It’s astonishing how education prices have skyrocketed over the past few years. Pretty soon, it will be difficult for even the highest earners in our nation to send their kids to college.
I’m always looking for ways to save money all while not giving up on opportunities, so here are four ways to go to college for much, much cheaper.
1. Start at a Community College
I wish I would have done this, and you better believe I will be encouraging my kiddos to go this route. You can start taking basic community college classes in high school, and shave off one or even two years of your undergraduate degree. Community college classes are much smaller and much less expensive, and they are a great option especially for those who don’t know what they want to major in just yet.
2. Let Go of the Fancy Names
I spent a lot of energy and money making sure that I graduated from a specific top 30 school. I don’t regret the degree because at the time, it seemed like the best decision. Now that I’m not in a field related to my major or in need of using “the name” to secure a job, I think I could have done just as well professionally in a lesser known school.
Again, I didn’t come to these conclusions until later in life. When I was in high school, I just wanted to go to the best college possible, and I really wanted that name brand. Now that the degree is behind me, and I’ve worked with so many people who had a variety of college experiences, I’m not sure I’m better off just because I went to a prestigious school.
3. Become an RA
Tuition is expensive, sure, but housing costs for college students are downright shocking. It’s amazing how much universities charge for students to live in a tiny dorm room, but again, it’s all a part of that branded experience that every college student is “supposed to have.” I don’t know how much I spent living in the dorms, but I do know that RAs had a great opportunity because they got to live on campus for free. They do have to work hard and often have to take night shifts, so if your student wants to pursue this route, make sure they understand the time commitment.
4. Start Your Own Business
Normally people advocate finding scholarships and grants, but that’s a given. Many others also advocate students getting a part time job. When I was in college, I had several different part time jobs, often two at a time. Had I know what I know now about working online, I would have been much better off financially.
College campuses are a great place to build businesses because you have such a large client base. Whether you cook meals for your roommates, walk people’s dogs, or do anything else your creative mind and entrepreneurial spirit can come up with, you can make enough money to really offset your college costs.
I know there are many other ways to offset the high cost of college, so if you have any further ideas, please leave them in the comments below.- Catherine Alford