How Millennials of all Economic Backgrounds are Obtaining Degrees
Getting a degree can be expensive. As the economy slowly recovers from its recession, many people wonder if getting a degree is still worth it. If they decide it’s worth the cost, many millennials are left wondering how to finance their education. You have four years of little working hours, lots of study, and a lot more tuition to account for. But despite the odds, many more Millennials are getting degrees than the generation before.
Here’s how millennials of all economic backgrounds are able to get their degrees and still afford a good life.
Federal Financial Aid
All prospective and current college or graduate students can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA evaluates your economic background and can provide those who qualify with assistance to finance higher education.
Assistance is available in several ways including:
- State Grants
- Federal Grants
- Student Loans
- Parent PLUS Loans
- Work-Study Opportunities
Grants are funds that are gifted to you. You do not need to pay back a grant. Federal student loans are a way to finance your education at a lower interest rate than private student loans. Your parents can also take out a PLUS loan to help you cover the cost if federal student loans are not enough for your education expenses. You may also qualify for a work-study opportunity that provides you with an on-campus job. You’ll work approximately 20 hours or less per week, and part of the arrangement allows you to use your work time to study. This is great because you can bring your books and get your schoolwork done while earning some extra money for expenses.
There’s fierce competition for scholarships, but the good news is, there are a lot of places that offer scholarships. Some companies offer scholarship opportunities. Your high school may have scholarship programs. Speak with your high school guidance counselor to find out if there are opportunities you qualify for in your local community. The college itself may provide academic scholarships for those who qualify. Just be sure to research and apply to all you can.
Local and Community Colleges
If you’re lucky enough to have a higher education establishment in your hometown, you can save a lot of money by living at home and attending your local college. Community colleges often provide top-notch education at a fraction of the traditional college cost. Local universities will also offer you a financial advantage since you can live at home to avoid paying room and board expenses. Many public universities also provide lower tuition rates to in-state residents. Make sure you compare the cost of getting your degree to the value of your education.
If you’re already in the workforce or work for a company that invests in its employees, you may be eligible for tuition reimbursement from your employer. The biggest example of a company that does this is Starbucks. They provide the opportunity for Employees to go to school through their partnership with Arizona State University. You don’t need to live in Arizona to take advantage of the Starbucks College Program. You can attend classes online to complete your degree. Other corporate companies often have tuition reimbursement programs for their employees. These programs usually stipulate that the education you receive must be related to your role at your current company.
Planning for Repayment
Student loans can be a scary thing. But millennials of all economic backgrounds are taking the opportunity to choose degrees that are most likely to result in well-paid jobs. For example, Human Resources degrees are in high demand, and the HR field is growing. Even if you have limited resources before you start school you can justify the education expense by planning for a profitable career. Check to see where work is plentiful and profitable and which industries need the most new workers and new blood.
Education is an important investment in your future that can change your economic status. No matter what your economic background there are plenty of opportunities to assist you with getting your degree.
Eileen O'Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.