Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Economical Education

September is national “College Savings Month” and these days a month focused on savings can be appreciated by all.

But simply having a month dedicated to saving money on college doesn't necessarily make it an easy task to accomplish.

It seems the cost of everything is on the rise, and our money trees in the backyard aren’t growing any faster, so for those looking to complete their degrees, it might seem financially daunting.

But don’t worry, there is light at the end of the tunnel, or at least a ladder so you don’t get stuck in a hole of looming debt.

Online Learning = Savings

First off, students who do their first two years at a Maricopa Community College save an average of $7,000 a year on tuition costs compared to state universities in Arizona. That is because tuition is only $81 credit for Maricopa County residents.

Second, online students don’t have to pay for a daily commute because classes can be attended from the comfort of your own home, or anywhere with an internet connection.

Rio Salado Student
Alanna Gittens
“I like the fact that Rio Salado is affordable,” said student Alanna Gittens, a mother of two who is taking general education classes while pursuing a career as a registered nurse. “With today’s economy, and the gas and housing prices, online classes are definitely convenient.”

Online students also avoid the added cost of buying an on-campus parking pass, which can be very expensive and needs to be re-purchased every semester.

Third, students can live anywhere and still take online classes, meaning students won’t need to worry about how close to campus they live.

The freedom to live anywhere allows for a fairer rent price and many times, better amenities.

Students can also have a job while they go to school without the stress of trying to schedule work in between classes.

This is because online classes allow you to create your own schedule and are very flexible should something come up last minute.

Other Ways to Save

While expenses can still pile up, there are ways to manage what you spend and keep your per diem to a minimum to help ensure that getting an education doesn’t break the bank.

Eating out can be expensive, especially for students who don't know how to cook or feel uncomfortable with the idea.

You can take some cooking classes at your local community college or take a few minutes to watch some instructional YouTube videos to get some inspiration.

Learning how to cook on a budget can be a great way to save some money and has life-long pay offs.

And when it comes to clothes, it’s now chic to go to the local thrift shop and pop some tags off their wardrobe selection.

Times may be difficult, but that doesn’t mean you need to put yourself too far behind financially while you work to get ahead in your education.

This story can also be found in the Sept. 21 edition of The Tempe Republic.