As adult learners contemplate the positives and negatives of whether to pursue a college degree, the potential for higher earnings often tips the scales in favor of returning to school.
But the final decision about college often hinges on one important issue: cost.
As tuition rates rise along with the price of gas, food, utilities and housing, these potential students are forced to consider their budget when choosing an online school, traditional college or on-campus university.
Among the financial issues are a few additional items to consider when making this decision:
- Even with rising tuition at most schools, there are still incredible higher education bargains out there. Check local junior colleges, which generally charge a much lower tuition than private colleges, but only to state residents. Also, look into low-tuition online schools, like Western Governors University. Both options offer excellence without putting you in the poorhouse.
- Instead of throwing out a college or university because the tuition rate is too high, first check with its financial aid office to discover whether you qualify for special scholarships, grants or tuition discounts. Many accredited online schools and traditional degree programs offer additional financial consideration to veterans and their wives, teachers in rural areas, disabled students, racial minorities, economically disadvantaged students, nursing students and other select groups. You may be surprised to find a tuition break that pays a significant part of tuition at the school of your choice.
- Consider distance learning as a strategy for working and taking classes at the same time. By choosing an online degree program, you may be able to get a head start on job experience and earn money to pay tuition bills.
- Ask your employer whether a tuition assistance program exists for employees. If available, this little-known benefit may take care of all or a portion of your tuition and book costs. And even if there is no such formal benefit, employers often assist hard-working, loyal employees in upgrading their skills and qualifications.
- Consider e-learning as an option to save gas and erase transportation costs from the education financial picture. Thousands of online degree programs are available from online schools, traditional schools and junior colleges.
- Stay away from diploma mills; they are a waste of money. In an increasing number of states, fake degrees are illegal when they are used to secure employment, gain a pay raise or garner a promotion. Blatant degree mills simply want you to pay a fee, choose your grade point average and select the type of degree you want them to send you. Rather than risking jail time or exposure down the road, choose a reputable education clearinghouse – like Directory of Schools. They have already researched the colleges and universities for you. You may also check with the U.S. Department of Education website to find out whether a specific school is accredited by a reputable accrediting body.
With a little exploration, it is possible to return to school and earn a college diploma while maintaining financial stability. So do not assume that a specific degree program is out of reach until all financial avenues have been exhausted.
And don’t be discouraged. There is a college out there that fits both your interests and your budget.
online schools, e-learning, distance learning, online degree programs, adult learners, colleges and universities, save gas, higher education, diploma mills, fake degrees, Directory of Schools
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