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Was it hard to pay off college?

I want to know my financial status and if college is the right path for me. path college financial-planning money-management

I totally agree with the last answer about living within your means. I could continue those bullet points on living wisely, but I feel the one overlooked item that can easily pay for college is finding an employer that pays for your college. So many people that need money for college, also work jobs throughout colleges. I was definitely one of those. Look for the larger companies that offer college tuition while working. The large telecom companies, banks and many others pay toward your college tuition. Great way to pay for your Masters or MBA after your four year degree too. Wally Neely
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Kimberly’s Answer

It depends on the career you are considering. Many employers (for instance hospitals) offer tuition reimbursement and/or have partnership with local colleges. It will usually take you longer, but cost effective.

If you are not sure what you are interested in, I would consider working and a local community college for the your general education requirements. Around here, they are now developing relationships with 4-year institutions. (Otherwise if you are considering starting a community college, see what courses the 4-year institutions will accept.) You can potentially save a lot of money this way also.

If you know what field, I would look into schools that you are interested in and see what kind of financial aide you can possibly obtain. My son received significantly more money from a private college in scholarships and aide, vs the state school. We made a spreadsheet with the costs (tuition, books, room/board) and aide (grants, scholarships, work study, etc.) Once you receive your package from the school, keep asking if there is any more available, especially close to Decision Day. (As student decline, those scholarship become available.)

Don't waste your time and money applying to schools you really wouldn't want to go to. Our guidance counselor said 5 is sufficient; over ten you need to take time to reconsider what you really want.
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Kim’s Answer

Jhovani,

You are right to be concerned about paying off the cost of your schooling! My advice is to start out by making wise decisions, to at least somewhat control these costs. This can include:
1. textbooks- buy used books, re-sell your books, rent books. Shop around on-line for the best deals
2. choice of school - consider starting at a local community college and transferring to university
3. residence - if possible, live at home and commute
4. transportation - public transportation, car pools, etc. If you must buy a car, remember cars are for transportation, not for impressing other people. Get something used, but dependable
5. meals - school meals are not cheap either! Pack some munchies from home!
6. clothes/furnitures - locate the better second hand stores, you'll be surprised!!

As to paying back loans, it's a matter of self-discipline. If you have more than one loan, pay the minimum on each loan, and then choose ONE loan to pay extra on. Once that loan is paid off, use that loan payment, plus the extra, and pay it towards the next loan. Etc. Financial planners usually recommend that you pay off the loan with the highest interest rate first. However, I tend to like paying off the smallest loan first, as I can see success faster!

Even after school, you will need to continue to live modestly. Distinguish between wants and needs. Don't exceed your capabilities! Establishing good financial discipline now will carry you throughout your life. At the first possible moment, start learning to save, even if only $5 a week. It can be done!

Is it worth it? Depends on the type of job/career you want, and if there are alternative ways to get there or not. But usually, yes, it's worth it !

best of luck!
Kim
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Cesar’s Answer

You will need a plan. Seek out financial advise before, during, and after you graduate. Before and during school look for scholarship, grants, etc. If you graduate with debt, then make sure you continue to seek financial advise and work within a budget because the last thing you want to do is carry around debt for years. It will hamper your long term goal of financial independence and retiring early.
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KRISTY’s Answer

YES! Seek financial advice before going into debt. There are many options other than loans. Please consider taking advantage of all of the scholarships and grants available, try testing out of some classes, tuition reimbursement through an employer, student work or research programs, internships, and part-time or full-time jobs to pay for your education. Check out Federal student aid verses other types of student or personal loans. Consider the interest rates, term of the loan(s), and when payments begin.
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Cesar’s Answer

You will need a plan. Seek out financial advise before, during, and after you graduate. Before and during school look for scholarship, grants, etc. If you graduate with debt, then make sure you continue to seek financial advise and work within a budget because the last thing you want to do is carry around debt for years. It will hamper your long term goal of financial independence and retiring early.
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Nick’s Answer

It's been proven that a college education can lead to a better income and can pay off the debt and support a good lifestyle, with all due respect to the well paid trades. However, in both cases, college or trades, you must put in the hard work and have a modest ambition to leverage the investment to succeed.
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