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Paying for School

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Paying for School

For many people, how to pay for a college education is one of the first major financial decisions they'll make.

Have you just started adjusting to life as a college student? Chances are you have a bit of sticker shock. Sure, your parents may have helped you out with tuition, but did they also fund your room and board? Renting an apartment and buying food can be pretty expensive. You probably weren't too pleased after going to your first class and realizing that you have a bunch of books to buy. Some students spend hundreds of dollars each semester in books alone.

Are all of these expenses starting to stress you out? If you don't think you can afford these basic college expenses, think about your social life. If you want to have any fun while at school, you're going to need even more money.

If your parents can't give you the money you need to get you through your college experience, you're going to have to find a job. Think about your area of study and how you can take advantage of your current skills. Having a part-time job while you are in college will give you greater financial independence and "real world" experience. Because working during college is a necessity for many students, you should expect competition for even minimum wage positions.

Unfortunately, some students are so strapped for cash that they spend all their time working and very little time studying. This is a poor use of time, because getting good grades while in college is important if you want to land a good job upon graduation. If you flunk a test because you were flipping burgers all night for $8 an hour, your priorities aren't straight. If you work less during school and more on your studies, you may be able to earn much more than what you're making while in school.

Obviously, everyone's situation is different. Organize and plan the payment of your tuition fees. If you have to work all the time to support yourself through college, think about taking alternating semesters between your job and school. Work full time one semester, and then save up enough money to pay for the next semester's tuition. This way, you'll be able to focus more on your studies while in school. It may take you a bit longer to go to school, but earning better grades might help you advance that much faster once you graduate.

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