Let’s face it, college can be very pricey, to the point where people sometimes take out home equity loans to afford an education. To overcome the nervousness of going back to school and deal with the financial investment can be a daunting task for the adult learner.
Because college can be an expensive endeavor, and it may cause the adult learners to think twice about enrolling in school. This may be particularly relevant to older learners who may be hesitant to invest a large sum of money in a future that is much shorter than when they were traditional college age.
Here are a few thoughts on coping with the cost of college for adult learners.
1. Don’t be afraid to shop around for other schools
Increasingly, students are shopping around to different institutions in order to compare programs, services, and costs. An adult learner may have an advantage over younger students in that they are used to shopping around and comparing products, having probably done it many times before in their lives. Adult learners should distinguish and identify tuition, fees, and book costs in order to get an accurate financial picture. Again, adult learners many be more experienced in asking questions so that they get all the information that they need.
2. Do your education in pieces and don’t be afraid of breaks
It is becoming increasingly common today for students to go to multiple institutions on the way to a degree. Adult learners may be more used to a mindset of going to one institution rather than piecing together a degree. For example, it can save a student a great deal of tuition money if they take courses at a community college first (much cheaper tuition) and then transfer them to a four-year school. Granted, an adult learner may not have a lot of choices, but they should at least look at the possibility of using multiple schools.
3. Take the time to apply for financial aid
Even though some adult learners may be established with jobs and decent incomes, there is nothing wrong with taking the time to fill out paperwork and apply for financial aid. There are multiple funding sources such as loans, grants, and scholarships that are available for aspiring students.
As with many other things, dealing with the cost of college is about asking questions and having a plan. Many adults have some experience in managing money so they are perhaps more prepared for the cost of college. That said, it is still an adjustment and something that the adult learner should not take lightly.