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.
1. Look for financial aid
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.
Many colleges try to keep fees low and limit 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.
2. 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. Students can save thousands of dollars in tuition fees in those early years and then, ultimately, graduate from their dream school that comes with a heftier cost.
“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. The same can be said for many other premier colleges and universities.
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.
3. 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 offer plenty of social activities and opportunities for their students.
Many nearby colleges that have a high commuter student body have student organizations, networking events, internships and other ways to meet new friends and make professional connections – without paying for a dorm.