Whether you’re fresh out of high school and looking to pursue higher education, or an adult learner with the desire to finish up a degree, college tuition is an expense that many wish they could avoid.
Saving money by buying cheap textbooks from the used bookstore and sticking to a strict budget are ways many students cut costs, but the fact remains: college tuition is at an all-time high.
Here are few other ways you can get your college degree on the cheap
Walk the Line
One innovative entrepreneur turned his vision into a multi-million-dollar enterprise by formulating a way to let students pay for affordable college credits on an a la carte basis. Burck Smith’s brain child, StraighterLine, offers online courses in subjects like math, business, accounting, and statistics.
This isn’t unusual: hundreds of online institutions of higher learning offer telecommuting opportunities while working toward degrees. StraighterLine took it one step further: their program allows students to take as many courses as they want for a flat rate of $99 a month, plus a $39 per-course registration fee. Aside from simplified fees, completing courses through the StraighterLine gives students a way to transfer the credits for classes they pass to an accredited college.
With a robust menu of participating accredited colleges who accept credit transfers (and hundreds of others who will consider acceptance of the transferred credits) it’s no wonder the StraighterLine was named by Fast Company as one of the “10 Most Innovative Companies in Education” for 2011.
Don’t Break the Bank
Non-traditional and traditional students both have one thing in common: the quest to save money while completing a degree program in order to further their careers. Even though dwindling federal and state aid, drops in fundraising, and an economy-driven raise in tuition rates have forced many colleges and universities to cut back on financial aid programs, scholarship assistance is still available.
Whether you’re a non-traditional student, single mom, or soldier, there’s likely a scholarship available to cover part or all of the cost of college. Web resources are a great way to get started in your search for scholarships. Avoid sites that charge money to search their database: check out college Web sites, or search for scholarship sources on sites such as FastWeb, Wiredscholar.com, CollegeAnswer.com, College Board, and ScholarshipCoach.com.
Team Up for Success
While scholarships can cover tuition or the costs associated with college courses, many students still opt to save money by purchasing cheap text books, carpooling, or taking on a roommate.
Non-traditional students may find themselves being supported by a spouse or significant other while completing a degree – only to switch places and return the favor. Students may find that taking the non-traditional road will allow for an easier transition between campus and career – all the while gaining an academic history that can propel their careers further, faster.
Regardless of the path you take while in pursuit of higher education, opportunities exist for those who are motivated – and dedicated – to finding ways to save money while gaining a college degree.
How have you saved money on higher education? Share your comments below…
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