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The Broke Student’s Guide to Keeping Your Car on the Road


collegecarCommuting to college is becoming increasingly popular, especially since the rising costs of tuition and dorm life can render an on-campus experience out of many students’ reach. Students commute to hundreds of colleges and universities all around the country and have great college experiences—unfortunately, though, it takes a beating on your car. And you can’t go to class if you can’t get to school. You may feel completely over-scheduled and perpetually broke, but take the time and use the money to do some basic car maintenance. It will save you more in the long run, and it could even save your GPA.

Oil Changes

Most owners of today’s newer cars change their oil too often. According to Edmunds, owners of new cars can change their oil every 7,500 to 10,000 miles, a far cry from the usual 3,000 miles the oil change companies recommend. Changing the oil less frequently means that when it needs to be done, you really can’t put it off like you used to. Read your owner’s manual to determine when your vehicle needs an oil change, and keep that schedule without fail. Jiffy Lube offers oil-change coupons on its website fairly often, so check there before you head to the shop.

Check Your Tires

There are few things more frustrating than having a blowout on your way to class on finals day. You can’t always avoid running over nails and other road debris, but you can make sure you have decent-quality tires on your car. Check the tread often, since that will be the first thing to wear down from all your commuting, and stay on the lookout for signs of dry rot. Replace your tires before wear gets too severe. Tire prices vary considerably from store to store, so make sure you shop around. Tirebuyer sells BF Goodrich tires that start at $77 each, and they’ll ship them to a local installer who can put them on for you.

Hot or Cold?

Your radiator holds a mixture of coolant/antifreeze and water, and it regulates the temperature of your running engine. If the radiator doesn’t hold the correct mixture, you are in danger of overheating on the freeway or freezing up in the driveway. Check your radiator fluid once a semester to make sure it’s full. You can buy a pre-mixed kind if you want, but it’s cheaper to get one that you mix yourself (use distilled water). Autozone stocks a variety of antifreeze brands—the instructions are on the back of the bottle.

Brake Pads

You know that sound—that grinding, metal-on-metal noise that means your brakes are on their way out. You could take the car into a brake shop, but you will save hundreds of dollars by doing it yourself. It may sound complicated, but changing brake pads is one of the simplest car repairs you’ll come across, and it’s also one of the biggest money-savers when it comes to car maintenance and repair. Here’s a YouTube video tutorial on how to do it yourself:

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The Debt Dilemma: How to Make Going Back to School Affordable for Adults


Education ScholarshipsIt’s no wonder that millions of adults across the country are considering going back to school. The New York Times reports there are a total of 3.4 million unfilled positions across America, and employers need skilled workers to do the jobs. Colleges and universities are keen to provide and promote training programs designed to match mid-career workers with the skills that today’s economy requires.

If you’re wondering whether a return to the classroom is for you, decide if your educational investment will pay off. Forbes Magazine makes clear that older people in the classroom are becoming more and more common, with 1.3 million undergraduates aged 40 and over in 2010 alone. But this means that big ticket debt is also becoming popular.

Balancing Act: Tuition vs. Salary

Before taking on any loans, think clearly about what position you will be qualified for after completing your degree or certification course. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offers excellent information for job seekers about average salaries, as well as projected job growth. Ideally, you’ll want to find a program that is relatively inexpensive and will prepare you for a career with room for growth and solid earning potential. Once you’ve got the numbers in front of you, do the math and see if you can earn back your education expenditure within a reasonable time frame.

You may also think about choosing a certification program over a two or four year degree. Schools like Penn Foster deliver practical job skills in a short timeframe, which translates to less tuition and more time to increase your salary. The school’s medical coding and billing program runs just 7 months, and the BLS reports that median pay for this field is close to $35,000 per year. In addition, the medical records and health information field is expected to grow by 22 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is much faster than many other industries.

If you know what career you’re thinking about, you can search the BLS site to get detailed information about job requirements, including education, as well as salary breakdowns by state. Not sure what you want to pursue? You can also browse their resources to identify the top growing fields and then work to find a training program that will help you join your chosen industry.

