Financing Your College Education

Many high school students are having to make some tough decisions these days. Many wonder if the excessive cost of a higher education is worth it, or if they should simply enter the workforce and begin to earn a living. According to a 2011 study from the Institute of Education Sciences, the median earnings for those with a bachelors degree is $45,000 a year, $37,000 for those with an associates degree, high school graduates is $30,000 per year, and $22,900 for those who did not finish high school.
The numbers speak for themselves; the higher the education level, the better chance you have at earning a better living in the future. While higher education can be an expensive proposition, there are many avenues young adults can take to help fund their schooling and develop the skills they need to earn the best living possible.

Start Out Small
Try going to a 2-year community college and getting an associates degree without the sticker shock of a 4-year university. Often, people who receive their 2 year degree in a highly-demanded field, such as Licensed Vocational Nursing or other medical fields, can immediately enter the workforce and make a good living. However, those who wish to pursue another two years to receive their bachelors can transfer to a 4 year school while only having to attend 2 years, saving lots of money in the process.

Research Grants and Scholarships
Many schools and private organizations offer grants and scholarships to worthy individuals every year. The great thing about these is that they don’t have to be paid back. Often times, the primary method to receiving scholarships and grants is through academic merit, athletic abilities and financial need. However, there are plenty of smaller, lesser known ways to obtain some free money but you have to do a little leg work. Consult with a financial counselor at the college(s) of your choice to find out about these types of scholarships and grants. You can find a wide array of academic assistance at Scholarships.com.

Loans
While these are not as desirable as grants and scholarships, as these must be paid back after graduation, loans are a great way to fund higher education. Just as above, speak to your school’s financial aid office to find out what is available. If possible try to get government funded loans because these are paid back at a much lower interest rate, than private loans. Finishing your education in debt may not seem like the ideal scenario, but if you plan on entering a lucrative field such as law, medicine, financial brokering, computer science, engineering or a few other in-demand fields, these loans can be paid off relatively quickly.

Online Education
If all else fails and you simply must keep your job, take care of children, etc..there are a host of online school that can work around your daily life. You can keep your day job while pursuing a higher education and most online colleges permit students to continue coursework at their own pace and during the time it fits their schedule. This is a great way for those who are strapped for cash to obtain a higher education, while being able to afford tuition and pay bills at the same time.

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