The cost of tuition receives plenty of media coverage these days, commentators often cite astronomical increases in the price of private and public universities and skyrocketing rates of student loan debt as one of the biggest hindrances to an economic recovery. There is no doubt that a college education will be one of the largest investments in your life. Those attending private college may experience projections of university costs that reach six figures. Tuition calculations are certainly not for the faint of heart, however few investments have the potential to pay off as handsomely as a college degree. In many high-demand fields, a degree can add an additional million dollars to your income over your lifetime and even two-year or liberal studies degrees can increase your earning potential beyond entry-level career options.
The most under appreciated option to paying for college is the U.S. government. The federal government provide students millions of dollars in Pell Grants each year with no requirement for repayment and fairly loose standards for application. If you maintain a passing grade point average and come from a middle-class or lower economic background, you will likely qualify for a Pell Grant. The yearly FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, will determine your eligibility for Pell Grants, ensure you complete it accurately by the deadline.
Some employers offer tuition reimbursement or work-study programs which either will pay you for college classes you complete successfully in an area of study related to your career or will provide you with college credits for defined employment roles. A guidance counselor at your school or human resources professional at your business may be able to offer free advice on applying for these programs and how to navigate any required paperwork.
Finally, the power of hard work should not be underestimated when attending college. Many students find it possible to work a part-time job while completing their studies, using the income to pay for their classes and textbooks, or other costs not covered by grants. While this can require skill in multitasking and juggling a full schedule, many students find graduating loan-free to be an exhilarating prospect.