You can picture it now. You’re hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc through the Alps, or perhaps walking along a beach in Costa Rica, feeling the sand beneath your feet. Suddenly, a dark cloud moves in to ruin the picture — it’s student loan debt!
The burden of loans can keep many students or new graduates from realizing their dreams of international travel, but you don’t have to let it stop you.
Through careful planning and execution, you can travel as a student and still be debt-free. Or you can concentrate on earning your degree now and set sail following graduation, without the worry of paying off loans.
Katie, for example, followed her plan and graduated debt-free. With a sense of adventure and $5,000 in the bank, she jumped into the world of travel. First stop is New Zealand! She is on a working-holiday, working at various part-time jobs while visiting new places.
Ready for an adventure like Katie’s? Here are a few tips to help you on your way:
Take courses that are affordable.
While this might be the most obvious, it doesn’t make it any less true. Average costs for college have ballooned in recent years, making it difficult to get an education without borrowing money.
One way to find affordable tuition is to take classes online, as many schools have lower costs for their online classes compared to their on-campus courses. By taking classes online, you can also choose a more affordable school in another state without having to move across the country.
Some institutions even provide additional discounts to partners, such as Waldorf University’s discount for students enrolled in The Virtues Campus.
By working part-time, you can pay for your college costs as you go and avoid taking out loans. You can even find jobs in your area of study and gain experience while you learn.
Online classes help with this step too, as their flexibility opens up job possibilities that would typically conflict with a traditional college schedule.
Apply for scholarships.
Scholarships greatly reduce costs for college, and there are several avenues through which you can pursue them.
There are thousands of private sector scholarships offered by businesses, private foundations, religious groups and community organizations. You likely will need to apply for each scholarship individually through each organization, and award amounts vary.
Most scholarships are usually awarded through the college or university for which the student has been accepted. Schools offer both full and partial scholarships, which are typically funded by endowment funds, private sector funds, donations, and alumni.
Make a plan, and stick to it.
One of the most expensive missteps students make is taking too long to finish college. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as lack of direction, indecisiveness, or poor preparation.
Understand what it takes to complete the degree or training you want, and have it in writing. Without it, many students will spend extra time on campus, which results in higher costs. Set a goal to complete on time.
Looking for help getting started? Contact The Virtues Campus for more information about affordable tuition, scholarships, and guidance for college and career.