Affording the cost of higher education can be tough—particularly tough if you want to attend a Christian college, which can be more expensive. If you're anxious about how you can make it work, don't despair! Many students before you have overcome this hurdle in a variety of ways and come out on the other side happy they didn't give up.
1. Student employment. This might be the last thing most students consider when weighing the cost of college. Maintaining a small job over the course of your time at school can help lift the financial burden significantly. It doesn't have to be major-specific or move you up the ladder in life. The purpose of the job is to keep some money in your bank account and enable you to regularly put money toward your tuition costs. (As a bonus you'll also cultivate a good work ethic and probably end up with a stellar reference from your employer.) You can even start the summer before college and be extra-prepared.
2. Online classes, AP transfer credit, and Distance Learning courses. These options can cut the cost of college by a third! When you dual-enroll, you get the price of college and high school for one. Plus, many online classes are only a fraction of the on-campus cost. Oftentimes college students graduate an entire semester or year earlier than their peers because of their head-start in high school. Make use of those four years and study hard—it will prepare you well for the rigor of college, too.
3. Scholarships. These are usually available from both your high school (and the college itself.) If you apply for many scholarships, you may get more than you thought you were eligible for. Also consider local scholarships. Oftentimes community organizations are more likely to give out money to local students. (Think Rotary Club, Toastmasters, or church.) Public and private school guidance counselors should have a list of local scholarships. Keep in mind that even the smallest amount helps, so apply for as many scholarships as you can!
4. Financial aid. Christian colleges are often very generous in working out a plan that you and your family can afford over a period of time. Communicating with the financial aid office and exploring your options as early as possible is a great way to find out how the college administration can help you afford a quality education.
5. Loans. This can be a tricky subject for Christians as we want to avoid debt. However, if you are responsible and avoid capricious decisions about loans, then student loans may very well be one way that God provides for your valuable education. When you finish your degree at a Christian college, you will have a biblical worldview that serves as the foundation for everything you know—which is invaluable! So prayerfully consider temporary debt to get an education that will last a lifetime.
6. Unusual options. Oftentimes homeschool support groups, a parent's place of employment, private foundations, and individuals are potential private sources of financial aid. Reaching out and looking in unexpected places could end up really paying off! Don't underestimate the value of trying out different avenues and finding what route covers your tuition.
If you want to hear more about the ways you can afford a Christian college education, RSVP today for our upcoming webinar, Affording a Christian College Education!