Taking the First Steps

Returning to school can ultimately have a positive impact on your finances and your self-confidence. Take plenty of time to research your options and your interests before committing to any program, and don’t be shy about contacting programs for information including specifics on tuition and expected duration of the program. Browse the Bureau of Labor Statistics to find the most accurate salary information for your region, and keep in mind that urban areas with larger populations generally pay a bit higher than smaller towns or more rural states. Once you’ve registered for your courses, make a clear, realistic payment plan, and ask for assistance at your new school’s financial aid office.

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Colleges and Universities Must Take Steps to Offer More Affordable Degree Programs


mary-hawkinsThe following opinion piece was submitted by Mary B. Hawkins, Ph.D., president of Bellevue University

The value of holding a degree has never been greater. With the majority of new jobs created expected to require some form of post-secondary education, it has never been more important for Americans to attain the education necessary to fill the high-tech, high-skill jobs of the future. The United States Census Bureau reports those with a degree will average a lifetime income of $2,048,204, while those without a degree average $1,116,600.

While most Americans understand the benefits of earning a degree, going further into debt weighs heavily on the minds of many considering going back to school. Recent data released from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York indicates that the nation’s total student loan debt recently surpassed one trillion dollars, more than all credit cards in the country combined. This high debt associated with earning a degree in many programs must be reduced and replaced with more affordable options. It is the responsibility of colleges and universities to increase financial accessibility to higher education by making it more affordable for men and women of all ages to earn a degree.

The truth of the matter is that Americans feel that many degree programs cost more than they should. As reported by a recent Bellevue University study “The Search for Affordable Alternatives: Rising Costs and Massive Student Loan Debt Put College Out of Reach for Many,” over two-thirds of Americans (68 percent) believe that degree programs currently cost more than they are worth. Additionally, 36 percent of the nation said that the cost of a degree has risen disproportionally to its value in the last five years. Students want to ensure they are getting the most out of the money they are investing into degree programs.

Unfortunately, many of the rising costs associated with getting a degree—student fees, room and board, and extracurricular fees—are not directly related to gaining the workforce skills and professional competencies necessary for success in the workplace. According to the College Board, costs associated with learning have increased as much as 130 percent in the last 20 years, while Americans are seeking degree programs that won’t push them further into debt than necessary.  As “The Search for Affordable Alternatives” reports, debt is still fresh on the minds of Americans:

  • Nearly two-thirds, 64 percent, of Americans said that their level of debt has increased or stayed the same in the last three years.
  • 55 percent of Americans said they would only pursue a degree if it would not put them into significant debt.

Making degree programs more affordable also makes them more attractive to potential students. As reported by “The Search for Affordable Alternatives,” 76 percent of Americans said that affordable costs would be important to them if they were to pursue a degree. As household budgets tighten because of rising costs, high unemployment, and hesitancy regarding debt, more students are going to turn to degree programs that provide a high-quality education at an affordable cost. The resources that students put into degree programs, both their time and money, need to be directly reflected in the preparedness they feel upon graduation. With the economy growing and the job market changing, many Americans are searching for affordable degree programs that will prepare them for the high-tech, high-skill jobs of the future.

About the Author

Today’s guest article comes from Dr. Mary B. Hawkins is the President of Bellevue University. One of the nation’s best-known authorities on adult education, Dr. Mary B. Hawkins has observed the American education scene for more than 30 years and is keenly aware that the future of American prosperity relies on a better-educated workforce. She is known for leading the charge to make higher education accessible to everyone. Her expertise has been featured in USA Today, Fox Business, New York Post, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, onlindegrees.com, national radio shows, pickthebrain.com, KUNS-TV Seattle, and dozens more.

About Bellevue University

Bellevue University is a recognized national leader in providing post-secondary education opportunities for working students. A private, non-profit institution, Bellevue University serves students at learning sites in three states, as well as worldwide through its award-winning online learning platform. Bellevue University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. For more information, visit www.bellevue.edu.

