College means a lot of things to a lot of different people. If you are hoping to still get a degree, but are worried about affording the high tuition costs, this blog post is written just for you. Depending on your career goals, college is an opportunity to invest in yourself, to learn more and to gain more experience before you enter the real world. Figuring out how to make ends meet to pay the bills might be tricky, but these 5 tips can put you in the right position to graduate debt-free.
1. Apply for federal student aide
Even if you chose a low-cost school, you still might need some help with your college’s expenses. Every student should fill out a FASFA, this information will determine what types of government aid you qualify for when paying for college. If you receive grants or a federal work-study, you will be able to knock off a chunk of your yearly tuition bill. In some cases, the government will grant you federal student loans, which means you are just fronted the money for the time being. Later, interest will accrue until you pay those off, so only take these federal loans if you understand that you will have to pay the money, and more, in the future.
2. Research scholarships and grants
There are many more scholarships that are available to apply to than you think. No matter what type of student you are, there are specific programs that want to help you succeed. Make sure to check with local organizations, past jobs or any service programs you have been involved in. Applying to these scholarships does take time, but don’t think any scholarship is too small. There is no limit to the amount of scholarships you can accept. Even when you’re in college, continue to apply to scholarships so you can keep lowering your tuition costs each semester.
3. Keep working
Once your classes start, things are going to get a little bit busier with schoolwork and extra-curricular activities. If you stay organized, most students can still find time to work a part-time job either around campus, remotely from your dorm or downtown. Even if this job just covers your expenses outside of college, like groceries, shopping trips or nights out, it allows you to keep all the other money strictly for college tuition.
4. Lower expenses where you can
Before you do anything, make sure you start a budget for when you are at college. Keeping track of all of the different expenses and your current income can be a lot to do while studying for tests each week. Radius Bank’s personal financial management tools are available for their clients to help them keep track of their money. If your budget needs to be lower, try to get creative. Your textbooks can always be found online in a cheaper, if not free, version and most schools offer free food and swag on a regular basis.
5. Consider all your options
Even with all of these tips in your back pocket, your dream school might not be feasible. That doesn’t mean you have to skip out on college all together; there are plenty of lower cost options out there. Ever since COVID-19, most schools are more online friendly and offer a reduced price for their online courses. Additionally, if you are looking to save money for a year or two, enrolling in classes at your local community college and receiving credit that you can use to transfer is another financially smart option.
It is always a good idea to start saving money for college as soon as possible. Opening a separate savings account and setting up partial of your direct deposit paycheck to go straight to this account is a great way to save money with out thinking about it. Learn more about Radius’ High-Yield Savings account here.