Getting into college can be your opportunity to really excel in life and start focusing on the path you wish to travel on in your adult life. But for almost everyone that gets in, there’s a specter that looms large over what can be a fantastic and transforming experience. We’re talking about the money that you’re going to have to spend to get that education. Student debt is the biggest it has ever been, so you really want to start making the decisions of how you’re going to handle it as quickly as you can.
Get Side Hustling: Not everyone has the opportunity to get a job to finance their way through college. Or even if you do, you might want to make sure you have a little extra. Nowadays, the market for freelance work is bigger than ever. Particularly online, there are a few technical skills that can make it significantly easier to make a little money on the side. With good writing skills, you could get into creating a monetized blog with marketing partners. There are international businesses of all kinds that can use the translation and localization skills of someone proficient in more than one language. There are opportunities for people who want to get into becoming a virtual assistant, too. Even if you can’t spend a long time away from campus, you can still find ways to make a little extra money.
Take Whatever Advantage You Can Get: One of the biggest ongoing expenses of a college student is the cost of tuition. It can end up costing you as much as $24,000 if you’re out of state. It accounts, on average, for 39% of the in-state student’s budget. Attending a no-tuition college is an option. But there are other opportunities that can help a few specific groups of people. College tuition discounts are available, for instance, to students from low-income families, to students with Native status, or students who have faced hardships like natural disasters. Other schools offer work-subsidized programs if you become an employee of one of the school’s departments.
Get a Head Start on Those Loans: Most of us are going to be coming out of college with some pretty hefty loans. If you’re able to, you want to try and pay them off as soon as possible. Otherwise, they’ll be a constant weight keeping you from financial freedom. Use lump sum payments that you get and create a budget, allocating 15% or more of your income towards paying off the loans. Doubling your monthly payments, meaning you have to really tighten those purse strings after college, could be the difference between paying for ten years and paying for three years. If you want to make sure that you’re not spending beyond your ability to pay the loans, then consider creating an automatic payment to your fund.
Don’t let money worries hang over your college experience. Meet new people, have new experiences and learn to your heart’s content. With a bit of planning, you can start making money a lot more manageable before you even set foot on campus.
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