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Top 10 Best “Value” Colleges


collegemoneyCost is an important factor to look for in a college, but students also want to make sure that they are getting a high-quality education. The 2014 Best Colleges rankings from U.S. News & World Report can help students find colleges that are cost-efficient while providing an excellent academic experience.

The Best Colleges rankings for 2014 include categories such as top national universities, liberal arts colleges, regional universities and regional colleges. Using schools that are ranked in or around the top half of the rankings in each category, the Best Value Schools are chosen based on the highest quality academic programs for the lowest costs.

Here are the 2014 top value colleges across each rankings category:

Creighton University

Not only did Creighton University take the top spot for the Midwest best value regional universities, but it was also ranked No. 1 for overall best college in the same category. Creighton is a private school in Omaha, Neb.

About 58.6% of Creighton’s students are awarded some sort of need-based aid. The average award amount for these students is $21,524, compared to the university’s $34,330 cost.

Trinity University

Trinity University is ranked No.1 in the regional universities in the West. Since it is also named the best value school in this region, students who attend this San Antonio institution receive a top-rated education at a manageable price.

Tuition costs at Trinity are $35,262, but 48% of full-time students receive needs-based grants of some kind. Since the average grant award is $22,377, Trinity students are able to get an excellent education without exorbitant costs.

Gallaudet University

Gallaudet University was named the best value school in the North within the regional universities category. Located in D.C., Gallaudet is a private school that provides a liberal arts education for students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

About 75.1% of students at Gallaudet receive some sort of need-based financial aid. The average grant awarded is $17,952. Since the tuition costs at Gallaudet are only $13,800, may students can pay for classes and still have grant money left over for living expenses.

William Carey University

The best value for a regional university in the South was awarded to William Carey University. This private school has campuses in Hattiesburg and Gulfport, Miss.  William Carey is a Christian university from a Baptist tradition.

Ninety percent of full-time students at William Carey receive some sort of need-based financial aid. Tuition costs are $10,800 and the average amount of grant money received is $8,500.

Cooper Union

Located in New York, Cooper Union is a private school that ranks No. 1 for best regional college in the North and best value college in the same category.

Tuition costs at Cooper Union are $41,400 and 34.2% of full-time students are awarded need-based aid. The average need-based grant is $43,220, so students could potentially cover their entire tuition with money left for additional costs.

John Brown University

John Brown University is a private school in Siloam Springs, Ark. This university ranked No. 2 in the overall rankings for best regional college in the South and ranked No.1 for the best value schools section of the same category.

About 70.1% of full-time students at John Brown receive some sort of need-based aid. Regular tuition at the university is $22,734, and the average scholarship based on need is $14,709.

College of the Ozarks

College of the Ozarks is the best value college in the regional Midwest for 2014. Located in Point Lookout, Mo., College of the Ozarks is a private school with about 1,379 students.

Almost the entire full-time student body, 93.8%, is awarded some sort of need-based aid. Tuition costs $18,330 and the average need-based aid awarded is $13,741.

California Maritime Academy

Located in Vallejo, Calif., California Maritime Academy is a public school that was ranked #2 for regional colleges in the West. This college ranks No. 1 for best value college in the West, due in part to its in-state tuition of $7,956.

Need-based aid is awarded to 65.9% of full-time students. The average amount awarded for need-based aid is $7,261, so in-state students have the chance to get most of their tuition paid for.

Harvard University

Topping the list of best value schools in the national university category is Harvard University. Located in Cambridge, Mass., Harvard is a private school with a history of academic achievement.

Harvard tuition is $42,292, but the average cost after factoring in needs-based grants is $15,486. Approximately 59.5% of Harvard students are awarded such grants. Since Harvard ranks second in the best national university category, these grants can help students get a premiere education at an affordable price.

Amherst College

Amherst College is the 2014 best value school in the national liberal arts colleges’ category. Amherst is a private school located in Amherst, Mass. Focusing on undergraduate studies, Amherst offers 37 majors in arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences.

