A few common approaches you as a college student can take to keep college costs from becoming too steep. It's widely known that the longer you stay in school the higher the debt you'll incur. There are ways you can shorten the time your in college to avoid paying off steep student loans.
So you’re doing the right thing by seeking out ways to save money in college. Problem is, you may be the culprit behind your financial woes. Everyone would like a bit more cash to spend, but oftentimes it takes a lot of work just to save money. Getting everything you can out of college requires a full commitment. Keeping up with Greek life obligations, engaging in sports activities and staying on top of course work leave little to no time to monitor a budget. And unless you’re a stay-at-home parent, you probably don’t have the time to procure a satisfactorily amount of coupons consistently to reduce grocery bills.
Yet, here are a few things you can do to keep college costs low:
- One factor in high college costs is poor planning. I know it’s a difficult thing to try to pinpoint a major early in the game, but the truth is pursuing a major early will allow you to graduate a lot sooner thereby costing less. It’s in your best interest to try to investigate various majors that you feel speak to you. A good way to do that is by taking a career aptitude test or college major assessment. When answering the questions, typically the first response that pops into your head should be what you write down. You can find a ton of free ones online.
- Grades are an obviously important. Keeping your grades up means not having to take a class more than once which lengthens the time you’re at college. Many students take more than one major because they have various interests, but if feel your grades are suffering in one area, maybe it’s time to simplify your academic life a little. Repeating classes and wasting semester quarters can be costly.
- Attempting to hold a job while in college can be counter-productive. Of course, you do this because you need money yet if you’re having to go to college part-time just to keep up with your employment obligations, you’re simply lengthening the time it takes to graduate. If you’re focusing on finishing school and saving money, completing the required number of credit hours per semester should help you graduate on time and save you an extra year of paying tuition.
Speaking of which, there is a movement occurring trying to address the increases in credit hours required (so it’s not all you!). Complete College America, a group started by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has been a major force trying to improve the time-to-degree issue that’s been plaguing this country.
Here are three policy changes they suggest legislators enact:
- require that institutions give a reason why any course should be more than 120 credit hours.
- publish term-by-term road maps for different undergraduate degrees to prevent confusion and allow students to have clear direction when completing a program.
- Streamline the process of transferring students from community colleges to four-year institutions by setting general education requirements.
This organization is trying to deal with an unsettling trend of poor graduation rates in America. It is true that as time progresses, we has human beings gain more knowledge. That knowledge is constantly being infused into lesson plans nationwide which, overtime, increases the time it takes to learn everything in a particular field. Colleges want to give their students the best chances of succeeding after graduation and so need to continually update curriculum as industries advance. But increasing the time-to-degree ratio is expensive to the average college student and money is a huge factor when it comes to rising drop-out rates. There’s a call to address this issue with common-sense methods that will hopefully benefit students nationwide.
Taking the time to observe your unique situation and spotting any wasteful habits is a good practice to start when it comes to saving money. Major companies are always refining their business models to run more efficiently without spending more than they can handle, the same can be done on an individual level.