College fees are, frankly, high. Higher education institutions know that they can increase their prices to whatever level they want. People will always want degrees to give them a leg up in the job market. Going straight from high school into the labor market isn’t always possible.
Going to college, however, comes at a cost – both financial and emotional. Many students endlessly worry about their college debt and think about the fees that they must pay. It’s tough.
What’s more, the amount of money you owe rises with each passing year – as does the pressure to perform. During the first year, debt levels seem manageable, and the workload is low. But as you progress, things get harder, and the amount of money you owe gets higher.
So what can you do to stop worrying about college debt? Is there an easy way out emotionally? Or are you saddled with fretting about cash for the rest of your life?
Use Tools To Massively Reduce The Cost Of Your Education
The first thing to do is to take a practical approach to the issue of college fees. While the upfront costs might seem enormous (and tough to repay), there are all sorts of ways you can get the price down.
The first and most obvious is to choose a public college over a private one. Of course, this is a personal choice, but if costs are a big issue for you, you can often save money by going to an in-state university. Data suggest that the annual fees for one of these are around $7,500 compared to more than $25,000 for a private alternative.
Next, consider whether you might qualify for a scholarship. Colleges will often pay for the brightest students’ education if they believe that you will add positively to the reputation of the college. They’re desperate for highly talented students who display academic, musical, or sporting abilities.
If you know you have a talent, then work on it. Don’t assume that “there’s somebody better out there.” Instead, hone your skills today and do whatever you can to get money off the full price of tuition.
If you’re still stuck, take a look at these ten easy scholarship tips. Getting your application strategy right is just as important as building your skills.
Next on the list is to reduce the cost of going to a community college. For years, people saw these educational institutions as second best. Recent evidence suggests that students who attend them often outperform those who go to regular universities in the job market.
It doesn’t necessarily mean dropping your plans to go on a regular four-year course, but it is interesting. A community college gives you skills that you can deploy in the labor market right away, without having to wait for graduation.
Change Your Mindset
But what if you’re already at college. What can you do to stop worrying about college fees?
Typically, you will need to have a change in mindset. Going to college is expensive, but it usually sets you up for much higher income in the future. People who go to university often make tens of thousands more dollars over the course of their lifetimes – and sometimes significantly more.
Your priority should be to go into a gilded profession – one that uses regulations to ban people who don’t have qualifications from entry. Teaching is, of course, one option. But the best are those that consistently pay higher wages, such as medical professionals and lawyers.
Changing your mindset is vital if you want to feel better about your college education. When you view it as an investment in your future, you immediately feel more positive about all the money leaving your account every month.
But what else can you do to change your mindset to bring college fees down?
If your parents live close to the campus, you don’t have to stay in dorms for the full four years. In fact, you can save a tremendous amount of money by moving off-campus and living at home. Remember, dorm costs are usually just as high as tuition fees, if not more. Getting rid of these (and all the associated costs of living) massively reduces your outgoings.
Avoiding food on campus is also important. College food price fees tend to be higher than in regular, daily life.
Students also cope better with fees and expenses when they embrace the concept of minimalism. This philosophy means stripping your life of all of the superfluous details and just focusing on the things that matter.
Minimalists deliberately think about all the things that add value to their lives and then get rid of the rest.
As a college student, therefore, you might want to consider whether you actually need a car. You might also wonder whether it makes sense to buy pointless clutter for your student dorm or whether you can live without it. If you need clutter, use hand-me-downs. Don’t go out and purchase expensive paintings for your college dorm walls.
Continue Applying For Scholarships Throughout College
Even if you didn’t apply for a scholarship before you arrived at college, that doesn’t mean you’ve missed the boat. Quite the reverse, in fact.
Most colleges allow students to continue to apply for money off their fees or grants throughout their stay. This setup will enable you to continue working on your skills and proving your worth. If you know you’re an excellent musician and enjoy it, keep working hard to improve your skills. Similarly, if you think you have academic talent, spend most evenings plodding away on your work – not partying.
If scholarships are out of the question (or working for them isn’t worth your time), use your time productively in other ways. Start a side hustle in the evenings that can pay your expenses. Don’t just waste time or tell yourself you need to focus on your studies when all that means is flopping in front of the TV every night.
Track Your Expenses
Sometimes you can worry about college fees because you don’t actually know what’s going on in your bank account. Having a good idea of where your money is going, though, is vital for allowing you to stay on top of things. Just knowing that your yearly outgoings are $15,000, but you’re making back $10,000 in part-time work can make an enormous difference in how you feel. All of a sudden, you’re only racking up $5,000 of debt per year, which is perfectly manageable.
The range of money tracking apps is tremendous. They link to your accounts and then tally your financial habits throughout your student life. Eventually, they make you a better planner. And they show you that you’re not losing as much money as you think you are, especially if you find opportunities to generate a side income.
Ask Relatives For Cash
You’ve probably already asked your parents for cash and didn’t get very far. That’s okay – there are still plenty of other relatives out there, and many of them have money burning a hole in their pocket.
Many students don’t ask their grandparents for cash because they worry that it will put them under pressure. The truth is that it will – they know that they should use the money productively. Remember, they’re always free to say “no,” so it is worth a shot. They could provide you with a substantial cash injection when you need it most.
So, are you worrying about college fees? Or do you have your finances under control?