Despite federal aid, institutional incentives, and scholarships, paying for college is still a financial burden. Most students have $100k in debt before their 21st birthday. To avoid high student debt, research all of your financial options to avoid taking out loans. Apply for scholarships to supplement your financial aid package, and find alternatives to loans.
Having information is the first step towards saving money. Make a list of what you are looking for in a college experience, and find the cheapest way to meet most of your goals. Some students simply want to get a diploma while other students want an exciting campus life, specific location, and athletic and social opportunities. Determine what sacrifices you are willing to make to minimize your debt. Every student has to give up a luxury to afford college, so prioritize what you want in your college experience to make your decision.
College means different things to different people. Is college important to you because it pushes you towards your dream job or is it important because you are the first in your family to attend? Answer questions like these to and pick why college is most important to you. Focus on campus qualities and a set of criteria and not brand names. The less attached you are to an institution the more options you will have when choosing a school.
If your dream job is a trade like construction or welding, paying $50k a year for college is unnecessary and uneconomical. Look for the best value for the education needed you’re your job. Doctors and engineers will pay more for a 4-year degree than general degrees. For general liberal arts degrees like English, education, communications etc. big-name schools are not important. Unless you want to be a doctor, or work in another high-demand field, avoid the brand names and the higher bill.
Some students want independence, with flexible scheduling and a manageable work load to keep a part-time job. Other student want to fully submerge in the college atmosphere. These students want to eat, sleep, and play on campus. Students who fully immerse themselves in the college experience will have more debt than students willing to commute. Colleges cushion tuition to compensate for the lifestyle, so if you want the full experience there are options to make school more affordable.
Latest College & Financial Aid News
April 13, 2021
Let’s say you’ve made it. You are enrolled in college, or have been for a year or two. You’re receiving some financial aid, or even a scholarship, but something’s missing. It’s money. No matter how generous the package you’re receiving is, there’s always one more book to buy, one more activity fee, one more dining hall bill… [...]
April 6, 2021
by Izzy Hall
The coronavirus made laptops a necessity for college students. Where before students without personal computers or laptops could use on-campus computers and provided software to meet the technological needs of their courses, the shift last spring to online classes necessitated that students have a stable internet connection and a compatible device. While the majority of students were able to meet this requirement, according to a study by EDUCASE, some students found themselves without a modern laptop that could run the most up-to-date browser, use RAM-heavy software or keep up even with reliable high-speed Wi-Fi. One university has announced a unique remedy for this technical situation. [...]
March 31, 2021
by Izzy Hall
When students hear back from colleges in the coming weeks, they may not get a firm acceptance or rejection, but rather get put on the wait list. Getting waitlisted is a normal part of the college admissions process, but some experts say that this year the wait list could turn into the longest it has ever been. A combination of the effects of the coronavirus on colleges, changes in application policies and an increase in applications at top colleges may contribute to a difficult wait list period. [...]