Saturday, May 31, 2008

Stay Local to Save College Costs

With economic pressure growing, college students might opt to save some money and stay out of debt by staying closer to home and attending a local community college or state university. While gas is expensive, the short commute is almost certainly less expensive than paying for room and board when compared to living with the parents for a few more years.

Most local public colleges are subsidized with state or local taxes, so the price of tuition is almost certain to be lower than any comparably sized private school. Classes may be a little bit more crowded and the professors are probably less known, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the quality of education and opportunity isn't a good deal. Much of what you'll get out of college is directly related to the time and effort you put in - whether or not you read thoroughly, seek out additional sources of information, and/or participate in the organizational experiences the school offers.

Finding money for college through scholarships can be a lot easier at the local level, too. This is especially true if you've been active in the community and established a record of service and participation in events and projects and clubs. These groups love to recognize and assist their members who continue to grow professionally and support the causes that bring the individuals together - and a college education is one of the best ways to support a person's professional development. City and state funds might also offer public scholarships for residents, for example Florida's Bright Futures Scholarship pays for 75% or 100% of the tuition bill of Florida students who meet eligibility requirements (Bright Futures Scholarship).

If there's a specific school for a certain major or education niche that you're set on and completely dedicated to, then it might just be worth the extra cost. If you're looking for a general introduction to higher studies, then there's no reason to mortgage your future income through student loans so you can spend time in college classes trying to decide what you actually want to do.

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