Short of a home purchase, a college education is likely one of the biggest bills you’ll face. According to the latest statistics by the Institute for College Access & Success, seven in 10 college seniors have student loan debt when they graduate, with the average borrower owing $30,100.
Because tuition and housing costs continue to climb, college may feel out of reach for many high school students and soon-to-be college students. However, there are ways to attend college without completing breaking the bank.
- Go Only Four Years
According to the Department of Education, fewer than 40% of students who enter college each year graduate within four years, while 60% of students graduate in six years.
It’s no secret that limiting the college experience to four years reduces overall cost. One option is taking exploratory courses early before choosing your major. Once you do have a major, stick with it! Many employers care more about the skills and experiences you’ve developed than a specific major.
In addition to taking time to choose the right major, try earning college credits through Advanced Placement tests or take a summer class or two online at a community college to reduce your costs and ensure you will be done sooner rather than later.
- Consider Military Benefits
If you’re interested in enrolling in the military, research what education benefits it offers. Tuition assistance, loan repayment options and the GI Bill are a few options for college students in the military. Visit military.com for more information.
- Look at Private Schools
On paper, public universities cost much less than private universities, which often leads to students only applying to public schools. However, private schools are more likely to offer scholarships and grants than their public counterparts. Plus, tuition and housing costs are skyrocketing at many public universities as state governments grapple over how to fund public education.
- Get Creative
Many colleges give parents the chance to save a bundle by prepaying their tuition bills. If your favorite college doesn’t offer this program, see if it belongs to the Private College 529. You might be able to save 10% or more by paying some of those future bills today.With a little planning and research, you’ll have the confidence and financial resources to deal with the rising costs of education.