Every year the cost of a college education increases, but that does not diminish its importance. Due to the rising costs, more and more students are forced to take out student loans which leave them in debt for many years after they graduate. If this is not how you want to start your life off, here are some tips to help you get that college education without student loans.
Start with a Community College
If you want to save money during the first two years of your college education, consider a community college first. During this time, you could get your general required classes out of the way without paying the excessive 4-year college rates. Although you do not get the same campus-type feeling as you would by going away, you save thousands of dollars during the first two years. Going this route might also help you be able to pay for a slightly more expensive college since you will only have to pay for 2 years.
Tuition Reimbursement from Employers
Today more and more employers offer tuition reimbursement in varying lengths. For example, Starbucks offers a tuition reimbursement plan for employees that apply to Arizona State University. Employees that work an average of 20-hours per week and get accepted into ASU are eligible. Upon beginning their college career, Starbucks employees will receive an upfront scholarship worth 42% of the tuition as well as certain grants. Any tuition remaining will be reimbursed by Starbucks at the completion of a semester. Starbucks is just one example of a company offering tuition reimbursement, there are thousands more out there as well, many of which do not advertise as Starbucks does, so it does not hurt to ask.
Look for Grants
Grants are everywhere and like employer tuition reimbursement, you will not know unless you ask about them. There are grants for a variety of different reasons; they are not based on financial need alone. Some grants are offered to people of a certain nationality or students with a particular major, for example. Some communities even have grants for students within the community to help make the community a better place. The best thing to do is research available grants in your area; for your major; for your nationality; and even for your employer just to see what is available out there. The more you apply for, the more likely it is that you will receive grant money.
Take College Courses Early
Many students are eligible to take college courses while they are still in high school, enabling them to gain college credits before they even start college. This can be done either by taking college courses consecutively with high school classes or by taking AP (honors) classes at your high school where the classes count as college credits. Talking to your school counselor can help you determine if this is an option for you. By getting the college courses out of the way, you decrease the amount of time you have to spend at college, therefore saving you money in the long run.
Saving money on college tuition can be done; you just have to be a little creative. Rather than jumping headfirst into student loans that will plague you for the next 10 to 20 years, do your research to see what is available to you. Most of the options will not be readily known; it will take time for you to research and apply for the money, but if it saves you thousands of dollars in the end, it is well worth the effort.