Tips for College Finances

career or collegeCollege tuition rates are at the record high across the country, and continue to be a topic of debate for politicians on both sides of the aisle. What was once a rite of passage for most ambitious high school graduates now has parents and young adults alike wringing their hands over the value of higher education. For those less entrepreneurial in nature, advanced degrees are proven tools that improve earning potential throughout one’s lifetime. However, the idea of starting a budding career straight out of college already swimming in debt may be too big of a hurdle to overcome.

Multiple options can reduce the burden of rising tuition costs. Relying solely on student loans to supplement any college savings or scholarships isn’t the only route. Allowing for a little flexibility while pursuing your degree can go a long way toward keeping expenses manageable.

Community College

Many people have been conditioned to apply directly to their dream university right out of high school. This is the costliest option, especially if the school is far from home or out of state, which leads to additional fees for room and board.

However, a surprising number of students don’t know what they want to major in, change their major, or find that the college level curriculum doesn’t suit them. When funding college is a concern, these issues are easily addressed by the local community college.

Going to junior college can be cost-effective. There are many positives to going through and receiving an associate’s degree or just getting general education credits finished.

Going this route can save you a lot of money and time. In the meantime, you could have plenty of room for a job. This can be crucial especially if finances are tight. Once finished, you’d only need to go to a bigger university for two years to get a bachelor’s degree.

Refinancing

There are plenty of reasons to refinance student loans, be it reduced interest rates, lower monthly payments, or gaining easy-to-manage accounts. As time goes on from the time you began schooling, there’s always a possibility that the interest rates become lower than when you started.  

There are even options of student loan forgiveness – by working for a non-profit organization for ten years, you get the potential to apply for your loans to be taken care of. But then, it isn’t as simple, and shouldn’t be looked upon as a first resort due to time and the strictness of the requirements. There’s also a chance you could take care of all your student loans before the required ten years.

Every Little Bit Helps

Everything adds up, no matter how small the price tags are. Using student discounts whenever you can is a great way to save money on entertainment or necessities. Giving yourself spending limits can help teach you discipline and only spend money on what you need for the time being.

Also read: How to Earn Your Success

For instance, only give yourself five hundred dollars over a certain amount of time to spend. Or, rather than buying a bunch of stuff on a shopping spree, only purchase a few things at a time and those things you need to get you by. Jumping on every sale you see may not save you money in the long run either. It’s better to spend no money than to jump on a sale for something you don’t need in the first place.

There are plenty of small things that can save you money, and diminish your student debt as much as possible while going to school. Never dismiss things that seem too little or ineffective, because in the end, it all adds up.

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Ava Moore
BA, MA Psychology (and Conflict Resolution), University of Cambridge (2007). With a decade of trial and error in psychology and 33 years of navigating my own complex (that's one word for it!) relationships with family, friends, co-workers and men, I hope I have some useful knowledge and skills to share with my readers about making sense of relationships and trying to become a better person every day.

I'm the Chief Editor here at Independent Femme and would love to hear from you.

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