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Having a goal, or a dream, of higher education is an incredible thing. Unfortunately, though, it is definitely not cheap. Paying for college is one of the leading reasons that people often opt out of the entire experience. They hear horror stories of the total number people paid, how long they will be paying off their student loans, how they were so broke in college they could only afford a slice of pizza, and the examples could go on. 

However, what you hear less often, but should pay more mind to, is the fact that although a college education is not cheap, it is an investment in your future. Spending money to set yourself up to follow your professional dreams and eventually create a years-long career for yourself stemming from your college education will be money well spent. Another thing that you seldom hear is that there are ways to lessen the sting of the total cost; here are three examples for you to consider. 

Search for Scholarships

You would be amazed at how much money is available with scholarships. People tend to hear that word and think it only applies to being offered a full ride, but the truth is you can piece together as many scholarships as you want to, and those values will add up quickly.

Hop online and set up an account with a scholarship search and application program. These sites will match you with eligible scholarships for college so that you can put your time into applying for the ones you are best suited to get, and not waste your time with those that are less of a match. Many of these platforms also have tips that will come in handy throughout the process; everything from user-friendly profile-building tools to documents and essays you can use for your applications. 

Combine Multiple Savings Strategies

When people say, “saving for college,” it might sound crazy to think about how someone is just simply saving tens of thousands of dollars. The truth is, they are not just saving, they have developed a strategy that works best for them to baby-step their way to their ultimate goal; slow and steady wins the race. One of the best strategies to consider is starting early. The earlier you can start to sock money away for your college education, the better. If time is not on your side, the feat is not hopeless. 

On your journey towards saving money for higher education, try disciplining yourself. Make it a personal rule that any and all extra money goes towards this fund. Birthday money, cash earned from a side job, or your annual tax return – these are all great examples of funds that come to you outside your normal means of income – won’t be missed in the short term but will be quite significant in the long term. The point is that combining multiple savings strategies, as long as they make sense for your life, is a very specific way to help you reach the broader goal of saving for college. 

Consider Community College

Community colleges tend to get grossly overshadowed by their 4-year university counterparts. However, there is great value to be had when you consider the different ways that attending community college can ease some of the financial pressure of paying for your education. If you still have questions to ask yourself regarding career path options, look to community college to take the beginner, prerequisite courses that any college would require. The only difference? They are a fraction of the price that they would be at a larger institution.

If you are not sold on starting your college experience at a community college, you can still experience some cost savings by finding a few classes at a community college that are a required part of your curriculum and will transfer to your main university. This way you can still be full-time at your school of choice but fill some of your requirements at a cheaper rate.

The Racine County Eye, which includes the Kenosha Lens, is your source for local news that serves our diverse communities. For more K-12 and college education news, check out our Schools section. Subscribe today to stay up-to-date with local news.

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