15 methods to make college more affordable for anyone
College was expensive before COVID-19. Students had to take out massive loans, and then pray a decent-paying job would be waiting for them after graduation. But more often than not, those jobs weren't there, and the debt incurred through education snowballed into a colossal financial problem.
The college cost situation was unsustainable. Then, COVID-19 hit.
Colleges got walloped by closures. The immediate impact translated to college students living at home, taking classes remotely. And you know what? Students realized that could be a lot cheaper.
Enter the post-COVID-19 world of college possibilities!
It's unfortunate that it took a pandemic for Americans to rethink the unsustainability and unfairness that the cost of college education, as we normally take it on, has on generations who can't possibly pay it back in full in a reasonable amount of time.
But there are better--and cheaper--ways. There are methods to make college more affordable for anyone, which it ought to be.
15 methods to make college more affordable for anyone
Live at home. Living at home with family instead of moving to a college campus can save tens of thousands of dollars each semester. This is because you won't have to pay dorm costs or apartment rent. Also, you won't have to pay for furniture, moving costs, and odds and ends that come with living on your own for the first time.
Eat at home. Food at college doesn't actually cost the same as food at home. There are a couple of factors at play here: buying food in bulk (as is the case for many families) is cheaper, and college campuses tend to increase the cost of meal plans to pay overhead on cafeteria costs.
Take community college courses. Community colleges are far less expensive than 4-year colleges. Most core classes, such as English, math, and history, transfer easily between community colleges and 4-year institutions. Take advantage of whatever classes you can take for less money.
Take remote classes. Colleges are now offering discounted tuition for all-remote class options. Therefore, taking remote classes is a cheaper method to getting a degree than attending in person.
Take classes from more than one place. Remote learning makes more possible! Take advantage of this by taking classes at a community college at the same time as you take classes at your regular institution. This might not have been physically possible before because the schools could be located too far apart, but with remote learning you can take classes from more than one school at the same time to save money.
Rent your books instead of buying. If you don't plan to keep your college textbooks anyway, renting is a great option for saving on college costs. Textbooks can cost a few hundred dollars each, and you will only use it for a few months. With renting, you can use the book and send it back. This is also a better option for the environment.
Download your books instead buying paper. Another book option is to download. This might not be available for all textbooks, but for the ones that do have this option, take advantage. This is typically the cheapest option of all when it comes to books.
Learn to cook. Cooking is a life skill, meaning you will need it for life. You have to eat every day, and restaurants are expensive. If you want to save money while you get an education, you should definitely learn to cook. If you are living at home (see method number 1 above), your family can help teach you.
Pay for internet, but no extras. If you are in college, you need good internet. However, you do NOT need cable, Netflix, Hulu, a landline, and all the other millions of subscriptions that will cost you unnecessary money. Besides, aren't you supposed to be studying?
Get a job. No matter what you do to save money on college, there will always be some cost. Having a job can pay for those costs, and it can put experience on your resume. There is no doubt that making money is an important factor in paying for a college education.
Do your own taxes. When you are young and don't have a lot of complications with your income, doing your taxes is pretty simple. This can save you at least a few hundred dollars every year. It's also an eye-opening experience in the way the government works and how you can take advantage of tax breaks.
Apply for scholarships. Unlike a loan, scholarships don't have to be paid back. They are free money toward your college education. Even if you don't have perfect grades, there is likely a scholarship out in the world for you. Do some digging and you could save a lot of money.
Ask for scholarships. Here's the thing: people don't realize they can ask for money. You can. Going to college is a big deal, and many people or companies would be happy to help. Start with a local company in your town and ask if they would be willing to donate money toward your education. This is especially effective in small towns where people know each other well.
Aim for passive income. Colleges have breaks, so you could use that time to set up a passive income stream. This could be anything from buying a vending machine to writing an ebook. The point is to put in a larger chunk of effort up front and receive income slowly over time.
Take summer classes. All colleges offer classes over the summer. If you take advantage of this option, you will earn your degree faster and therefore save money. This isn't the best plan for everyone, especially if you are prone to burnout or need to work over the summer to earn some income, but it is a good option for some. It can help you graduate a semester or a even a year sooner.
Your education is important, and it will dictate how much money you will earn in your life. Everyone deserves a good education. Sometimes you just have to be creative about how to make that happen.