For American students, and the U.S. as a country, student loan debt is a serious issue. The average American student has over $37,000 of student loan debt. The total debt is $1.3 trillion. The average monthly loan payment is increasing, and things are not looking that well for students in the U.S.
But you still have to go to a college if you want a good job. On average, a college graduate will earn $1 million more than a high school graduate over their lifetime. But even if the math makes sense, having to pay off student loans is still a large burden, and it will affect your post-graduate employment choices. If you don’t want that to happen to you, you should pick a college that doesn’t break the bank.
Figure Out What You Want to Study
You can’t pick a college if you don’t know what is it that you want to study. Your journey towards finding an affordable college starts with deciding on what kind of study program you would want to attend.
There are several ways you can approach this. You can enroll in a program that’s really interesting to you and hope that everything turns out alright once you finish college. It will make your college years easier, but it will not guarantee good employment.
You can also envision your ideal career, and then find out what are the study programs that will help you get there. This might make college a tough experience, but it will get you closer to your goals. Either way, you have to know what you want to study.
Assess Your Financial Situation
“Breaking the bank” is a term that’s different for every person. Some people have trust funds, so even though their banks can be broken, it will take something much more expensive than college tuition to do it. Other people have few to no sources of financing, and they have to turn to loans and the money they make while in college to finance their education.
You can fall anywhere in between these two categories, but it’s very important that you know where you are and how much you can afford to pay for college. Assess every possible source of financing. Study loans, check whether your parents’ workplace offers tuition assistance, check for jobs you can hold successfully while at college. Get as clear of a picture as possible.
Examine the Range of Tuition Fees
Tuition fees vary widely from one school to another. In Ivy League schools, you can expect to pay more than $50,000 per year. The cheapest and most affordable online colleges will set you back less than $10,000 per year. That’s a huge difference, and you also have everything in between to choose from.
You should pick a college you can realistically afford. But keep in mind that the tuition fees only make a portion of the expenses you will have during college. You’ll also have to eat, commute, buy books and studying materials, and live at least a decent life. Factor in all these expenses and determine what type of college experience you can afford.
If you’re looking at ways to find a college that won’t break the bank, you probably don’t have access to the top schools that offer the best education. But that doesn’t mean that the education you can get at other, less expensive schools, is worthless. Even if you’re leaning towards the most affordable options on the market, you should always make sure that you get the most bang for your buck. Finding former students and asking about their experiences will be immensely helpful. The most expensive education you can get is the education where you pay any amount of money and you don’t get anything in return. So choose wisely.