As the cost of higher education continues to rise in India, many students are left with significant amounts of debt after completing their college degrees. As a result, it’s becoming increasingly important for students to manage their finances and plan ahead before starting college. By taking steps to understand the costs of college, explore financial aid options, and create a budget, students can better prepare themselves to manage the financial challenges of higher education and avoid taking on excessive debt.
According to Rahul Jain Reviewadda, Co-founder, a website that provides college reviews and ratings, these steps are crucial for students to consider when selecting a college or university. “In today’s world, where the cost of higher education is skyrocketing, it’s important for students to be strategic about where they invest their money,” Jain said. “By taking the time to research scholarships, compare costs, and evaluate loan options, students can make informed decisions that will benefit them in the long run.”
Experts say one of the first steps is to determine a realistic budget. Then, students can establish a baseline for how much they can afford to pay for college each year by assessing their income, expenses, and savings. Next, students should research and apply for scholarships and grants, which can significantly reduce the cost of attending college. There are numerous scholarships and grants available, based on academic achievement, financial need, and other criteria, and students should explore all available options to maximise their chances of receiving aid.
Comparing the costs of different colleges and universities is also crucial. Students should weigh the benefits of attending in-state versus out-of-state institutions, public versus private schools, and two-year versus four-year programs. For many students, community college can be a more affordable option for the first two years of college. Then, after completing basic courses, students can transfer to a four-year university to complete their degree, saving money on tuition and other expenses in the process.
Work-study programs are another valuable option for students seeking to offset the cost of tuition and other expenses. These programs offer part-time employment opportunities that provide practical work experience while also helping to alleviate financial strain.
If students need to take out loans to pay for college, experts recommend researching all available options and carefully considering the long-term impact of taking on debt. Financial aid counsellors can provide valuable guidance and support throughout the process.
Overall, Rahul Jain Reviewadda, Co-founder, emphasised the importance of students being proactive and thorough in their research and decision-making processes. “Choosing a college is a big decision that can have significant financial implications,” Jain said. “By following these steps and seeking guidance from financial aid counsellors, students can set themselves up for success and achieve their academic and financial goals.”
Ultimately, prioritising financial considerations when selecting a college is crucial to avoiding excessive debt and financial strain. By taking a comprehensive approach that includes researching scholarships and grants, comparing costs, and evaluating loan options, students can make informed decisions that set them up for financial success in the future.