Whether heading to university straight out of school or returning to studies later in life, many of us will at some point require higher education to facilitate our chosen career path. The main stumbling block for most however will be the daunting cost that studying entails, resulting in several people falling into unmanageable debt before they even secure a full-time job.
Most of us know to try and get second-hand books, buy food in bulk whenever possible and make the most of discounts with our student cards, but with governments said to be underestimating just how expensive the road to a degree is, prospective students are rightfully looking for bigger ways to avoid the traps and save themselves the burden of crippling loan repayments.
- Save now
It’s easy to try and bury your head in the sand and adopt a ‘cross that bridge when we come to it’ mentality, but the best thing you can do is get organised as soon as possible. It’s never too early to begin saving towards a student fund; so be it tucking away pocket money, taking up a part-time job or staying up-to-date on all the latest finance advice, the sooner you get into the mind-set of a frugal life and getting by on a strict budget, the better.
- Do your research
When considering a degree, the first thing you should always ask yourself is, ‘do I need it?’ It may sound obvious, but you’d be amazed how many people apply to college or university without first checking what other routes may be available. In the current climate, many employers value experience as much as (and in some cases more than) formal qualifications. Internships, in-house training and apprenticeships make excellent alternatives that allow you to form business connections and in some cases earn money whilst working your way up the ranks.
- Get flexible
Luckily, there are more study options available now than ever before. If you can’t justify committing all your time and money to your coursework, why not see if there are distance learning, part-time courses or evening classes on offer instead, allowing you to fund much of your own studies by working in your free time.
- Stay local
The lure of student life often tempts us to spread our wings and seek a sense of freedom away from our family but in worrying about tuition fees, it is common to overlook the significant cost of accommodation and travel. By choosing a university close to loved ones, you can put a roof over your head for much less.
- Study Abroad
In contrast, lots of universities offer exchange programs that allow students to spend a year abroad. Not only is this a great way to broaden your horizons and immerse yourself in a different culture but recent findings have suggested that the funding and help available for exchange students can save you a lot of money in comparison to those who remain in their home country for the entirety of their degree.
- Ask for help
From low income bursaries to young family support, there are many types of help available to those looking to study who may not otherwise be able to afford it. As is often the case, if you don’t ask, you won’t get it, so never be afraid to see what you may qualify for.