Growing up, we've been taught the importance of a college degree for a successful financial future. Jobs in many industries prioritize degree-holding applications over those with a high school diploma. However, with tuition prices soaring across the country, the path of financial security can feel like a Catch 22. Your Credit Union is here to start you off on the right foot with some tips to help you make it through college without falling into a financial hole.
1. Earn a Two Year Degree FirstIf you're starting off as a freshman at a four year university, there are a number of unexpected fees that can stack up on top of your tuition. At many universities, first year students are required to live in dormitories and purchase dining plans that may be more expensive than rent. Negate these costs by seeking a two year degree at a local community college. Not only is tuition lower than these institutions, when you transfer to a university you won't be forced into on-campus living with other unnecessary expenses. In addition, for many community college students in Maryland, tuition is now free.
2. Apply for Scholarships and GrantsDon't assume you're not scholarship worthy just because you weren't your school's valedictorian. Throughout the US, non-profits, federal, state, and local governments, and a great number of other organizations offer millions of scholarships every single year. The key here is to apply to as many as possible. Even those that only award a few hundred dollars can add up over time. For instance, this year You Credit Union is awarding students $8,000 dollars in college scholarships!
3. Summer EnrollmentSome college students change majors, can't get into classes they need, or hit other pitfalls. Taking summer classes is a good way to make sure you stay on track to graduation, cutting down on the chances you'll stay longer than four years at your university. This can end up saving you tuition expenses. At some institutions, summer courses are cheaper than those during the regular sessions.
4. Taking More Credits Per SemesterObviously, balance is important to ensure success at the collegiate level. But if you can handle the workload, taking more credits per semester will help make sure you don't run over your four-year timeline. Again, balance and management are key factors, but no one wants to be forces into an extra year at school when they could've finished on schedule.
5. Work-Study ProgramsMany universities offer work study programs that allow you to work in different areas around the school to earn money towards your tuition. Work study programs are both a good way to ensure the money you make is going towards your tuition bill while gaining work experience. This helps alleviate wasteful spending that might come with a regular part time job. Work study programs are often of great variety, from tutoring students to working at the library or student union help desk.
College tuition is a large investment no matter how you look at it. But being mindful about your options can help alleviate unnecessary and costly expenses along the path to your desired degree.
If you have any questions about banking smart while in college, stop by one of our three branches or visit our website to learn more about the Credit Union difference!