After receiving needs-based grants, the average cost of an Amherst education is $16,286, compared to the usual tuition of $46,574. About 55% of Amherst’s students get grants based on need. Amherst is ranked No. 2 for national liberal arts colleges.

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Ta’Rikah Jones. She writes about higher education, distance learning and careers for U.S News University Directory. For more information please visit usnewsuniversitydirectory.com

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Returning to School as a Mother on a Budget


budgetsToday’s guest article comes from Sarah Daren

It is never too late to live your dream. The milestone of college graduation is a rite of passage regardless of age. Sadly though, life can throw us curve-balls in a flash of a moment and many with the brains, drive commitment to higher education never reach this seminal goal.

For many women childbirth marks the beginning of a profound and transformative era in their life. Some say it is the end of life as one knows it and the beginning of a new chapter that can never be prepared for. Sadly and unnecessarily, mothers often shift their old dreams and desires right onto their children as the ambitions they had once thrived and lived for just wither and fade.

There is no reason for this. The selfless commitment of a mother to their child knows no bounds and should not. However, it is nowhere stipulated that a mother must forsake her own dreams to honor this commitment. Perhaps the best mothers can enhance the trajectories of several lives at once.

Balancing Mom-Life and School-Life

The modern mother can raise healthy children, attend and complete higher education and create a family situation that benefits everyone in the long term. Many women believe that after childbirth they are past their prime and missed the boat on higher education moons ago.

A quick reality check can spook these daunting thoughts away. The truth is, women who apply the right focus and discipline to chase their goals can wind up places they had only dreamed of. Financial aid can cover expenses and free up time that would be spent working. A new sense of purpose and direction can emerge and ultimately a degree can be earned. Such a degree can open many doors in the professional working world.

One of the most rapidly growing sectors in higher education this decade is the online classroom; even the fully-online university. Online classes can allow mother’s to receive lectures at home, learn at an open and accommodating schedule and stay close to home, ever-ready for the sudden call of maternal obligation.

Choosing Quality and Affordable Education

It is crucial to seek out an accredited institution with modest repute in the academic community. Often, this caliber of institution cannot be found among the online universities although there are a certain few that set the bar high. There are some exceptional online colleges out there.

Some students choose to enroll in their local school or another “physical” (campus-oriented) college. Connecting with the campus experience intimately always yields the most lasting results.

After enrollment, there is usually an abundance of online classes to choose from. With most of these classes, a student can endure a full semesters without ever setting foot in a lecture hall. When you enroll on a campus –even if your plan is to focus on distance learning and online courses- you are personally and physically connected to the college.

You also have the option of creating hybrid schedules that blend e-courses with conventional ones. This can help students slowly make the transition from online classes to lecture halls. Campuses tend to receive a higher level of acceptance in the academic world.

Many of the online-only universities are not getting the same level of respect, hiring rates and overall votes-of-confidence that traditional colleges receive.

In both cases, financial aid options exist, allowing mothers to pay for living expenses, including child-rearing costs, utilities and necessities. These programs can further narrow the mother’s focus toward their academic pursuit.

The Best Choice for Your Life

Like anything in life, there are pros and cons to each side. Online classes offer unmatched personal freedom, priceless to any mother, but many students need more supervision and reinforcement to keep them on their toes and ensure continued success.

It all boils down to the type of learner you are. The most self-motivated students with exemplary time-management skills excel in online courses while disorganized students often need the support systems of the classroom to find their niche.

The Best Solution Works for Mother and Child

A solid, growing pool of research shows how students in the physical classroom not only perform better during the course but retain information for lengthier periods after. When comparing the new-school e-class to the age-old, traditional lecture hall, a few key differences stand out.

Online courses provide much more social and personal freedom. Online students learn at their pace and work around their ever-changing schedules.  Supporters allude to how the full list of course readings, multimedia presentations and lecture materials are often provided online and they can be visited and revisited without limit, allowing for excellent study guides.

