There is no getting away from the fact that higher education is expensive. It costs, on average, anywhere from $8k to $22k per year for an undergraduate degree and a bit more for a post-graduate degree. Tuition fees are not the only expense you are going to have to grin and bear. You may also have to pay for living expenses, course materials, and a host of other costs. Yes, higher education is not cheap, but luckily, there are ways to reduce your costs.
Study at Community College
Community college fees are a lot cheaper than privately run non-profit universities. By enrolling at a state-run community college, you can save a huge amount of money. Tuition fees at state community colleges are around $3k a year. You won’t be able to study for a degree at community college, but you can enroll on an associate’s degree course, and then transfer to a different university to complete your studies. By doing this, you will save enough money to pay for your room and board in the first year.
Study in State
Students enrolling on degree courses at colleges in the state they live in pay a lot less than out-of-state students do. In-state fees are around $9k for a four-year degree course, compared to $23k for an out-of-state student. It is even more costly if you decide to go to a private college or university, so consider your financial situation before you apply to a more expensive college.
Online degree or post-graduate courses are a lot cheaper than traditional college courses. You can study at the same prestigious institutions, but instead of attending college in person, you complete your public health degree online studies via an internet connection. Therefore, if you decide to enroll on a master of public health at the University of Arizona, you can save a ton of money, both on tuition fees and on your accommodation costs (if you elect to live at home).
Apply for a Scholarship Place
Many universities offer a limited number of scholarship places to students of exceptional ability, academic or otherwise. So if you have an amazing talent in soccer or math, check out your options, as you could enjoy a fully funded place at the college of your dreams.
Grants and Bursaries
There are frequently grants and bursaries available to students in need of extra financial support. These pots of money are not always publicized, so it is essential that you ask. In most cases, grants and bursaries are very specific and are based on your background or religion, rather than academic ability. Some grants are quite small and will only cover course materials or similar, but some will help pay your tuition fees.
Unlike tuition loans, you don’t have to pay back a grant or bursary. However, there are always strict entitlement criteria attached to bursaries and grants, so read the small print before you go to the trouble of completing an application.
Don’t assume higher education is out of your reach if you come from a disadvantaged background – there are plenty of financial aid options available.