Research data from the US Chamber of Commerce indicates that higher education is directly correlated to better pay and benefits in the workforce. It’s not a guarantee, but the trend is that the more education you receive, the more competitive you will be in the job market. That is an attractive position to be in, particularly in today’s difficult economy.
Why then, do more people not go back to school and get an education? It’s EXPENSIVE!!!
Fortunately, there are several options available! The following four tips will help you to do everything you can to avoid paying massive amounts of money for your education.
1. Look for scholarships or grants
Many people make the mistake of assuming that scholarships are only available for the super-intelligent or overly-dedicated. This is no longer the case.
Federal grants are available, which are based partly on your field of intended study, partly on need, and partly on the school to which you are attending. Information about federal grants can be obtained on government websites. Some of these grants are based heavily on the financial situation, such as a Pell Grant, and thus if finances are tight, are worth looking into.
Other grants are based upon programs.
For example, the US Department of Energy for several years offered a Nuclear Engineering and Health Physics Fellowship, which was dedicated to students who wanted to enter graduate studies in that particular area of expertise. The goal was to increase interest in nuclear science and health physics. The results were that several people were able to obtain graduate degrees for free!
Other scholarships and grants ARE based on performance but they might take into consideration job experience. The only thing that limits you in finding high quality educational financial aid opportunities is your not placing enough effort on looking for them. Visit the US government website today and look for grants, fellowships, and scholarships ASAP!
2. Ask Your Employer
Oftentimes, employers understand the value of a good education and are willing to help out with your interest in getting advanced degrees.
Some companies will match your financial contributions, while others will pay a fractional amount of the tuition costs. Some companies are so enthusiastic about education that they will cover the complete cost of tuition, depending on whether or not you complete the degree program with sufficient grades. These opportunities are extremely valuable, and can be the means of obtaining a better position or pay without ever leaving the company that you currently work for.
Ask your boss or HR department if there are any education programs available at your work. The worst that could happen is that they say “no”. On the other hand, you may find yourself on your way to receiving financial aid in obtaining diplomas, college degrees, or graduate level degrees.
3. Seek to minimize education costs
This tip requires a bit of research and effort, but the results of this research are posted in many areas. In addition to the high price of yearly tuition, other costs may be involved that further complicate getting an advanced degree.
For example, if you attend a brick and mortar university, you may need to relocate to a new area. You must pay for commuting costs, be it mass-transportation or personal vehicle fuel and care. You may need to pay additional fees or elevated housing if the college is in an area where the cost of living is higher (as is often the case).
Finally, the opportunity cost of NOT working full time can be massive. It’s hard to give up a paying job in lieu of PAYING money to take classes. Some of these costs can be offset by obtaining an online college degree.
By taking online college degree courses, you bypass the need for relocation and additional housing fees, and increase cost of living expenses. Additionally, by taking online degree college courses, you can even continue to work while you obtain your degree. If this seems like a good option, then use the button at the top of the page to find a good degree program right now.
You will get all the information you need from the school that has the online degree program you are interested in.
If you are not interested in getting an online degree, then things get a bit more difficult, and you’ll have to do some work on your own.
First off, look at the various schools you may be interested in, and find out what tuition costs are. There are many private schools, such as Brigham Young University, in Provo Utah that provide a high quality education at a fraction of the cost for most public schools. Some schools will even provide financial support for joining a particular program by decreasing tuition costs.
By listing out the schools you are interested in attending and then listing the subsequent cost of tuition, living, and supplies, you can get a better idea of which schools are more affordable. Several education sites have helped to compile government data regarding general costs of tuition and living for schools.
4. Look for student loans
This is the last and perhaps most difficult tip for paying for your education. Though student loans are not as nice an option as obtaining “free” financial aid, they are nonetheless potential tools that will allow you to invest in a higher education.
Because it is a loan and not a grant, your credit score and the cost of tuition for your anticipated school of choice will play a part. If this is the option you select, be very careful in your looking for a loan.
Read carefully through terms and conditions to make sure you understand what will be required, when you should pay off the loans, and so forth.
So there you have it. Four tips that will help optimize your chance of not paying for a college degree or graduate program. It can effectively be considered an investment. You pay a large sum of money now in hopes of making more money later. Unfortunately, that is how advanced schooling has been set up for a very long time.
However, just like the market, if you can get a degree by having someone else pay, why not give it a try? After all, if you can get away with it (legally) a free education is almost like money in the bank!