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Students Guide: How to Manage Your College Budget

Everyone wants to get a good education but unfortunately, not everyone can afford it. Prices for getting higher education in prestigious colleges have skyrocketed: they start from $20,000 and on average can empty your wallet for $67,000 each year.

Of course, colleges offer such opportunities as counseling career and separate rooms in dormitories, but since 1990 costs for studies have grown to 243%. It makes students and their parents question the benefits and look for cheaper solutions.

College Diploma Opportunities

Studies show that around 50% of graduates work up to five years on positions that require college diplomas only. It is proved by the fact that they tend to earn 67% more than graduates with a school diploma. Smart people go to college, but college doesn’t make people smart. Some schools exist only due to government loans and have terribly low graduation rates with poor job placements: they are gradually taken care of but some of them still work.

Politicians want colleges to share the risk of those graduates who paid for education but could not find a good job. Have you heard this famous phrase? He who pays the piper calls the tune. The government cut funding of public institutions which resulted in tuition leaps and student debts and also total control of college expenses.

Furthermore, colleges also lost their lofty status and became judged by their outcomes which are mostly defined by incomes of their graduates and job satisfaction.

Real College Data

The statistics shows that only wealthy people can afford prices set by colleges. After they pay, institutions use these costs to support families with lower income via scholarships. As a fact, they could raise the costs unlimitedly: some people can spend up to one million to get their offsprings to Harvard. So actually, the true costs for students are less than expected (with discounts reaching 49% for the first year).

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Small schools can offer discounts up to 51% because even small admission rates can greatly impact their finances. Colleges have also found a way out of debts problem now totaling in $1,3 trillion. This was solved via income-sharing agreements replacing loans and debts by having to pay the institutions after graduation for a set number of years.

How to Manage Your Budget

Even if you got a discount or good scholarship, you should still take care of your college budget to feel comfortable. Here everything is up to you:

  • outline and stick to it. Keep track of your expenses manually or via the app and check what impacts your wallet mostly. For example, you can opt for cheaper alternatives;
  • look for college discounts. Did you know that showing your student ID can unlock many doors? Everything starting from gyms, restaurants, stores and much more;
  • wants vs. needs. Think about whether you really need this thing or you just want it. Of course, there is nothing wrong in treating yourself but it should not be done on an everyday basis;
  • reduce food costs. It is proved that most part of our budget we spend on meals and entertainment, so try to say no to tempting dinner and use saved money on the things you really need;
  • use coupons and promo codes. For a student, this is a real gold mine. This should not go crazy, however: choose reliable websites that offer loads of coupons and save money getting different discounts;
  • share with your roomies. People who live next to you are the same students as you are and they experience the same problems. Common purchases and subscription share can really make your college life a lot easier.
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Remember that there are many opportunities to avoid high prices if you are a student from an average family. All you need to do is to contact college administration, indicate your needs, get a discount or a loan and then manage your budget accordingly.