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How did you make post-secondary affordable?

Good at learning. Open to feedback. Friendly and playful. Looking to get out of my state for college. Aspirations of being an English major. #college #english #business #economics


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Cole’s Answer

Depending on your financial and family situation, the federal Pell Grant and other need-based scholarships from the federal government, state government, and the university may be available. Also, if you volunteer for any community organizations or have other extracurricular involvement, they may have scholarship applications during the year. As was stated in the earlier answers, scholarships are available for a wide range of characteristics, interests, and achievements. A few that applied to me that I pursued were related to being a first-generation college student and an Eagle Scout.

Relating to jobs, I knew a surprising number of individuals at my university who took on flexible, part-time roles teaching English online. Though I never looked into those kinds of opportunities personally, searching for part-time jobs that relate to your field give you an opportunity to use your education right away and provide experience for your future career while making fairly good wages.

Additionally, some universities offer scholarships, free housing, or other assistance for certain involvement or jobs on campus. Roles in your student government, residence hall, or other student organizations could result in increased scholarship and aid opportunities.

However, it is important to consider the cost of going out-of-state. Many state programs require a certain number of years of state residency, and out-of-state tuition for many universities can be extravagant. Be sure to weigh the costs, benefits, and job prospects of the colleges you'd like to attend. If you intend to spend significant amounts or take out loans, ensure you are putting yourself in a position where it can be earned back somewhat quickly once in the workforce.

Cole recommends the following next steps:

Recognize your unique characteristics and interests, and search for scholarships based on that criteria.
Look into opportunities for aid at the specific universities you'd like to apply.
Speak to resources at your school and older friends in the midst of the application process to find other leads.

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Kayla’s Answer

Hi Tim,

This is a great question! Depending on the route of higher education you want to take, financial support is always available in the forms of grants, loans, and scholarships. As an undergrad, you will more than likely be awarded grants (free money) and/or loans (borrowed money) in your financial aid package. It's up to you if loans are necessary! The bigger the degree, the more likely loans will be incorporated. Scholarships are your time to shine, especially since many awards are specific to field of study or demographics.

Higher education has more flexibility when it comes to scheduling courses, so working during college is another option as well! If you look to build your campus connections, look for jobs on campus, especially in a department or organization that interests you and can build your resume simultaneously. At the same time, off-campus jobs support financially just as well. Keep in mind, off-campus positions may have less flexibility in scheduling with your course load.

As I mentioned before, all of this is dependent on the route of higher education you desire to take. Community colleges tend to be cheaper than university and still offer the opportunity to transfer to a four-year campus, which saves you thousands of dollars each academic year. In the planning process of transferring to university, you can also receive an Associate's degree from a community college in that time. Consider all your options, especially if you can save money along the way!

Kayla recommends the following next steps:

Calculate estimated financial aid for potential colleges
Research scholarships from colleges/community
Make campus connections for job/volunteer opportunities

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Samantha’s Answer

Hi Tim,

As evidenced by everyone's responses, there are many ways to help make your education more affordable. Many of my peers had on campus jobs while in school. These jobs not only helped to offset the cost of education but also offered the opportunity to learn new skills and gain experiences that supplemented their education and helped them to find jobs after graduation. During my junior and senior years of college, I was a resident assistant. I received free housing and a reasonable stipend that helped to supplement scholarships that I received. Every school compensates RAs differently, so I would recommend looking into your school specifically. In addition to the financial benefit, I had many impactful experiences as an RA. I strengthened my leadership, problem solving, and interpersonal skills and met some incredible people. Additionally, the experience looked good on my resume and was helpful into getting into graduate school and my job after school.

I hope that you find everyone's advice helpful. I wish you the best on your educational journey!

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Dwight’s Answer

There are tons of needs-based and merit-based scholarships and grants available. There are even scholarships for specific ethnic groups, people with certain last names, etc. The key is to start searching online. Start with your school’s counseling office as soon as possible. Your school might even have local scholarships that are funded by local community groups that want to support specific groups in your school such as those who want to go into the STEM field or want to work in education. Of course there is always just financial aid. Again, the key is to apply early. The FAFSA has a lot of questions so you’ll want to talk to your family and gather all your financial information so you can submit the application quickly. You can find more information at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa


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Drew’s Answer

The first thing to do is find as many scholarship opportunities as possible. Search online for anything you can see, and apply, apply, apply. You can also get a job while you are in school and save the money you make in order to make it more affordable after school.


Drew recommends the following next steps:

Apply online for scholarships.
Apply for jobs while in school.
Get involved on campus.

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Katherine (Kasia)’s Answer

Post secondary education expenses can definitely seem daunting when you look at the numbers. But many universities provide grants and scholarships and even a little goes a long way. I held both on campus and off campus jobs all four years of school, and I found staying busy helped me stay on track with my school work as well. Working during the school years could also be a great opportunity to look for and find internships that can help prepare you for your career. There are endless possibilties as long as you are open to them!
Additionally many students take out school loans in order to help them earn their degree. Manageable education debt is a blessing because it allows you to focus on your education with the hopes that you will earn a degree, have a meaningful career and able to pay off your debt stress free! Hope this helps!

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Rani’s Answer

I started working after my Bachelor's degree and my employer paid for both my Masters. You are already working and in your free time you will be completing your course work that may be directly related to your work (eg. When I was in Business I did my MBA - so most of the papers I had to submit I could take usecases from my work) Another option is to join military which may take you off track from your field of interest if you don't get the job you like. Depending on your financial need there are a lot of loans & scholarships available. Some colleges offer full tuition aid for post-sec in Bioinformatics - it depends on the filed of study you are interested in.

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Stuart’s Answer

Join the military. ROTC or Federal academies provide tuition-augmented (or free) college education and guaranteed management career. Enlist to defer college, and benefit from education benefits, such as the GI Bill or Post-9/11 GI Bill. After joining the workforce, there are also opportunities to have companies pay for Master's degrees or PhD programs.

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Rani’s Answer

I started working after my Bachelor's degree and my employer paid for both my Masters. You are already working and in your free time you will be completing your course work that may be directly related to your work (eg. When I was in Business I did my MBA - so most of the papers I had to submit I could take usecases from my work) Another option is to join military which may take you off track from your field of interest if you don't get the job you like. Depending on your financial need there are a lot of loans & scholarships available. Some colleges offer full tuition aid for post-sec in Bioinformatics - it depends on the filed of study you are interested in.

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