Of Course I Want to Further My Education, But How Can I Afford It?

affording collegeIt all comes down to cost.

Everyone recognizes the importance of higher education for furthering a professional career, but not everyone can afford to go to college or chase that graduate degree. The costs of higher education are on the incline and showing no signs of slowing down. In-state public university tuition can cost as much as $10,000 per year and tens of thousands more for private schools. That kind of money is no drop in the bucket and most Americans don’t have that type of money tucked away in a savings account.

So if higher education is so important, how can the average student afford it?

Here’s a look at some ways to manage your tuition payments:

  • Payment plans: Most colleges allow students to set up a payment plan, where you can make monthly installments, rather than one big up-front payment. Think of it like financing a car – instead of paying all costs up front, you’re able to spread them out over the course of the year.
  • Financial aid: Get in touch with the university and see what types of financial aid options are available. But don’t stop there; make sure you get to know these professionals, as they’re more apt to keep you in the loop with new and opening financial aid opportunities.
  • Work your way through school: Even just a part-time job can help offset tuition costs and can help make an expensive academic year more manageable.
  • Scholarships: This is one aspect of higher education that you need to search long and hard for, as there’s a bevy of academic and non-academic scholarships out there for the taking. We all know about scholarships that are available to low-income families and exceptional students, but there are also scholarships for adults going back to school, creativity, community service and tons of others. Even if the scholarship is just for $500 or $1,000, every little bit helps paying in for tuition.
  • Student loans: A final option is taking out student loans. You’ll have to start paying student loans back following graduation, but it’s one way to finance an education.

There’s no question that higher education is expensive, but there’s also no question that there’s a variety of options to help students get the education they desire.