During this time of year, students receive their college admissions and decide which college they will attend in the upcoming academic year.
It’s an exciting time given the high expectations that come with pursuing an education, and these degrees can dramatically increase the earning potential of future graduates. However, the cost of college education is not always cheap. In this article, we provide some tips on the admissions process, including ways to make college cheaper for students.
Consider all your options
The first thing to do once you hear about each school on your list is to compare all of your options. It may be helpful to create a spreadsheet that includes the universities you have been accepted to, the academic program, the cost of the academic program, and some notes about potential career outcomes.
Seeing all of your options described can help make the comparison and selection process more manageable. For example, it lets you visually rank each of your options based on the factors most relevant to your decision, such as cost, location, or program specialty.
Plan your finances
In your acceptance documents, there should be documents explaining the cost of attending the university, including your financial aid package, if applicable. While attending college can be a great investment in one’s future, the upfront cost can be significant.
With the rising rate of inflation in Singapore, education costs such as university fees are also much higher than they were at the start of the decade. Yet, the cost of tuition fees for Singaporean students at local universities is a fraction of tuition fees in other countries. In particular, the cost of obtaining a university education is particularly high in the United States and the United Kingdom.
It is important to understand the total cost of attending each university on your list. For example, unless you plan to live at home, you will need to factor in the cost of room and board. Additionally, students studying abroad will need to budget for flights and other travel-related expenses. You will also need to consider the cost of textbooks, a laptop, and other education-related expenses.
Should I take out a student loan?
Many students will not be able to afford the advertised price of a university education. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to lower the total cost of getting a degree, like getting a student loan to fund your education.
Generally, student loans are divided according to your specific type of education. This means that the best student loan for you may differ depending on whether you plan to study locally or abroad, as well as whether you plan to be a part-time or full-time student.
For example, while OCBC’s Frank Student Loan is one of the best options for full-time local and international students, Maybank’s Student Loan might be a better option for low-income students in because of its low minimum income requirements.
Additionally, the cost and maximum borrowing amount of each loan varies greatly depending on the specific bank you are considering, which is why it is crucial to compare interest rates and loan details between different banks before to apply.
If you choose a student loan that perfectly matches the financial requirements of your college education, you could save thousands of dollars while continuing your studies in the school of your dreams. It is therefore of the utmost importance that you compare the best loan offers available in order to minimize the total cost of your degree.
READ ALSO: Should You Defer Your Student Loan?
Other Options to Ease the Financial Burden
Fortunately, student loans aren’t the only way to get a more affordable college education. Scholarships are another viable option for students studying in Singapore or overseas.
Even if you were not offered a scholarship as part of your admissions offer letter, you may be able to find one through the university. At some universities in Singapore, it is possible for students to apply for “short-term” scholarships once they are enrolled. These scholarships can offer up to around $15,000, a hefty sum for those looking to make their education more affordable.
It is also common for outside organizations to offer scholarships once you have been admitted. Therefore, it is best to inquire with each school’s admissions or financial aid department about potential scholarship opportunities.
It may also be possible to find a part-time job at or near your university to help offset tuition and living expenses. However, it is important to understand the time commitment of a part-time job, as it would be unwise to accept a position that interferes with your studies.
Find the right fit
The preferences of individual students and families will affect how they choose between different universities’ offerings. From academic specialties to location to cost, there are a number of factors to carefully consider.
Although the cost of a college education is high, finding the right tuition loan or grant is a great way to attend your dream school without worrying about tuition fees.
This article was first published in ValueChampion.