IN A WORLD OF INCREASING ECONOMIC INSTABILITY, ONE OF THE FEW SURE BETS IS THAT A COLLEGE EDUCATION WILL HELP OPEN DOORS TO A BETTER FUTURE.
College offers you the opportunity to discern your passions and develop those passions into valuable skill sets. However, the cost of higher education continues to climb dramatically each year. Tuition and fees for a public four-year college now average $21,000 for one school year. Before you give up on your dream, you should know that it is possible to go to college without piling up massive student loans.
This course will help you discover all of the options available to make your college education attainable without breaking the bank.
Chapter 1: The Rising Cost of College
Chapter 2: Types of Colleges
Chapter 3: Student Loans
Chapter 4: Financial Aid
Chapter 5: Scholarships
Chapter 6: Working Through College
Chapter 7: Making High School Count
Chapter 8: Out of the Box Ideas
Chapter 9: Work Smarter and Harder
Chapter 10: After You Graduate
THE RISING COST OF COLLEGE
Currently, the cost for a college education is at an all-time high. Tuition and student debt are rapidly rising. It is important for you to be knowledgeable about this situation. This chapter will teach you about the costs of attending college, how much these costs have risen in the past 30 years, and why these costs have skyrocketed at such alarming amounts.
College Tuition Has Jumped by 500% since 1985 »»»
U.S. News & World Report
Report Sheds Light on Where College Tuition Goes »»»
Pete the Planner
When It Comes to Skyrocketing College Costs, Tuition Isn’t the Only Culprit »»»
Rising Student Debt Burdens: Factors Behind the Phenomenon »»»
TYPES OF COLLEGES
When it comes to picking a college, you have numerous options. Not all schools are priced equally so it is important that you consider which schools offer the education you desire within a price range that won’t break your bank. The following sources will discuss the relative costs of four different types of schools: traditional private, traditional public, community college, and online schools.
Is the Cost of Private College Worth It? »»»
College Counselor: Consider Liberal Arts Alternatives »»»
The Pros & Cons of State Universities »»»
Forget Four More Years: Why Community College Could Be Your Ticket to Financial Success »»»
7 Reasons Why Community College Is Awesome »»»
The Benefits of Online Learning »»»
For most people, loans are the easiest way to pay for college, but they can also fill your future with burdensome debt. You may very well have to take out a loan to pay for part or all of your college education. If you do, be sure to know the ins and outs of student loans. The following sources will bring you up to speed on the types of loans available, the interest rates for these loans, and some tips to help you minimize your loan payments once you are finished with school.
Before you apply for loans, find out if there is any direct aid available. This aid can come in many forms and much of it is based upon need. The sources below will guide you through aid on the federal and state levels, aid for military veterans and their families, and tax-free savings options for families.
Federal Student Aid
FAFSA: Estimate Your Aid »»»
State Financial Aid for College »»»
Veteran GI Bill User’s Guide »»»
Military Spouse and Family Educational Assistance Programs »»»
How Does a 529 Plan Work? »»»
529 Rebels: Alternative Ways to Save for College »»»
Scholarships are the best way to get free money for college, and there are many different types. For example, there are scholarships for academics, athletics, music, and other extracurriculars. In addition, there are scholarships to help aid minority groups. Even though many scholarships come with strings attached or hoops you are required to jump through, the help they provide in paying for your education is well worth the (often) hard work. The following links will give you the run-down on college scholarships along with lists of various scholarship options available to you.
Get the Skinny on Scholarships »»»
The New York Times
How Much Merit Aid Will Your College Offer? Take a Look »»»
CBS Money Watch
8 Things You Should Know about Sports Scholarships »»»
Open Education Database
Minority Scholarships »»»
100 Unique and Weird Scholarships worth Applying For »»»
U.S. News & World Report
Follow a Scholarship Application Calendar in 2014 »»»
WORKING THROUGH COLLEGE
One of the best ways to pay for your college education is to work for it. Of course, this is certainly not the easiest route, and it requires that you balance your time well. Believe it or not, there are many opportunities for students to earn part-time income to help offset the cost of college. The sources below will introduce you to jobs on campus (work-study jobs), part-time off campus jobs, and ideas for businesses you can start yourself. And best of all, there is a link explaining how to get your current employer to help pay for your education.
How Work-Study Works »»»
Working Your Way Through College »»»
Best Part-Time College Student Jobs and Where to Find Them »»»
5 Best Businesses for College Students to Start »»»
How to Get Your Employer to Pay for College »»»
MAKING HIGH SCHOOL COUNT
There are several ways to chip away at your college course load before you ever set foot on a college campus (or virtual college campus). Less classes to take means less money in tuition. You do the math. So how is this possible? You can take AP or IB courses. You can take CLEP tests. And if you live near a college campus, you can often include a college course or two in your high school course load. Additionally, you will need to work diligently in order to ace your ACT and SAT tests! The following sources will walk you through each of these options.
AP Classes – Why They Matter »»»
What Is International Baccalaureate? »»»
What Is the Difference Between IB & AP Classes for High School Students? »»»
CLEP Exams During High School »»»
College in High School »»»
Tips from Tutors on How to Ace the SAT and ACT »»»
OUT OF THE BOX IDEAS
Sometimes paying for college requires that you think outside the box. For example, you might consider moving to a city like Kalamazoo, Michigan, where they will pay for your education. You might also choose a college that offers free tuition, or consider trying to get into a more prestigious college, as these schools often have a lot more aid to offer the students they accept. Finally, if you can, you should check out honors programs, because they will often help fund your education.
The New York Times
Why These Kids Get a Free Ride to College »»»
20 of the Best Colleges Providing Free Tuition »»»
5 Colleges You Can Go to for Free »»»
Pssst! Wanna Go to College for Free? »»»
The Denver Post
Curbing the Cost of College »»»
WORK SMARTER AND HARDER
When you’re paying for tuition, room and board, books, and extracurricular activities, your time in college is your money. Yet, there are ways to cut corners that will help you make the most of your time while getting an education. One way you can save money is by making sure you are building toward a specific career. Furthermore, you can take extra courses each term, take courses during the summer, and mix online classes and traditional courses. All of these options will decrease the amount of time you spend in college. The sources below will touch upon these points and offer tips to help you make the most of your time as you earn a degree.
Serenity Financial Consulting
5 Ways to Make Sure College Is worth the Cost »»»
College Prep Genius
To CLEP or Not to CLEP »»»
Online Courses Cut Costs, Expand Options »»»
4 Reasons to Take Summer Classes »»»
U.S. News & World Report
New Three-Year Degree Programs Trim College Costs »»»
AFTER YOU GRADUATE
You’ve graduated! Now, for those with loans, it’s time to start paying. But what if there are ways to get someone to pay those for you? By either moving to a new city that is offering to pay your loans or by finding ways to get the loans forgiven through a job in social services, there are options to get out from under the heavy burden of student loan debt. And, you can lower your payments by consolidating your loans and applying for an income-based repayment plan.