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Tips to fund your Higher Education

Updated on June 1, 2016

For students, the panic button goes off when they get an admission to the college of their dream. It is a daunting financial challenge to come up with the cash for their college fees.

Once you have calculated the tuition costs and other miscellany, you can start looking for various options to figure out ways to pay for college education.

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Let Savings Be Your First Choice Instead Of Borrowing

While many don’t heed this, the best way to prepare for college education is start saving from the beginning. Since the cost is increasing each year, investing in a savings plans can help you stay ahead of the game.

There are various tax-advantaged vehicles to provide tax benefits for your funds, such as 529 plan (also known as Qualified Tuition Program), where earnings are tax deferred. Such tax benefits are permanent by the Pension Protection Act.

Quick Tip: The more you save, the more choices you have and the less you will need to borrow.

Research Your Loan Options

Saving ahead of time is a better choice than to take on debt, as explained above. However, if you must borrow, borrow smart. The concept of student loan is simple: first you borrow money and later repay. A loan in itself is a big commitment and should be considered wisely. Understand the benefits it would provide you along with your responsibilities.

Students have a lot of future options if they have loan by their name, including student loan forgiveness and other repayment that can lower payments. Government sponsored loans that offer fixed interest rates and repayment options are the best ones to go for.

Quick Tip: Check out the best loan option you get, out of the number of options you have.

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Digital Copies Could Be More Your Style

It’s not just about the rising tuition fees that are turning college education into financial burden. It’s all those student activities, lab fees and books that are turning education into a financial burden.

Lately, digital books are presumed as future of higher education. It can be a long-term strategy for college education to invest in digital copy, where you can rent or buy digital books. The reasons are apparent – they save student’s money and are pretty easy to carry around. They also give you the ability to use search function for particular keywords pertaining to topics of interest.

Quick Tip: Adopting digital copies allow students to get books at low cost and help them save money for their college education.

Find Compatible Scholarships and Grants

Believe it or not, maintaining a good academic record while in college can help you save money. This is the free aid that you don’t need to pay back. However, it doesn’t mean that you have to be an all-star athlete or even an “A” student to get scholarships.

It wouldn’t hurt to check with your department if any scholarships are offered. Apart from this, you can also start your own search for scholarship. But, beware of sites trying to charge you to look for scholarships. Sometimes grants are awarded based on financial need or special interests.

Quick Tip: Grants and Scholarships are the only two types of aid that can cut college cost, which are not to be repaid.

Let your employer cover the cost

An easy way to get degree without going deep in debt – Have your employer pay for it.

While students depend on scholarship and grants for to cover their college fees, working students have an option to have their employer to pay for education. There are number of employers who will pay for your college education and this is not limited to full-time workers, since many employers also provide programs for their part-time employees.

The key to have your employer pay is to convince them of the benefits they would get out of your new skills and learning.

Quick Tip: Check with your employer about the availability of this offer.

Work While in College

Part-time jobs can hugely offset the college education by letting you pay for some of your living expenses including buying textbooks.

Although, in this day and age, even internship and part-time jobs are hard to come by, finding a job that pays worthy enough to invest time, can be a challenge for many. But, once you find one, it can be an efficient way to make some money as well as pay for your college education.

Quick Tip: College should not be about making money, but with the increasing cost of tuition fees, working while in college is a big part of a student’s financial aid plans.

Find yourself a sugar daddy/sugar momma

If nothing else works for you and you can't seem to seem to shake off the stress of that financial burden, you can find yourself a sugar daddy/sugar momma kind of mutually beneficial relationship. There are numerous websites for finding the right patron to fulfil your mutual needs. However, this may or may not work for everyone.

Final Word

With the rising education costs, paying for college education seems like an insurmountable challenge. Many students graduate with debt load – however it doesn’t have to be this way. With the steps mentioned above, it can be easy for students to get control of their financial situation and make it manageable to pay for college.

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    • Glenis Rix profile image

      Glenis Rix 2 years ago from UK

      I am retired and studying in the UK as a very mature student - age 67- with the Open University. About to take final examination for B.A. Hons in Literature. It actually hasn't cost me anything, as I was fortunate to receive a grant. I believe the OU is an ideal option for younger people who simply can't afford the traditional university route - they can study one module at a time for only 15 hours each week, if they choose, which means they can work a full time job as well as studying. OU has a lot of kudos and improves a cv enormously, as it requires a lot of self-motivation. I grant it's not ideal - most kids would prefer the campus experience, but sometimes that is simply not an option.