While these perks have certainly helped elevate the draw of online college, many believe there is something invaluable about the classroom that the Internet will never match. Whatever choice a mother makes, it is always recommended by medical professionals that mother-child bonding and intimacy in the first few years is vital for social and emotional development.

For this reason, it may be best to wait until the children reach a certain age or to engage in classes online that do not disrupt mother-child bonding time. All in all, there are not nearly as many roadblocks to higher education for mothers. The key is to find a balance that meets the needs of both Mother and Child alike.

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Sarah Daren. She is a writer who creates informative articles relating to the field of health. In this article, she offers tips to mothers returning to school and aims to encourage further study through ADU Online Sonography Degree Programs.

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How Your Employer Can Help You Pay For School


interviewCollege education is something that can get you in a lot of doors, but it is something that many people cannot afford. There are now employers that pay for the education of their employees, which can be something that will get you the education you need to be successful. If you work for a larger company, they may offer programs to help you further your education, but what can you do if the small business you work for does not have these programs? Will you still be able to convince your employer to pay for your education? This is something that is becoming a more common problem that people face, so let’s have a look at how you can get your boss to pay for your secondary education.

Study Programs With Companies That Pay For Secondary Education of Employees

If you work for a large company, you may be in luck. Many of these companies have good benefits, which may also include tuition for secondary education. This is something that was once very common with larger companies, but with the crisis and financial problems, companies have reduced these programs significantly. This does not mean that you do not have a chance to get your company to pay for your education; it means that you will have to work to convince your bosses that their investment in your education is a good investment for their business.

Stay Committed to Your Employers

One of the biggest things that will help you to get your work to pay for your education, is patience. Your bosses will want to know that you will be with them for the long term when they invest in your education. The longer that you are with a company, the more it will show that you are committed to the needs of the company, and your bosses will be able to see what they will get in return for helping you with your education.  You may also approach management with a guarantee that you will stay with them for several years after you have completed your education.

The Tax Benefits Your Company Will Receive

The tax benefits that a company receives for education of employees is something that you can use to help you with negotiating for your tuition for college. You may want to talk to your boss about the great tax benefits that they will get for helping you go to school. All the college tuition fees that they pay for you, are tax deductible, which means that they will pay less taxes for helping you go through college.

All businesses need to have tax deductions, and education is something that will provide them with the tax deductions that they need. Your education will help the business with tax returns, but it can also benefit the business when you are dedicated to the business that employs you. It is a way for the business to have fresh new talent with out the need to go outside of the business to recruit  talent. This is something that will benefit the company and you when you complete your education.

Approaching Your Employer About Education Issues

There are many ways that you can approach your job about the benefits of your education. Patience, is something that will be key in this. You will want to demonstrate to your employer that your education will be for the good of the business.  Businesses want to be able to get something in return for their investment in the education of their employees, which is something that you will have to demonstrate to your bosses when you approach them about paying for your education.

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Joshua Turner. He is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to business. In this article, he explains how some companies will pay for employees to return to school and aims to encourage further study with a business degree from Marylhurst University.

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Going to Law School Without Breaking The Bank


It’s easy to get caught up in all the rankings hype when you decide to apply to law school. What’s the best program I can get into? How does US News rank my top 3 choices? Granted, these are reasonable questions to ask. As a general rule, employers are more likely to snap up a Stanford or Harvard Law graduate than most state-school equivalents. However, today’s students often miss an even more important question: which law school offers the most bang for your buck?

If you take a step back and really look at the law school data, you’ll find a series of hidden gems—schools with both cheap(er) tuition and reasonably solid rankings. The problem is that most applicants don’t take the time to do the extra math: they’ll go to the “best school they can get into” regardless of how expensive it is. This is a problem. Law school tuition rates are climbing, and the market is over-saturated with lawyers. If you can’t land a top-paying legal job, you can’t pay off your debts.

