College isn’t the only choice when it comes to higher education, but it is key when going into fields like business and technology. Unfortunately, it can also be pretty pricey.
Skyrocketing tuition costs, dorm fees, books, gas money and standard day-to-day bills all drive up the price – and when you’re a student right out of high school and just starting out, that bill can force you to choose between a quality education and an affordable one.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are plenty of ways that you can make a college education affordable without skimping on quality. Not sure how?
Sharon Stanton, communications specialist with Walsh and Karen Mahaffy, executive director of admission and enrollment services offer some tips.
One of the first steps a student should take when looking for ways to pay for college is to take a look at everything that you’ll owe that school year.
“Do the research, look into the cost of tuition and fees,” Stanton says.
Walsh tries to keep fees low and limits the number of fees it charges, but that may not be the same at all schools.
After you have a handle on what your bill will look like, fill out a FAFSA form and search for scholarships. Check with your chosen school’s website to see what kind of offerings they have for enrolled or future students.
Walsh, for example, offers $400,000 in scholarship funds each year to its students.
This helps to keep the amount of loans a Walsh student has to take out, and later pay back with interest, at a minimum. The average Walsh undergrad only takes out roughly $7,500 in loans while the typical graduate student takes out about $12,200.
Consider community college
Another way that college students can trim their bill is by starting out at a local community college for their first few years and then transferring to the university of their choice to complete their degree. In fact, all of Walsh’s undergraduates are transfer students. This saves the average Walsh student around $30,000 compared to those who opt to go to a public university for all four years – and more for those who opt for a private school, Mahaffy says.
“Walsh provides a smooth and seamless transfer process and our students gain the knowledge and practical skills they need to start their careers,” Stanton says.
Be mindful of which courses transfer to your school of choice. Work with an advisor to ensure you’re taking, and paying for, classes that transfer and avoiding those that won’t.
Stay at home
Students who have a reliable vehicle or access to public transportation can also save a hefty chunk of change on room and board by choosing to live at home and commute to school.
Some may resist this option because they fear missing out on the “college experience,” but there’s no reason to worry as many colleges, including Walsh, offer plenty of social activities and opportunities for their students.
“Walsh is a commuter school with an active student life community,” Mahaffy says. “We have career-focused student organizations, networking events, internships and other ways to meet new friends and make professional connections, too.”
Walsh offers small classes taught by professionals who are often actively working in the field they are teaching. Classes can be scheduled up to a year in advance and depending on the program, students have the flexibility to attend online, on ground or a combination of both.
“Whether you’re taking a class online or at one of our locations, you’re not only engaging with a faculty member, you’re engaging with a professional,” Mahaffy says.
“Walsh’s curriculum is focused and career-oriented,” Stanton says. “It’s been developed with current and future employment needs in mind. Our employment rate is almost 94 percent and we have alumni working in nearly every Fortune 500 company in Michigan.”
For more information about the Walsh difference, visit WalshCollege.edu.