You can certainly look for student loans to fund your education; however, it can be challenging and take many years after you graduate to pay back the loans.
There are ways to start your professional life free of debt, but you have to plan ahead and take charge of your financial situation now.
Look for available grants.
Unlike student loans, grants do not have to be paid back. These are offered by state governments, colleges, career schools, and even nonprofit organizations to meet the student’s needs, reward merit, or both.
Apply for scholarships.
Most colleges, universities, trade and vocational schools offer scholarships to qualified individuals, such as athletes, community volunteers, or star students.
- Use the Internet to search for available scholarships that you may qualify for. Be creative in your search and look for free websites that ask you to provide information and notify you when scholarships that you may be eligible for become available.
- Contact your school and inquire about possible scholarships available to incoming students.
- Scholarships are also usually available from your community, banks, local churches, employers or parents’ employers.
Use your savings.
In case you have any of your own money saved, you can pay your tuition with everything you have saved up.
Work so you can pay for your own tuition.
While it can be definitely challenging, it is not impossible to go to school and work at the same time. In fact, many students go to school part-time and work full-time jobs to pay for their tuition.
- Contact your school and inquire about available work-study programs.
Determine if your employer offers tuition assistance.
While rare, there are some companies that offer such benefits as paying for their employees’ tuition, especially if the employee works full time.
- It will be worth your time and effort to check with your human resources department if this benefit is available to you.
Keep track of your spending.
While in school, make it a habit to keep a monthly budget and stick to it. Keep your receipts so you can review them at the end of each month so you can monitor where and how you are spending your money.
- Set a limit on your monthly purchases for clothes, books, movie tickets, gas, or transportation costs. Make sure you don’t go above and beyond your limit for these items to save money.
Try not to use your credit cards too much.
If you can pay for your purchases in cash, do so. This will keep you from having to pay for interests and late fees, should you not be able to make credit card payments on time.
Look for student discounts.
Take advantage of student discounts whenever and wherever they are available. It won’t hurt to ask business establishments if they offer discounts to students before making a purchase or availing of services.
Save, save, save.
It is never too early or too late to start saving money. Start a savings fund as soon as you can. You can begin by putting in at least $10 per day or $25 per month, depending on your budget.