by the time you complete your degree.
To learn more about financing your education, call one of our program managers at (888) 549-6755.