10 Ways to Get a Degree Without Spending a Fortune

Dec 14, 2018

Investing in an education can set you up for success in your field, translating to new job opportunities or even an automatic promotion. For young people, it may also provide valuable insight into what type of career is the best fit.

Still, student loan debt is a stressful and daunting reality for may graduates – even years after they throw their cap in the air. Here are a few tips on how to get a degree without spending an arm and a leg.

1. Look for local scholarships

While going to school in another state is often appealing, many scholarships are available exclusively to locals, including state-run scholarships. Scholarship awards are also based on everything from academic merit to financial need. Apply for any scholarship you may qualify for.

2. Consider working for the school

If you can manage to work full time for the school while you work towards your degree, you may just get a tuition break. Some students are even granted free tuition if they have worked for the school long enough. While this option may not be ideal for young students, adult students who intend on working anyway can save a considerable amount of cash by working for their institution.

3. Find a generous employer

Tuition reimbursement is offered by employers from department stores to engineering firms. If you are already working full time, ask your employer about the possibility of using this scheme. While reimbursement is often limited to classes that relate to the employer (for instance, business courses may be reimbursed by a department store), these checks still help to pay for school.

4. Avoid new books

Even if you manage to get your tuition largely covered by scholarships or grants, necessities like textbooks add up pretty quickly. Avoid buying brand new books whenever possible. Thanks to online exchanges and used bookstores, you can usually pay half price. If you are assigned a brand spanking new addition, consider sharing with a trusted classmate.

Read also – 10 College Degrees with the Worst Return on Investment

5. Start at a junior college

Most degrees require quite a few prerequisites before you get into the meat of your upper division coursework. If you can take care of these classes at a junior college, you will pay less per credit and can typically transfer the classes to a four-year university later.

6. Do not drag it out

While conventional wisdom might say that you should just take a few classes here and there as you can afford to do so – this can end up being costly. Some fees associated with your degree are administered each semester.

So, the more semesters you are in school the more times you have to pay these fees. Complete your degree in as few semesters as is reasonable. Tuition hikes frequently take place every few years as well, and finishing sooner than later helps you avoid them.

7. Take your studies seriously

Sometimes failing a course can stand between you and your degree. Many prerequisites require a “C” or better to continue on to other required classes. Failing means you need to retake the class altogether, paying for it a second time.

8. Only borrow what you need

The allure of student loans is often due in part to the fact that you can borrow more than you need to cover tuition. Still, avoid taking out extra money for rent, clothes, etc. if you can help it. Those extra loan checks add up quickly to serious debt.

9. Make necessary sacrifices

While you are getting your degree it might be necessary to downgrade to a studio apartment or take on a roommate. Be realistic about where you need to cut back on expenses and do it.

Read also – 8 Lucrative Jobs You Don’t Need a Degree for

10. Never turn down free money

Whether it is a Pell Grant or a check from your grandma, never turn down the opportunity for money with no strings attached out of pride. Accept the help.

Getting a degree is laborious and time-consuming. It does not, however, have to put you in the poorhouse. Plan carefully and apply for aid – you will be a graduate with more than just a few dollars in the bank before you know it.

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