The advice here comes with one caveat: if you can get into one of the top 14 law schools in the nation, that’s probably still your best bet. Why? The top 14 law schools have a long history of high salaries and strong employment rates at the best firms. No school outside the top 14 has ever cracked that exclusive club, after over 20 years of ranking updates from US News. According to Anna Ivey, former dean of admissions at Chicago Law School, “In my opinion, you are much better off attending a top-14 school…a degree from a top-14 school will be portable nationally, so that degree would have value whether you ended up in the region you think you’ll prefer down the road or whether you end up someplace else entirely.”

In other words, if you don’t have a 3.9 undergraduate GPA and a 170+ score on the LSAT (approximately what it takes to get into a top 14 school), you should seriously consider picking your school by the price tag first, and then by the rank.

Still, you shouldn’t simply attend the law school with the cheapest tuition of the lot. Quality and prestige still matter: the trick is finding the right balance. Take employment, for instance. The American Bar Association releases data every year on the percentage of students employed at graduation. This tuition vs. employment graph gives a good summary of the cost-effective gems versus money-sucking duds. (Note that the “top 14″ are rather nicely clumped up in the top-right. They’re extremely expensive, but their employment rates are all above 95%.

law_school_employment_annotated

A few standouts include:

 

George Mason School of Law

Resident tuition: $23,720; Nonresident: $38,112

Employed at graduation: 96.5%

National Rank Range: 30 – 40

Brigham Young University (J. Reuben Clark Law School)

Resident tuition: $10,600; Nonresident: $21,200

Employed at graduation: 93.3%

National Rank Range: 40 – 50

University of New Mexico School of Law

Resident tuition: $14,532; Nonresident: $32,661

Employed at graduation: 92.0%

National Rank Range: 50 – 60

University of Kentucky College of Law

Resident tuition: $18,306; Nonresident: $31,716

Employed at graduation: 94.0%

National Rank Range: 60 – 70

 

All of these schools are within the top 70 in the nation, have employment rates over 90%, and have reasonable tuition rates to boot. For state residents, attending any of these schools will cost you between three and five times less than the most expensive programs. Other high-value options include the University of Tennessee College of Law, University of Maryland School of Law, and William & Mary Law School.

Compare those figures to these:

 

Emory University School of Law

Resident tuition: $45,098; Nonresident: $45,098

Employed at graduation: 83.8%

National Rank Range: 20 – 30

Yeshiva University (Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law)

Resident tuition: $48,370; Nonresident: $48,370

Employed at graduation: 88.1%

National Rank Range: 50 – 60

Brooklyn Law School

Resident tuition: $48,441; Nonresident: $48,441

Employed at graduation: 84.2%

National Rank Range: 70 – 80

American University

Resident tuition: $45,096; Nonresident: $45,096

Employed at graduation: 82.2%

National Rank Range: 50 – 60

 

Not only do these schools cost twice as much (for in-state students): they’re employment rates are a full five to ten percentage points lower.

Surely, you ask, this is simply a matter of the better schools costing more money? Not so. Take a look at this Smart Rating vs. Tuition graph of every law school in the nation (each school’s national rank has been converted to a score out of 100 called the Smart Rating). If you take out the top 14 law schools, there really isn’t all that strong a correlation between a law school’s national prestige and its cost. The lesson: you can pay less for the same quality.

law_school_cost_smart_rating_annotated

Finally, what about Bar Exam pass rates? You can’t practice law without passing the Bar, after all. Here’s a scatterplot comparing tuition costs to students passing the Bar on their first try. By now, the pattern should be obvious. With the exception of the top 14 law schools, the distribution is just about even. Students from inexpensive law schools pass the bar just as frequently as their pricey law school peers.

bar_exam_employment_annotated

So next time you’re about to browse the newest release of law school rankings, review the latest tuition rates first. Over three years, you just might save a full year’s worth of fees.

