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Going back to school: Weighing the financing options

Going back to school

September 26, 2013

Whether you’re preparing for a career change or updating your expertise, going back to school can be a rewarding experience. But academia can be costly. From the price of tuition to the cost of text books, expenses can add up fast. That’s why it’s critical you carefully consider your financing options before sizing up your wall space for a framed diploma. Read on to find out more.

Pay yourself first. 

If you suspect your expenses will be manageable, open a pre-authorized contributions account. By ensuring automatic deductions and deposits are made on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis, you can not only easily build your savings but take advantage of compound growth as you earn your degree or diploma.

Apply for a line of credit. 

With a line of credit, you can only borrow what you need, when you need it. Better yet, you can pay back any amount as long as you meet your minimum monthly payments. But the best part is that lines of credit usually come with a much lower interest rate than most credit cards. 

Seek out financial aid. 

Many universities and colleges offer scholarships and bursaries to assist students who require financial assistance and to reward students for academic achievements. But educational institutions aren’t the only source of financial aid. Companies, the government, charities and community organizations also hand out scholarships, so be sure to do your research.

Ask your employer. 

You may be surprised to discover that your employer is willing to foot the bill for your educational endeavors. Some organizations sponsor education programs designed to help you update your skills. Others may be willing to negotiate flexible work hours or study-for-pay arrangements that can help you achieve your educational goals without sacrificing your entire salary. After all, a better-educated employee can bring fresh skills and expertise to the workforce. 

Work to learn. 

You don’t need a classroom to acquire new skills. In fact, internships and apprenticeships are terrific options for learning on the job. Some internships will provide compensation, while others are unpaid and designed to provide you with hands-on experience.