GUEST CONTRIBUTOR: TASHA KILLIAN, USU EXTENSION ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
Choosing to pursue higher education can be a tough decision. It can be an even harder decision when you look at all the costs. In light of National Higher Education Day, high school graduations, and college freshmen getting ready for their first semester, I thought I would share with you a few tips that got me through some of my higher education days, when money gets a little tight. If you, one of your children, a niece, nephew, or someone else you know is going to be starting their higher education experience in the next little bit, be sure to pass these tips on to them.
1. Get involved in any way you can! Not only does this make your college experience a lot more fun and more successful, but many of the organizations you can join come with unique perks to them including free food, parking spaces, tickets to events, and more.
2. Use public transportation as frequently as you can. Many areas, especially in Utah, have free or reduced transit passes available for their students. By utilizing the public transit systems near your school, you will spend less on parking, gas, and other costs related to a vehicle.
3. Utilize the library. I did not realize how useful the library was until I had a professor tell us not to buy our textbook, but to use the one on reserve in the library. I started doing research and I learned all my books for the semester were also on reserve. It may have meant I spent extra hours at the library, but I saved over $200 on my books.
4. Continue to apply for scholarships! I know this sounds like something you have heard before, but I know I did not apply for many scholarships after my freshman year. Even after choosing a major and getting into your studies, there are scholarships available. There are many different ways to find them, talking with your advisors and visiting the financial aid office are just a few.
Understanding that college experiences for those who attend classes during COVID-19 may be very different than my own, this last tip is one based on research.
5. Utilize the funds provided by the CARES Act. According to the US Department of Education, students whose lives have been disrupted due to the Coronavirus may have the opportunity to receive aid from the federal government. You can learn more about applying for this aid by talking with your specific institution or by visiting this site.
Pursuing higher education brings a lot of costs with it. Not only tuition and books, but living costs including food, housing, car maintenance, etc. all add up during your learning experience. My college experience is something that I will always treasure and I hope these tips from my experience can help you during yours.
Tasha is an Assistant Professor in Juab county teaching about family tech use, mental health, and life skills. She is a self-proclaimed arcade connoisseur with a passion for Diet Mountain Dew and country music.
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