How to Save Money on Higher Education. Higher education and student debts are so closely linked that it is difficult to think about the former, without being reminded about the latter. It’s true that the right kind of college education can help you mature, earn more and grow as a professional, but it will, in most cases, also land you in significant debt. This makes money management tactics as essential as the education itself, at least for the time being. In order to have a prosperous tomorrow, you first need to ensure that they can get through today first.
To help students and professionals alike, we have prepared a bunch of helpful tips from those who have been in these shoes before, and these tips should prove to be helpful for you as well. Read on as we discuss not just the financial obstacles, but also possible solutions to help you plan a strategy to minimize your college education expenses.
Never Buy Textbooks Firsthand
Make it a rule to never buy textbooks firsthand because you can practically end up saving a small fortune by following that rule. Whether you are in medical school or studying law, plenty of people before you have gone through many of the same textbooks, which means that you will likely be able to find them at half price, or at least at a discount from secondhand bookstores. If you are lucky, you might even be able to get a few of them for free from a senior or a professor.
The only exceptions to this rule would be when a brand-new edition or print has been added to the syllabus that was not published before. Such instances are going to be few and far between though, and you will be able to find most textbooks at a fraction of their original marked price if you buy secondhand.
Digital Textbooks Cost Less
Electronic books or eBooks cost less than their physical counterparts, so try to buy eBooks whenever you cannot find a good secondhand copy, or when a new book has been added to the syllabus. Of course, you cannot always find digital versions of textbooks, but the collection is becoming broader with every passing day. In addition to being cheaper, they also have the unique advantage of portability. You can start a small studying session at any time and in any place, just as long as you have a few of them loaded onto your smartphone. There are also subscription-based services that allow students to access tons of relevant or related textbooks for a small monthly or yearly fee.
Choose Your Course Carefully
You should always have proper answers to the following questions before choosing any avenue of higher education:
- What is the employment rate for the profession or specialization that I am about to enroll in?
- What is the average pay scale for the kind of roles that I will be eligible to assume, after getting the degree?
- Do my future earning potentials justify the course fee?
- Will I be making enough to pay off the student loan soon after completing the course and getting an adequate job?
- Is the program and the university properly accredited by authentic accreditation authorities?
Unless the answers are in the program’s favor, it might be a good idea to reconsider and go through your other options. Students will often find that there are better and more affordable options available today than they might be led to think by others. Research is crucial, and your decision should not be based only on which one is the cheapest program available, but more on which program seems to have the most promise for helping you build a better career. Don’t just think about immediate savings, but also future earning potentials. In the long run, a cheap program without accreditation or repute will only be a complete waste of time and money, while a comparatively more expensive, but accredited and reputed program would turn out to be an investment into your future.
Study Online If You Have the Opportunity to Do So
In the post-covid education scene, online programs have become extremely commonplace. If you manage to choose a promising track or specialization and pursue the program in an online university with all the right credentials, it can be extremely cost-effective. However, such courses are particularly useful for professionals who already have work experience, education and training. For example, online education is perfect for working, registered nurses (RN) because they can keep their present job, earn, gain experience and study for a BSN, MSN or DNP alongside. In fact, if we check the 2021 nursing trends, we can clearly see that the growing popularity of online nursing programs is only going to grow bigger this year. Similarly, online MBA degrees are for experienced business executives who have reached a point in their career where they must assume a leadership position to move forward.
Not every profession is suited for the online format though, but just in case it is, try to find a good program with the necessary accreditations. You will be saving money by cutting out:
- The cost of commuting, provided that the college is close enough for you to travel to and from
- Extra course fees, which become an inevitable part of offline programs, due to the obvious aspects of holding classes in a facility (electricity, water supply, janitorial services, etc.).
- Living and accommodation costs in case the college is not nearby
- The need to take leave from your current job or shift to a part-time schedule
- The added financial pressure of handling living costs/commuting costs and course fees, while not having the support of a fulltime job.
On top of saving money, online education helps students save two other resources which are perhaps even more important than money. These are be time and energy, which can be reinvested into adding more work hours, or simply doubling up on the study hours to finish a course faster.
Everybody knows that if you are on a crunch, then you will need to have a frugal lifestyle, or the fact that using public transportation is almost always going to be cheaper than driving your own car. So, we left those out, as you will easily find a ton of those tips on the internet, and most of it is just common sense anyway. The few we have shared here today, though, could have a much greater impact on your present and future life, depending on how well you choose.