Most people think that college is extremely expensive. This belief can even hinder people from applying or make them feel overwhelmed at the prospect of coming up with funds. However, once you can break down your post-secondary costs, you will discover that higher education is within reach. Keep reading below to discover different ways to make your dreams come true.
Varying Costs to Attend College
Tuition costs are typically the largest expense associated with going to class. This is the cost of attending classes. There are additional enrollment fees that will be required. Depending on where you plan to attend and what you prefer to study, fees and tuition will vary from institution to institution.
Other college costs include room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses. Just like tuition, these costs vary from college to college. And students can find ways to save money on most of these expenses.
The costs of college are largely dependent on different choices. Are you going to look at local or out-of-state colleges? Moving states will cost you significantly more. However, if the program you are interested in is not available locally, this leaves you with few options.
Are you going to live on campus or find roommates and rent a place of your own? Splitting the rent with others can save you a ton compared to many standard dorm rooms. However, if you live off-campus, will you need a vehicle or have access to public transportation when your schedule demands it? Owning a car will grant you more freedom but paying for insurance, fuel and parking passes will add up. Will you be purchasing a meal plan from school and not worrying about grocery shopping and food preparation? Or will you end up saving money if you have access to a kitchenette and can plan your own meals?
Trying to picture what your day-to-day will involve can be helpful to visualize. Factoring in your classes, meal preparation, travel time, study groups and part-time work will paint a vivid picture of what you can expect financially. The published cost of going to college is dramatically different than reality depending on all these specific components. Financial aid can help you cover many of these aspects if you qualify.
How Financial Aid Can Greatly Reduce Your School Cost
Financial aid refers to money lent to you or given to help you pay for your education. Based on your financial need or combined factors including athletic ability, or academic performance, it can be awarded for a variety of reasons. The majority of students attending college full-time utilize some type of financial aid. There are many kinds of aid available. Look into grants and scholarships too as this is considered “free money,” which typically doesn’t need to be repaid the same way a student loan will have to be. The earlier you look into your aid options, the more time you will have to focus on writing essays, completing volunteer coaching hours or meeting other specific requirements. Leaving your application process to the last minute will only leave you feeling rushed, stressed and overwhelmed.
The net cost or final price of attending college equals the difference between the fees and tuition, or published cost to attend that location minus any education tax benefits, scholarships or grants that you may be eligible for. It is vital to look at the entire picture to determine how much it will be to attend.
When looking at the published costs on school websites, don’t be discouraged as they can be much higher than the actual out-of-pocket cost. The real number you need to concern yourself with is your estimated net cost. Knowledge is power. Most colleges offer a net price calculator on their website.
Some Ideas To Help Pay For College
Earning extra cash in advance will leave you with less to borrow later on. If college is a year or two away or longer, now is the perfect time to open a high-interest savings account and start earning some cash. To avoid temptation for future spending, speak with your bank about different savings account options. Maybe you can make it a “deposit only” account with no bank card access. This way, you won’t be able to dip into it along your savings journey. Find out if there is a minimum balance to obtain a higher interest rate. Explain to your banker that you are saving for college, and this isn’t a typical chequing account. Many banks have student account options with lower or no fees to help you save as much as possible.
Here are some ideas to help you save up for college:
- Tutor other students in math, languages, English, or science courses.
- Mow lawns, pull garden weeds, shovel snow.
- Babysit on weekends, New Years’ Eve and whenever you have extra time.
- House and pet sitting options for family, friends, teachers and neighbors.
- Work as a server at a restaurant, golf course, banquet hall, kitchen help, dishwasher, etc.
- Start a grocery delivery service for your elderly neighbors and busy young families.
- Make something to sell jewelry, homemade soap, wooden signs, clothing, etc.
- Pick grapes, fruit, etc.
- Get a part-time job for evenings and weekends at your favorite store, theatre, mall, or restaurant.
- Detail boats, golf carts, cars, trucks, etc.
- Fixing bikes, computers, lawnmowers, dirt bikes, or anything else you enjoy tinkering with.
- Write social media posts or blogs for your favorite company.
- Start a dog-walking service for people in your neighborhood.
- Interior or exterior painting services, paint or stain fences, garage doors, window trim, etc.
- Washing cars, boats, trucks, etc.
- Transplanting plants, selling perennials, selling flower seeds or tree seedlings.
- Chopping wood and delivering wood.
- Helping people move furniture, advertise for moving day services.
- Sell clothes, shoes, toys, jewelry, computer components, accessories, etc.
Check Community Job Boards & Online Postings
You don’t have to be an entrepreneur to make some extra cash. Think about what you naturally enjoy doing. Where in your community does this activity occur? Is there a business or a place that you can approach to see if they are hiring? Speak with your family, friends’ parents and teachers to see if they know anyone who is hiring. Read your community job postings to see if you qualify for anything. Alternatively, create your own post that you are willing to provide a specific service or help with odd jobs to pay for college. You will be surprised how many people in your neighborhood can use your help with something!