How to Get an Affordable College Education

Whether for yourself or your progeny, graduation with a Bachelor’s Degree doesn’t need to result in financial catastrophe.

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    Attend a community college for the first two years. The first two years of post-secondary education, the freshman and sophomore years, must be pursued at a local community college. Select subjects that are fully transferable toward a college degree. Here in my state of California, tuition costs are $26 per semester-unit. Based on this, a year’s course of study consisting of a full load of 30 units, is available for a low $780 tuition charge.
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    Attend a state university for the second two years of college. Your junior and Senior years, are spent at a state university. Tuition charges vary with each state, but legal residents generally enjoy low preferential rates. The annual charge for a full academic load at the California State University system is in the $3,000 range.
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    During the school year, live at home and commute to campus. It’s important for students to live at and commute from home during the full course of study. This requires cooperative parents, of course, and perhaps some negotiation will be in order between all parties involved. Family dynamics change as children grow into adults, but to get a favorable result of an economically obtained degree, compromises should be made.
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    Purchase used textbooks. For those of you unfamiliar with modern schooling, the prices of textbooks are insane—you’ll spend hundreds of dollars on them each semester. I recommend buying used books. Unfortunately, most university bookstores that deal in them set prices approaching those of new issues, so your best bet will often be purchasing them directly from a student just completing the course. The second best option is to buy your textbooks online. Numerous websites specialize in selling books of all kinds, including textbooks. There’s also a serendipitous benefit to a used book. It’s not unusual to find helpful underling of important sections as well as worthwhile comments written in the margins.
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    Or instead of purchasing textbooks check the school library or local libraries to see if you can borrow books for the whole semester you need them.
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    Spend each summer between academic years working at a paying job. One benefit is obvious: Money earned will help finance the forthcoming school year. But there’s an additional value. There is a component in toil that instills appreciation for what learning is all about. The mixture of education and experience is a winning combination.
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    Avoid incurring credit card debt and student loans. It goes without saying that debt in any form is the enemy. The fact is that many graduates find themselves deeply in debt the moment they first set foot into the working world. It’s not uncommon to find these college loan obligations remaining unpaid a decade or two after graduation, with increasing instances of offspring of these graduates applying for college loans before the parents have paid their own off. So spend wisely.