Attending College Without Breaking the Bank

Attending college is a dream for many students, though reaching this goal can be a challenge. There are so many factors that come into play outside of just having good grades and test scores. Affordability is often an issue. According to Forbes, total student loan debt in the United States is around $1.56 trillion with 44.7 million U.S. borrowers owing money. Average debt for borrowers graduating in 2017 was $28,650, but that is just the average; individual amounts could reach much higher.

Even with a solid academic degree in hand, it can take borrowers decades to pay off student loans, and the growing debt can take a toll not only on their lives, but on the economy as a whole. The thought of this burden can deter some students from furthering their education. But it doesn’t have to. There are ways that students can be proactive about planning for college to keep the financial impact more manageable.

Do your research. Before applying to a college or university, consider the costs. Look at more than just tuition; room and board, meal plans, books, service fees, and living expenses can all add up. Find a school with a strong program in the field you want to study but that is also within a reasonable cost that you feel you could manage. If you’re not sure that college is the right choice for you, start by taking a few classes at a local community college first to get a feel for things.

Apply for scholarships. One of the best things you can do to offset the cost of college and keep student loan debt to a minimum (or non-existent!) is to apply for scholarships. There are thousands of scholarships available that you may be eligible for, and this is free money that you do not have to pay back. While some are academics-based, there are plenty that are not. You could get a scholarship for your photography skills or for being the first person in your family to attend college. And unless a scholarship states that you cannot hold other scholarships, you can receive and apply multiple scholarships to your education.

Take AP classes. While in high school, consider taking advanced placement classes. They not only count toward high school graduation, but they can also translate to transferable college credits. This can eliminate the need to take certain courses in college, thus generating significant cost savings. It can pay off to work a little harder and get ahead.

Take advantage of tutoring. Signing up for tutoring can work to your benefit as well. It can help you to not only master tough content and improve your grades, but you’ll develop more effective study, organization, and test prep skills as well. A tutor can work with you to prepare for the SATs, ACTs, or AP exams so that you can focus on doing your best. In addition, you can build your writing skills to craft more compelling and effective essays when you apply for various scholarships.

Applying for student loans should be a last resort once you have exhausted other opportunities. You want to minimize the amount of money that you owe and plan ahead regarding ways to manage costs. You’re planning for your future, so start off as strongly as possible and let Crafting Scholars provide you with the academic support you need to get ahead. Contact us today to learn more about the services we provide and how you can benefit!