The cost of higher education continues to rise every year. Between tuition, living expenses, transportation, the price tag of a college degree can leave many feeling stressed about how they can afford it. Scholarships and grants are great if you can qualify for them. However, an easier way is to change how you spend your summers.
While student loans are the most popular way to fund a college education, it’s important to remember that you’ll eventually have to repay what you borrow – plus interest. It’s better to have a plan to reduce any possible expenses while in college to limit the amount you finance.
Build Up Your College Nest Egg
Whether you are heading home from college after spring semester or recently graduated high school, you are most likely looking forward to summer plans. Before you settle into the routine of staying up all night with friends and sleeping in until noon, remember you want to be able to enjoy your time during the school year as well.
Using summer break as a way to build up your college nest egg is a very wise strategy. One your future self will thank you for many years from now.
For example, imagine you’re able to work throughout the summer. You may earn up to or more than $3,000 while living at home. While it may not be enough to cover a year of tuition, it will reduce the amount you need to borrow in student loans.
Do this for four summers before and during college, and you can knock off $12,000 in student loans. That’s a significant amount – not including the interest that would have been accruing along the way.
How To Begin
Finding a summer job shouldn’t be difficult if you know where to look. Many businesses rely on temporary workers throughout the summer months – especially entertainment venues like amusement parks, movie theaters, and restaurants. Other companies specifically create internship opportunities to attract students over the summer months.
A Summer Job. Working a summer job may dampen your summer fun a little. But doing so will allow you to enjoy your college experience even more when you’re back on campus. Open a savings account to deposit your money so you do not frivolously spend any of your hard earned dollars. Or set up payroll deduction to automatically set aside some of your paycheck into savings, while the rest goes into a free checking account or student checking account.
Look for Paid Internships. While any summer job is fine, you may consider looking into paid internships to get the most out of your working experience. Paid internships allow you to earn both money and even could get credits toward your degree. Plus, you’ll get on-site experience in a profession you’re interested in.
There are a few ways to find paid internships:
Ask your college professors or advisors about openings available in your area of study.
Reach out directly to companies in your field and inquire about possible positions.
Search employment websites like LinkedIn or Indeed for available internships.
If you decide to seek out a paid internship, start your search well before the spring semester ends. These opportunities tend to fill up quickly. You may also ask for a recommendation from one of your professors to include with your resume and application.
Always be on the lookout for opportunities to decrease the amount of student loans you need to borrow. Seek out scholarships, grants, and spend your summers earning extra money for when school resumes. Every little bit helps reduce the overall cost of college and the interest that would be otherwise accruing on student loans.
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