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Paying for College 101: Financial Aid Options for Non-Citizens


financialaidFor many young adults, transitioning from high school to college is a monumental and life-changing event. Those young adults who are U.S. citizens often rely on loans, financial aid and other forms of financial assistance to pay for at least some of their college education. After all, the average cost to attend one year of college at a public university for an in-state resident was about $22,261 in 2012, while overall prices for a private college education in 2012 averaged about $43,289. However, for the price of an education, you can generally enjoy a higher quality of life. Consider, for example, that the average individual with a Bachelor’s degree will earn almost twice that of an individual with only a high school diploma over a lifetime. A college degree may truly open doors for you. However, if you are a non-citizen with your goals set on attending one of the many fine colleges or universities in the United States, you may be wondering what your financial aid options are.

Federal Student Aid
Federal student aid is generally available for qualified or eligible citizens of the United States. However, some non-citizens may also be eligible. For example, you may be eligible for federal student aid as a non-citizen if you are a permanent resident alien with a green card or if your Arrival-Departure Record I-94 shows that you are a parolee, a conditional entrant, a Cuban-Haitian entrant, a refugee, or have been granted asylum. In addition, if you hold a T or T-1 visa, are a battered immigrant alien, or are a citizen of the Marshall Islands, Palau or Micronesia, you may qualify. Keep in mind that those who meet one of the requirements listed above may still need to meet additional eligibility requirements, so you should carefully review the eligibility requirements and contact the U.S. Department of Education’s department for financial aid for additional information.

Merit-Based Aid
Whether you qualify for federal student aid from the United States or not, you may still qualify for additional forms of aid. Merit aid is generally referred to as an academic scholarship, and these may be extended to you by the school where you apply or private organizations. You may also qualify for merit aid to attend a U.S. college or university through an organization or program in your native country. These scholarships may be awarded based on your performance in school, test scores, and other academic merits. There are hundreds of these scholarships available for eligible non-citizens, so you should carefully research these scholarships and apply for as many scholarships that meet your needs as possible. Scholarships can be found on popular college scholarship search engine sites like Scholarships.com and Fastweb.com.

Athletic Scholarships
Non-citizens who have considerable athletic ability may contact coaches at the colleges or universities of their choice about athletic scholarships. Generally, these coaches will want to see a student’s athletic ability through game films, and they may also want to visit the student’s school to watch the student perform in person. The athletic recruiting process generally begins several years before a student graduates, and the available athletic scholarships may be promised to students years ahead of time. Because of this, non-citizens who are interested in earning an athletic scholarship may consider contacting coaches early in their high school career. Universities interested in recruiting non-citizens can sponsor these student athletes with student visas.

Need-Based Assistance from Schools
Many colleges and universities provide need-based assistance to their students. Those non-citizens who come from underprivileged or lower income households may qualify for need-based assistance from some schools. The eligibility requirements formula that these schools use may vary considerably, so it is wise to learn more about the requirements for many schools. Some factors may include the cost of a college education at the school, the school’s definition of need, eligibility requirements for the school and other factors.

Work-Study Programs
It is important to note that student visas do not allow students to work full-time hours, but students may work up to 20 hours per week. This income may be used to pay for a portion of the student’s living expenses and college education. Many campuses offer work-study programs that are ideal for non-citizens to participate in. The jobs may be conveniently located close to the campus, and the work hours may be ideal for a student’s schedule.

Loans
While financial aid, scholarships and personal income from a work-study program may be a great way to pay for a portion of your college education, many young adults must also take out a loan to pay for the remainder of their education. Because loans will put a student into debt and must be repaid in the future, other forms of aid such as scholarships and financial aid should be exhausted before students use loans to fund their education. This can minimize the amount of debt the student gets into.

For most college students, regardless of their citizenship status, paying for college can be a challenge. Often, the solution to this challenge is to utilize a combination of financial aid sources, loans, and a part-time job to fully pay for their education. The money from these sources can be balanced with the course load for each semester to structure an affordable education plan.

About the Author:

 Today’s guest article comes from Logan Wheeler, who frequently writes about college life and global tax services for non-U.S. citizens.

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