There's no question that college has become a major investment for students looking to earn a degree. Student loan debt currently averages tens of thousands of dollars with no signs of slowing down.
Earning a degree is still one of the best investments a student can make when thinking about their future earnings. However, continuing your education doesn't have to mean taking on loads of debt. Here are a few ways you can save on college.
1. Start at a public, two-year school
Public, two-year institutions are a great way for students to save on their college education. Community, tech and other two-year colleges often offer the same curriculum as larger schools at a better price. If you're looking to save on college, starting at a two-year school is the way to go.
2. Go to a local campus
College tuition is no small investment, so piling on thousands of dollars more for room and board can hurt. If you have the chance, consider attending a campus close to home. Live with family and commute to your campus to save thousands every year. UW Colleges campuses can be found across Wisconsin in many communities and offer an affordable, local education.
3. Apply for scholarships and grants
Wherever you decide to go to college, chances are there are a number of scholarships or grants available. Check out which awards might apply to you, and set aside time to complete them to the best of your ability. The more money you can earn from scholarships and grants, the less you'll have to take out in loans.
4. Take more credits than the minimum
Full-time students generally need to take 12 credit hours per semester. However, graduating with an associate degree requires 60 total credits, and bachelor's degrees generally take around 120 credits. In order to graduate on time, students should aim for at least 15 credits hours per semester. This will keep you from paying for extra semesters you could've avoided by taking more credits.
5. Try online learning
Sometimes going to college in a traditional sense just isn't realistic. If you have to work during the day, or can only take a few classes per semester, look into local online learning options. For example, students at UW Colleges Onlinepay the lowest tuition in the UW System while working toward their degree on their own time.
College is a big investment, but that doesn't mean it has to be out of reach. Follow these smart tips and you'll be on your way to your dream career without the burden of student loan debt.