Becoming a student at university is exciting, especially if you’ve just finished high school and are looking forward to living and studying somewhere different and getting to meet lots of new and interesting people. Plus, of course, getting a higher education also has many benefits for you personally and career-wise, as it’s sure to help you land your first full-time job, and then to get promotions and earn more during the course of your career.
However, while investing in your education is a good thing, keep in mind that getting that important piece of paper can also get you something you don’t want – lots of debt. If you don’t want to wind up as a graduate who has so much money owing that it affects which job you can take, or means you’re stressed and having to pay off liabilities for decades, read on for three key ways you can finish your studies more frugally.
Consider Online Study
For starters, a great way to cut costs is to opt for online study, rather than attending classes on campus. You’ll find all sorts of degrees available online these days, with everything from online MBA programs and teaching courses, through to engineering, marketing, computer science and more.
Financially, an online degree is beneficial because it means you can stay living at home while you do your studies, rather than having to pay to live in college accommodation, or a flat, or other housing near to a campus. Plus, on top of saving on accommodation costs, you’ll also be spending less on things such as food, laundry, petrol, utilities and the like.
Even if you’re a mature student who has been living independently for years, online study can be a good option. After all, you won’t have to uproot yourself and your family, if you have one, to move to a new city in order to attend a particular university or course. This means you won’t have hefty relocation costs to pay for as a result.
In addition, since online programs can be studied at any time of the day or night, you can keep on working in your part-time or full-time job, and schedule learning around that. In turn, you’ll save money as you get to keep earning income, even while you’re also getting a degree.
Look for Ways to Finish Your Studies Sooner
Another good way to avoid racking up a whole lot of debt is to find ways to finish your university studies sooner. After all, each month you’re at uni, you’re paying out money for things like classes, books, accommodation, and so on. As well, you may be putting off getting a full-time job because of your studies.
However, if you can wrap up your degree more quickly, you’ll burn through less money. For example, you could choose a combined degree rather than waiting to finish your first course before you move onto the next one. On the other hand, it also pays to select an accelerated university program, where you do more units per semester than normal; or you can gain credit for some prior studies, or be rewarded with extra credit by finishing more classes outside of term hours (e.g. over the summer break).
Choose the Right Course and University the First Time
You should always take your time when it comes to choosing a course and a university for your studies too. While obviously picking the best options count when it comes to learning from the best professors, gaining access to top university facilities, and enjoying excellent social benefits, keep in mind that selecting wisely can also help you to save money.
For example, don’t enroll in a degree simply because other people are telling you it’s the best one. Only you can know what you’re truly passionate about and capable of, so don’t waste time, and in turn resources, on studying a topic for months or even years that you won’t ever end up using (and which you’ll drop in favor of something else anyway).
As well, note that different universities have very different fees structures in place. If you want to cut costs then, look for an educational institution which has more reasonable costs. Although the most well-known campuses can be appealing because of the cache that comes from being a student there, these facilities are also typically much more expensive, and may not be worth, to you, the additional fees. Ensure you compare pricing carefully before you select a university as a result.