The biggest concern that stops anyone from going back to college is tuition. A lot of us cannot afford to pay out of pocket, and taking out loans isn’t always the best option. But that shouldn’t discourage you from getting the education you always wanted.
I always loved learning, and after completing high school, I got married. I wanted to take a gap year because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had a lot of things going on in my mind. A year later, I was expecting my daughter, so I pushed going back to college even further just so I could focus on being a mom.
When my baby was 18 months, I found myself looking for a job because, at this point, I still didn’t know what I wanted to go to college for, and I wasn’t eligible for financial aid, so I decided to start saving up. Taking loans was never an option for me because I don’t deal with interest at all and don’t want to be in debt forever after I graduate.
After I had my second child, I went back to community college by taking college algebra in the summer. I wanted to see where I stood, and if I still have it in me to continue learning. After doing well in the course, my self-confidence boosted, and I made my mind up to become a full-time student.
So here’s how I am able to pay for my school:
1. I opened up credit cards that offer a 0% interest rate for a certain amount of months (12-18 months). If I had to buy books or pay the tuition, I would put it on the credit card and pay minimum overtime before the promotion would end. That way, I never accrued any interest.
2. I started with a community college because they are way cheaper than state and private colleges. I paid $160 per credit at the community college, whereas private or state colleges would’ve been more than $350 per credit.
3. I made sure my GPA was excellent. I maintained a 4.0, so in the future, I could be eligible for scholarships. I applied to a state college and got in. Because of my GPA, I was awarded a presidential scholarship, which helped big time.
4. I quit my job to focus solely on my school and my family. I applied for financial aid and luckily got partial grants because now I had two little dependents. This way, I didn’t have to pay the full amount and save for other semesters.
5. I also tried selling my books back to the college library, and they pay a reasonably good amount on the buy-backs.
I tried going back to work part-time, but my grades were going down, so I thought it’s not worth it. I’d instead work very hard now to pass and then get my dream job, then work part-time and get dismissed from the nursing program.
Sometimes I’m really tempted to go back to work part-time, but I feel like it adds on to more stress and leaves me unable to spend quality time with my family. Nursing school won’t be easy, and I could always try an on-campus job if anything. That would be more convenient and comfortable compared to getting an actual part-time job.
I’m lucky to have my husband, my in-laws, and my parents around me. They are a great support system. And so, if you can move in with your family, or your friend- just do it! If any of your loved ones can look after your little one, then let them help you out.
Props to all the wonderful parents and everyone who are working full time while trying to complete their education. It’s definitely not easy, but 100% worth it at the end.
Leave a comment below if you use any money-saving strategy or how you pay for your school. I’d love to hear from you!