6 ways you can go to college without accruing a mountain of debt.
Earning a degree or certificate and improving your career prospects is a necessary investment in today’s job market. The average cost of tuition and fees for the 2021-2022 academic year was $38,070 at private colleges, $10,740 for state residents at public colleges, and $27,560 for out-of-state residents attending public universities, according to the College Board. However, it is possible to earn your degree with low or even no debt. Here’s how:
- Enroll at a community college. Community colleges nationwide have significantly lower tuition rates than four-year institutions. At Washington State Community College our in-state tuition is a low $170 per credit hour and out-of-state tuition is only $1 more. For West Virginia residents, thanks to WSCC’s fantastic reciprocity program, you pay in-state tuition rates. Therefore, the average tuition cost for a year at WSCC at the in-state rate is $5,100 (based on 30 credit hours). For those who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree, you can attend a community college for two years and earn your associate degree, then transfer your credits to the four-year institution of your choice to finish your academic goals. The result is huge savings.
- Apply for grants. Grants are awarded based on demonstrated financial need. Best of all, they don’t need to be repaid. Keep in mind that all grants have different eligibility requirements. Need-based grants eligibility is determined using federal or state formulas and the information you provide on your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which you must complete in order to qualify for The Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and the Ohio College Opportunity Grant.
- Apply for scholarships. There are many organizations and websites that can help you find scholarships that you may be eligible for. At WSCC, we offer institutional and Foundation scholarships. We also encourage students to check for scholarships available from your local community, including your employer, church, and local civic organizations.
- Work-study. This federally subsidized program is a need-based financial aid award that allows you to work and earn money. To be considered, you must complete a FAFSA each academic year.
- Join the military. The military pays up to 100% of college tuition while you serve on active duty and also offers the GI Bill® to use for college up to 10 years after leaving the service.
- Have a plan. Make sure you know how much money you need to attend college and make a budget. This will help you stay on track and avoid taking out loans you can’t afford to repay.
Once you’ve committed to going to college, talking with a financial aid representative is the most effective way to ensure you’re making wise decisions when it comes to paying for your degree. If you’re planning to attend WSCC, you can make an appointment with one of our friendly financial aid experts by calling 740.568.1908 or emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.