Financing your education
School is important. It’s also expensive. Offset the costs of post-secondary education the smart way by using free money, your money and borrowed money (in that order).
Student debt stats
- About 4 in 10 college students have taken out loans to pay for school
- Nearly $1.5 trillion in student debt is collectively held by 44 million Americans
- When they graduate, the average student loan borrower has $37,172 in student loans
Scholarships, student awards and bursaries are the best way to reduce tuition costs
- Ditch the stereotype: You don’t have to be top of the class or the star quarterback in order to qualify for scholarship money. There is a wide range of opportunities out there, so don’t let old stereotypes discourage you from applying.
- Expand your search: Free money can come from a variety of government, non-profit or private sources. Your employer, your parents’ employers, professional associations, financial institutions and service clubs may also provide funding.
- Small sums add up quickly: While it’s tempting to save your efforts for the biggest award amounts, remember that small wins add up quickly. Smaller awards don’t tend to attract as many applicants, which increases your odds of winning.
Each year, an estimated $46 billion is awarded in grants and scholarship money
Earning while you study will help you pay as you go and will reduce your need for student loans
- Education savings: Having education savings set aside before you go to college is great; otherwise, consider other options to earn money while in school balance
- Part-time jobs: Look for jobs that are conveniently located and that work well with your class schedule in order to avoid burnout
- Work-study programs: Work-study programs allow you to make some money while gaining experience and skills relevant to your field of study
- On-campus gigs: Make a couple of extra bucks on campus by tutoring, reselling old textbooks or applying for teacher’s assistant positions
- Student regrets: In a recent poll, grads expressed regrets about their money management as students—many wished that they had budgeted more and worked more while they were in school
If you require student loans to finance your education, minimize your amount borrowed
- Research financing options: Look for tuition installment plans at your school—splitting up the tuition into multiple payments may be more affordable for you
- Reduce class costs: Save money on tuition by taking your core credits at a local community college, then transferring to your dream school afterward
- Challenging for credits: Some colleges allow you to skip a course if you can demonstrate that you are proficient in the subject matter, saving you both time and money
- Borrow only what you need: Student loans are designed to pay for school, not to finance the lifestyle you want—keep living expenses down and borrow only what you need
Sources: BDO Canada LLC, CNBC, CNNMoney, Comet, Debt.org, Forbes