One of the best ways to get ahead during your career, whether you want to receive regular promotions or create your own successful business, is to complete a university degree. Having that essential piece of paper can teach you valuable skills and knowledge; help you get your foot in the door at companies or with investors and lenders; give you more job security; and help you learn essential personal skills like time-management, organization, networking, and communication.
However, while investing in yourself in this way is usually a good way to spend money, it’s easy for university costs to rack up quickly and lead to a lot of debt if you’re not careful. To help you and/or your family members avoid this scenario, read on for some ways you can save money on an education.
Choose an Online Course
These days, with so many great online courses available, it pays to choose a program you can study from home rather than one that’s only done on campus. You’ll find most types of degrees available online, including AACSB accredited online MBA programs, engineering degrees, courses in marketing, arts, education, and more.
When you choose to study online, this means you don’t have to move away from home to complete a degree if you’ve only just left school. Instead, you can stay living at home and save money on not just accommodation, but also things like food, utilities, laundry, and so on. Alternatively, if you are established in a city but it doesn’t have a university, or one that offers the kind of course you want to do, you don’t have to uproot yourself (and potentially a family) and then pay the relocation costs that come with a move.
Online programs also help you save money because they’re flexible and you can study at any time of the day or night, you can continue working in a part-time or full-time job while you complete your course. This means you have the ability to keep earning income as you go.
Finish Your Studies More Quickly
The longer you spend at university, the more debt you will typically rack up – each month you often have to pay for classes, accommodation, books, and travel costs, after all. You can reduce your expenses though if you finish your studies as quickly as possible.
To do this, you might like to choose a combined degree, where you can study two degrees at once rather than waiting to finish one before you start the next. Alternatively, select an accelerated program; apply for credit for prior studies; or obtain extra credit by taking additional classes during out-of-term hours (such as over the summer break).
Pick a More Affordable University
Another good way to save money on an education is to think carefully about which university you choose to attend. As you’ll see when you research, different institutions have very different levels of fees, even though often their courses are very similar and accredited in the same ways. As such, to help cut costs, pick a more affordable university.
While some colleges certainly have a well-known name and good reputation, keep in mind that this typically comes with much higher costs, too. Take time to consider whether this cache will be worth the additional spend or not.
Select the Right Course the First Time Around
Next, it’s wise not to rush into choosing a degree option. Many people enroll in a specific program because they’re pressured to do so by their family or because they think a course is a “safe” bet. However, often these same students end up dropping out of the course because they can’t handle or don’t like the work, or they complete a degree and then realize that career type isn’t for them, and have to study all over again in a new area. Ending up in this situation not only wastes time, but a whole heap of money. Try to be as sure as possible about your choice before you enroll.
Utilize Financial Assistance
Lastly, keep in mind that there are actually numerous types of financial aid packages you can apply for to help you spend less money on a university degree. For example, many local, state, and national government departments offer grants, scholarships, and other funding for citizens; while lots of colleges and private organizations also have financial assistance available. Happily, most of these types of programs either don’t need to be repaid at any stage or can be done with little or zero interest. Thus, receiving this type of support can potentially save you thousands of dollars.