Saving for College: Work
If you start a conversation about college costs you’ll likely get opinions about student loans, state tuition programs, scholarships, rising tuition rates, dorms, pledging, and even partying…it seems like the last thing we talk about when saving for college: work.
Good old fashioned, pay as you go, income before expenses, college experience.
It’s not impossible. As ….. so eloquently explained in Debt Free U, going to college while paying for it is hard, but it is possible. It may be difficult to do it while going to an out of state school, for a highly-specialized degree, for a student who doesn’t qualify for many need-based assistance programs – but the author makes the point that is not the case for most high school graduates entering their college years. Most students are finishing core curriculum requirements for at least a year or two, don’t need to move out of their parents’ homes, and don’t need to leave the state to find a quality program that fits their immediate needs.
Even an entry-level employee working retail or fast food with part time hours can save a huge amount towards the cost of tuition at a local community college. There is nothing wrong with being creative with the other hours of the week and mowing yards, walking dogs, or house-sitting.
Strive to become dependable, on time, and diligent in the work you are doing. Know what you need to have saved to cover tuition and books before the payment deadline approaches and work towards saving that amount.
For our oldest, combining the income from merit-based scholarships and saving his first few paychecks of his summer job gave him enough to cover the cost of his tuition for the first semester at a state university. We gave him an extra incentive to save by promising to cover all his book costs when he met the tuition goal.
Having to watch all that money disappear from his account after working so many hours had a profound effect on his view of money. He realized how quickly it was gone compared to the time it took to earn it. He appreciated that gift of book expenses even more. He also realized that his promptness and good attitude at work were essential for him to stay on track for a debt free college experience. He isn’t perfect by any means, but he has continued to work and save in advance for his tuition, book, and most basic spending needs consistently for four semesters. In fact, he has now saved enough to cover the rest of his tuition above his scholarship awards for all his future classes in his Bachelor’s program.
Some students may need more guidance and help as they make this transition to balancing school demands with work, but even working part time when classes are not fill a huge gap and help your student graduate debt free.Pin It