Paying for college could potentially not only put your parents in debt but also yourself if you’re the one bearing the loans. The first thing you need to do is to start planning early! Begin organizing and planning college visits either before or by your junior year of high school, you should have a general idea of the schools you will be applying to. After narrowing down your choices you need to figure out how much it will cost you. Use the calculator from Sallie Mae to estimate your cost. Start saving small amounts over a long period of time early on.
There are also other options to think about when paying for college. The first being: accelerate your degree. Accelerated classes can cram a semesters worth of classes into a six to eight week class, which can help you to move up your graduation date. Second, be a transfer student. In many cases the credits taken at a less expensive school can be transferred and applied to a more elite and expensive school. Third, go where you’re wanted. There’s always a school out there that is dying to have you as a student. Fourth, choose a tuition free school. Tuition free schools only require that you work 10 – 15 hours a week on campus and in jobs related to their majors. Fifth, get a sponsor. Federal loans are the best way to borrow money for school. Sixth, lock in tuition. Some colleges offer a locked in tuition, so that you will pay the same rate for all four years. Seventh, work off debt with community service. According to Bankrate, “Recent college grads can cancel part or all of their federal-education debt by working in public-service jobs -- lower-paying professional jobs that serve low-income communities -- or by volunteering (2009).”
There are also four rules of paying for college in a recession which include:
- Grades matter more than ever- According to US News, “The better the student, the more college options the student will have and the more likely it is the student will receive scholarships or win admission to a low-cost school (2009).”
- Early birds will get more scholarship worms
- Students should apply to at least a couple affordable schools
- Students should apply to at least a couple generous schools- Some of the most expensive schools by sticker price also give out huge scholarships and can actually be cheaper, in the long run, than public schools for many students.