With the cost of higher education skyrocketing, students across the country are struggling to find ways to make college life more affordable. Here are four tips to help you save money while getting an education:
Live at home
Living at home or with relatives can shave a huge chunk off your collegiate expenses. Alternatively, if no family options are available, consider sharing an apartment or house with multiple roommates. You might feel a bit crowded, but remember, it’s a means to an end, and your affordable “close quarters” won’t last forever.
Think 2 & 2
Consider attending a community college for two years then transferring to a four-year school for your last two years. Tuition rates are generally much lower for community colleges, plus, because they’re geared towards new students, they offer great learning opportunities for those with little or no college experience. They are a great (and budget-conscious) place to start.
Buy used textbooks
Check your local campus bookstore or online to compare prices. Better yet, borrow books from other students. Ideally, they’ll offer them for free, but even a small “rental” fee is cheaper than buying. If you can only buy new, check for an “international” edition. It will be almost exactly the same as the U.S. version, except for some possible foreign characters or words on the cover, but it will be much less expensive. And don’t forget to sell your used books back when you’re done with them! If your school will not buy them back, try to sell them online such as Amazon.com.
If you are fortunate to work for an organization that offers tuition reimbursement, take advantage of this generous benefit. If you are enrolled in a college program that is related to your line of work, chances are that you’ll be reimbursed for a portion of your tuition and/or your books, saving you thousands each year. By enrolling in classes that you can take during the evening or online that are conducive to your work schedule, you may be able to earn a paycheck, graduate with your college degree and be debt-free!