A college education will be among the most expensive things that you ever buy. However, a college degree is still a great investment. In fact, no one is going to hire you without one. But, damn, it is pricey. We are going to assume that you do not have a full ride scholarship or a very wealthy benefactor? Right, none here either. Okay, if you want to be able to graduate from college with a degree and not be deeply in the red, you will need some financial tips. Here’s the best we can offer!
Colleges and universities charge a different tuition rate depending on where you live. If you go to a school in the same state where you have been living, the tuition will be much less expensive. You might even be able to swing some aid at an in-state school too as some states offer residents scholarship opportunities as an incentive to not leave the state for your education.
Brain drain is bad for states and they try to avoid it. Your parents’ employers might help out too. Many companies support the communities in which they do business, some even offer small scholarships and grants to local students.
Live at Home
We know, living with the ‘rents is terminally un-hip. But, come on, you know this is a smart solution. Rent on an apartment is a huge expense, don’t do it. This is the only time in your adult life that no one will look at you funny for living with your parents. For free.
Use the combination of living at home and attending an in-state school to avoid taking out any student loans. Repayment of student loan debt is a massive chunk of the budgets of graduates.
Student loan debt can take decades to pay off. Literally. Do not get into the credit card habit either. Interest is a real thing. Compounding interest is a nightmare.
Get a Job
Classes, labs, homework, reading assignments, essays and papers. It all takes a lot of time. But you still have time to get a job. Try a campus job, you’ll cut down on the committee. A degree alone is not always a guarantee of post-college employment and a resume that starts early will get your foot in the door. Don’t work full time, and get a job that is cool with you being a student.
Skip Spring Break
Drop a grand for two weeks of the same tomfoolery and STDs that your parents sprang for? Or, skip drinking at clubs and save it up for Fort Lauderdale. Just be smart – you’re in college, right? This is a good time to reflect on availing of student loans in Australia.
Veni, Vidi, Vici
If you put some thought into it and stay strong against peer pressure temptations to act like a future broke idiot, you can benefit from college and not screw yourself financially along the way. Take time to stop and smell the roses, there is much free fun to be had for students. Just give it the ol’ college try!
Kathryn Thorn is a librarian and advocate of continuous education. She writes for the local paper and is currently taking up a business course in Sydney.
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