It’s no secret that going to college can be an expensive decision. However, you shouldn’t let this deter you and throw you off your path to achieving your goals. There are ways and means in making your years of studying much cheaper than you ever first anticipated.
If you’re worried about the financial impact going to college will have or are struggling to make ends meet while studying. Below we share four top tips for making your studies more affordable.
Become a Super Saver
It’s time to get saving savvy. That doesn’t mean you can never splash out on yourself or only live off of mac’n’cheese. Instead, it means making appropriate choices and sacrifices that, in return, will add up to some significant cash left in your pocket.
First, you should take a close look at your tuition fees and decide if the optional services already tied into your total are necessary. These could include perks like a bus pass or career advisor. Opting out of these will help you cut down your total tuition fee every year.
You should also take the time to research student discount schemes. These often allow you to buy books, electronics, and other crucial college items for less. Many retailers offer discounts on clothes and food for students. Cut down costs but also enjoy the things you like by utilizing these when possible.
Apply for Scholarships, Fellowships, and Grants
There are thousands of scholarships, fellowships, and grants you can apply for. Some of them offer money towards your current studies. Others are excellent opportunities to further your education in specialized fields.
A vast majority of students use these in some capacity to support their years of study. For each, there are specific criteria or tasks that you must fulfill first. Online scholarship hubs will detail all you need to do to acquire one, mentions BrokeScholar.
Shop Around for Housing
Some colleges require you to stay on campus and live within the dorms, at least for the first year. Others allow you free-choice from the get-go, and this is the perfect opportunity to shop around for more affordable housing.
Living further away from campus is often much cheaper. However, you’d need to decide if the bus fare is affordable. You can cut down costs more by living in a shared house. Even if you live far from friends on campus, you can still enjoy the social aspect of living with new people.
Get Familiar With the IRS
The IRS offers education tax benefits for a vast majority of students. The first of which is the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which aims to help pay for educational expenses. For eligible students, it’s worth up to $2,500 for four years, in which 40% is refundable. To clarify, this means even if you don’t owe any taxes, you could receive $1,000 of the credit back as a refund.
The second advantageous IRS benefit is the Lifetime Learning Credit. It allows students and parents to reduce their federal tax liability returns by $2,000. It aims to help offset the expense of tuition and other educational fees.
Going to college doesn’t have to be doom and gloom for yours or your parent’s bank accounts. There are a variety of ways in which you can save money without hindering your experience. Applying for scholarships can make a huge difference even if they only pay for a small part of your tuition. The government has also set up ways to soften the financial blow.