Smart Money Moves When Paying for School
The cost of college has skyrocketed over the past several decades. Long gone are the days when you could pay your tuition with what you earned over the summer. There is no argument that a college education allows you to maximize your earnings, but it can be hard to think about graduating into an uncertain future with a large amount of debt. There are smart money moves you can make to help you pay for college and graduate in a good financial situation that allows you to build a successful life. Focusing on smart money moves during your college career puts you in a good situation to enjoy life as a new graduate.
Consider Jobs with Tuition Reimbursement
Many companies offer tuition reimbursement. If you can find a job close to your college that offers it, it can be a great benefit. When you consider the reimbursement, in addition to the hourly wage you earn, choosing to work for a large corporation, such as Chipotle and UPS, that offers tuition reimbursement, can be a great choice. A bonus is that this type of employment is easy to find in a college town.
Ask the Financial Aid Office for Employment
Work-study programs and jobs at the college you attend can be a great way to help pay for school. The hours are generally flexible, and they expect to work around your schedule. Working on your college’s campus is convenient, and once you have the job you are typically guaranteed a certain number of hours.
Don’t Be Afraid of Loans
The stories of graduating with an astronomical amount of student loan debt are scary, but they are not everyone’s story. Student loans are easy to qualify for and repayment plans are generous. Keeping the overall amount you borrow reasonable will allow you to repay the loans once you are employed in your field. To keep the total amount you borrow reasonable, work to reduce your total college bill. You can do this by working during college and applying for any scholarships and grants you qualify for. You can also save money by taking AP classes in high school and CLEP examinations during your college years. When you pass these tests you earn college credits, which reduces the number of classes you must pay for.Another way to lower your overall college bill is to minimize the amount of time you are in college. As mentioned above, passing AP and CLEP examinations is one way to do this. Another way is to carefully consider your major. It is reasonable to complete your undergraduate degree in four years. CLEP and AP exams can shorten that by a semester or more. Switching majors can extend the time you spend in college. If you enter college with no idea what you want to major in, be honest with the admissions counselor. Aim to take the general education courses you need without focusing on a particular major for the first year or longer. Take advantage of programs at your school to speak with career counselors for ideas on areas you may find interesting. Once you are required to declare a major, aim to have a good idea of where you want to focus. Switching majors can easily delay your graduation by at least a semester or more.