You’re ambitious. A go-getter. Willing to do whatever it takes to lift yourself up and get an education. Unfortunately, you’re also in the same situation as thousands of other Americans: low on funds, and struggling with the idea of taking out credit and burying yourself in debt. Turn your situation around with a little bit of patience, research, and the guidance we’ll provide you further down in the post.
Wondering just how you can possibly get educated, yet graduate into a position without $100,000 worth of debt? We have good news: you can attend a learning program, graduate, and avoid racking up excessive expenditures in the process. The better news? We’re about to teach you how. Just keep reading!
Here’s the “Secret Sauce” in Graduating Without Debt Load, Ready to Hop Into Your First Position, With Less Stress
Research Grant Options for Free Money
Many people believe there are only two options available when it comes to paying for school: pay out of pocket, or take out expensive loans. Assuming they don’t have any other choice, they go with it and end up paying off lines of credit or loans until they’re almost old enough to be retired.
Don’t torture yourself with high loan payments later; spend some time researching grants instead. Start with your FAFSA application to see if you qualify for Pell Grants; then, look into state or scenario-specific granted programs (like grants for disabled students or students of color). If you aren’t sure where to look, try here.
Stick with One or Two-Year Programs
When your goal is to get educated and into the workforce quickly, choosing 4-plus year programs isn’t always the best choice. Instead, you should focus on one or two-year programs; these are often more affordable and get you directly into the workforce at a much faster rate. As a bonus, this also makes it easier to get a grant that will effectively cover the entire cost of your tuition. Study.com has an excellent list of two-year options at this link if you want to explore your possibilities.
Seek Out Scholarships
Huffington Post writer Amanda Reaume graduated from school not only debt-free, but also with $40,000 in the bank. She achieved this mighty and incredible goal in a variety of ways, but one of her biggest strategies was to apply for many different scholarships. Her dedication to hard work and diversification netted her a grand total of nearly $60,000 for school – a number that just might replace the need for student loans altogether.
You can capitalize on Reaume’s strategy by spending some time seeking out whichever scholarships are relevant to your desired program. Apply for anything you match well with; then, go back over your list and apply for the scholarships for which you’re just one or two qualifiers short. This will give you the best chance of getting a good amount of money before you start.
Work from Home or Freelance
Another strategy Reaume used to save money was to use the talents and skills she was learning while in school to freelance and handle odd jobs for people. This can turn into a significant source of income, even without needing to put in a significant amount of hours, in just a short period of time.
So, here’s how to make this work. If you’re learning web development, offer to create people websites for a small fee. If you’re taking English, offer help with tutoring or start and monetize your own blog. Taking early childhood education? Plenty of parents with special needs children would love assistance with babysitting, especially if they know you’re already focused on learning how to best serve their little ones.
By the way, freelancing during school years isn’t just good for your wallet; it could increase how likely you are to get a great job, too. Most sources reflect that around 40 percent or more of the US workforce will be freelancing or working contracts by 2020. That’s only a short time away!