The cost of higher education continues to outpace inflation, and is perhaps the biggest expense that some people will ever incur outside of buying a home. Tuition for public colleges averages $9,000 a year, but add in living expenses, books and other fees, and you’ll see a tab that’s closer to $20,000 for an undergraduate degree. If you choose a private school, those numbers just get higher and higher. Here are 5 tips that may be helpful when trying to navigate the expenses of higher education.
1. Choose Your School Carefully
Entering the workforce with student loan debt has proven to be a barrier to buying a home or saving for retirement. And while having a higher education level has been the standard for increasing personal income, your choice of school can change that trajectory quickly. In some cases, the most economical way of earning that degree or certification is via a community college.
2. Save Early
The best plan for financing higher education is saving and pre-planning. The earlier you get a head start on saving, the better. Educational Saving Accounts, or ESAs, such as a Coverdell Education Savings account can earn interest and are tax free. For more information about starting a Coverdell Education Savings account, visit our website uhcu.org/.
Grants and scholarships are some of the best ways to pay for higher education. In the past, it was assumed that only students with high academic achievements or athletes were the main recipients of scholarships, but there are plenty of opportunities for students who have other talents or are interested in specific types of employment. Some communities even offer scholarships based on volunteer work. The United Heritage Charity Foundation awards a $5,000 scholarship annually to high school seniors, for more information visit uhcf.org/scholarship.
4. Student Loans
Student loans have traditionally been the go-to solution for financing higher education. There are two types of student loans, Federal and private, each with varying qualification requirements and loan terms. UHCU offers in school, private loans that help undergraduates and graduates pay the full cost of attendance. For more information go to uhcu.org/studentloans or call 800.645.8070.
5. Work Study/Outside Employment
Most Texas public colleges offer state and federal work study programs. These programs are usually based on financial need and offer students a chance to earn money to pay for school with flexible schedules that still allow time for studying.
Paying for higher education does not have to be a burden for your future. Careful planning and saving can go a long way in helping to prepare for the costs of education even if it’s years away.