Families that graduated a student in 2016 don’t have to be told about the reality of college expenses. Those who have seniors in high school now are in the throes of the application process. Once that hurdle is behind them, the expense of higher education will begin to loom large on the horizon. Don’t wait for the expense of college to wash over you like a giant tidal wave and devastate your finances. Plan to manage college expenses and the pleasant surprise may be leaving college debt-free.
Common ways to begin to reduce debt while in high school include taking advanced level coursework. The Advanced Placement (AP) and Dual Credit courses don’t only offer extra grade points. Dual Credit courses award college credit and fulfill high school requirements at the same time. Credit can be earned by scoring well on a standardized exam at the end of the year with AP courses.
The difference in the price tag of a university course and that same course at a community college is striking. Taking core curriculum coursework at a local community college can save a great deal of money on tuition.
Programs like Work Study allow the student to gain part time employment on the college campus to help cover expenses. Along those same lines, working summers and holidays back home can also help with some of the cost.
There are many scholarships and grants available that range from $100 to full tuition and fees. A couple places to look for these monies is College For All Texans, http://www.collegeforalltexans.com/apps/financialaid/tofa2.cfm?ID=534 and
http://www.fastweb.com/. What you must understand is that most financial aid will flow through the university itself as a mixture of federal, state and institutional monies. This is why it is important to identify colleges that deliver the education you want and be flexible in deciding where you will attend. Shop early for the best selection. A smaller or less-well-known college may be exactly what you never knew you needed.
Something else to consider is whether you need a four-year degree to pursue your chosen career. If a certification, associate’s degree or a training program will get you started in your career field, check out those options as well. There is really no need to go into debt to get to your career. You may not be able to attend that “Dream School” but your focus should be on the degree and not necessarily the college anyway.