Going to college, and subsequently earning a degree, could be one of the biggest highlights in your entire life. Feeling proud and accomplished not only boosts your self esteem, it also compels you to strive to achieve even higher goals. While this is true for almost all college graduates, the fact of the matter is that higher education costs. Few people get a full ride to college, thus leaving them to deal with thousands of dollars in student loans and tuition costs. There is a way to earn an advanced degree and work towards your investment and financial dreams without being saddled with tens of thousands of dollars of debt. This strategy requires long-term planning, the ability to be flexible, and most of all, the desire to think outside of the box.
Looking at the Financial Benefits of Attending College
According to statistics, people who attend college end up making substantially more money over their lifetimes when compared to those who only graduate high school. With a college degree in hand, there are various career paths in a number of industries that are more than welcoming. College graduates, particularly those who have earned an MBA, PhD, master’s degree, or even a bachelor’s are more commonly able to bypass entry-level positions, and go straight for jobs in higher level positions. Likewise, the salaries of said higher level positions are usually higher, come with better benefits, and are usually more secure. By attending college, you can almost be totally certain of the fact that your finances will benefit in the long run.
Calculating Total Higher Education Costs Referendum
When calculating how much earning an advanced degree is going to cost you, look at tuition rates along with all other extraneous costs. For instance, books, lab fees, transportation, room and board, food, and even materials such as notebooks, pens, and computer and internet costs are going to add up as you attend school. This is where a spreadsheet, a solid budget, and a plan for paying down as much debt as possible before graduation comes in handy. Realize that what you calculate your total college costs to be could be significantly different from what they actually end up being. If anything, try to overestimate what your higher education costs will be prior to enrolling, then use your first year of attendance to see what the final cost is.
Determining What You Expect to Get Out of Attending College Financially
Do you have realistic expectations of what life after college will be like? Are you looking at which types of companies you want to work for or what type of company you want to start-up? While no one can predict the future, there is no reason for you not to start mapping out your own. Consider where you are going to live after going to college, as well as how much money you expect to earn right out of school. Also take into consideration the fact that your life might not immediately go as planned. This is where having a savings account and actively investing while in school can be extremely helpful. You might choose to live as frugally as possible while in college in preparation for graduation, so that you can go out into the world and hit the ground running.
Ways to Reduce Higher Education Expenses
College probably seems costly, at least at first glance. Now, some costs can be reduced or totally cut out by going to school locally as opposed to attending a college that is far away, or even by enrolling in an online college. If you already have a bachelor’s or associate degree, then you might have to deal with existing college debt. At the same time, earning a master’s degree shouldn’t be avoided just because you have concerns about the financial aspect. All accredited colleges and universities make it easy for applicants to estimate the cost of earning a degree. In addition, federal financial aid offers grants to those who are low income or otherwise in financial need. You can also apply for various scholarships and merits-based need programs in order to help offset college expenses. In other words, if you look for a solution instead of being dissuaded by the fact that college can be costly, it is possible to find a workable solution. Click here to find out more about finding the best program for you.
Taking on College Debt
In the end, it is normal and natural to graduate from college with a least a small amount of student loan debt. In the majority of circumstances, student loan debt first becomes payable approximately six months after graduation. This is because student loan companies assume that most graduates will be gainfully employed and financially stable enough to begin making payments at that point. However, if you are truly concerned about student loan debt and payments, know that there are income driven repayment, deferral, and forbearance programs that can provide a lot of relief. There are even student loan debt forgiveness options that you may be eligible for, particularly if you will be working in the public sector.
Consider Paying Off College Tuition as You Go
If you have the ability to pay any portion of your college tuition or student loan debt while still in school, you should consider how doing so will help your financial future. Even though your education is an investment, it is one that can end up accruing interest as the years go on. Prior to buying additional stocks, bonds, or even cryptocurrency, look at how you will fair if you eliminate the majority of your debt. Just like credit cards, student loan and tuition balances can grow if they are not addressed promptly. Also realize that paying down student loan debt doesn’t mean that you have to eliminate it fully while in college. Even making small monthly payments can be helpful in the end.
Dealing with College and Financial Related Setbacks
There may be a time when you are looking at your financial future or investment plans and it seems like nothing is going as expected. Another bill could suddenly crop up, your hours at work might get cut, or other money-saving measures could potentially not be as beneficial as expected. The first thing you should do is refrain from panicking. Meet with your academic advisor, financial planner, mentor, or trusted family friend to see how you can get things to go in your favor. As long as you keep striving for greatness and don’t give up on your goals, these setbacks will only be temporary.
The Key to Maintaining a Balance Between College and Finances
Higher education is going to cost you money, but you should also be aware of the fact thatattending college is an investment in yourself. Whether you go to a community college and take the occasional class over time or head off to university full-time, the end result should be you earning a college degree. This is especially true if you are headed into a field that requires certain skillsets or minimum education requirements. At the same time, enrolling in an institution of higher learning without being concerned about how much debt you will amass will almost certainly be disastrous to your immediate financial goals upon graduation. So, look at the tuition rate each school charges, plan how you will pay the total cost, and maintain a balance when considering the importance of your finances against the importance of becoming degreed.
Knowing You Have Made the Right Decision for Your Financial Future
There might be times when you sit down and wonder what you are doing or if you are making the right decisions, both financially and educationally. Remember that these moments will not linger long, as approaching higher education from the standpoint that it will help to elevate you financially over time is a very smart and business savvy one. While it is possible to rise to the very top of your career path or even run a successful company without an advanced degree, it is usually a lot harder to do so. Moreover, attending college is a very good use of your spare time. It matters not whether you are going to college, full time, straight out of high school, or signing up for online college many years after high school graduation. The simple fact that you realize how important it is for your future shows that you are making the right decision.
You won’t be in college forever, but making the crucial decision to become degreed will benefit you for a lifetime. In addition to acquiring more practical knowledge that you can use in your career; college attendees also make important bonds and build valuable relationships with the professors and fellow students they meet and interact with. You might meet some other people who are also at the starting point of their careers. In time, these same people could be those you go to when you need a character reference or want to know which companies are hiring. Some of your fellow alumni could also become your business partners in the future. The reality is, with higher education, anything is possible in your career and financial futures.