Cutting Down the Cost of College Textbooks

finding-textbooksCollege students are often taken aback by the price of the textbooks they purchase from their campus bookstore. Students who are paying for college by themselves cannot afford to pay for expensive textbooks.  Many do not realize that they can buy cheap textbooks at sites like Often times, they fail to budget enough money to pay for the outrageous prices they’re being charged. While new textbooks cost hundreds of dollars, whenever you’re lucky enough to find a used textbook you’ll find that they’re not that much cheaper.

Are these textbooks really worth this price? For most students, the answer is more than likely, no. Textbooks are simply books that are used for a specific class in school. If you are fortunate enough, you may get to use the same textbook for more than one class.  However, the truth be told, that rarely, if ever, happens. Most university textbooks are not useful outside of the specific class you purchase them for with the exception of technical books such as computer programming or electrical engineering.  Even then, technology often improves and these technical references become dated.  These can be used as a reference in the future.  So, why spend so much money to purchase them when you’ll only make a fraction of that money back at the end of the course whenever you sell them back to the bookstore?

Fortunately, there’s some good news for those who are struggling to pay for these textbooks. Now you don’t have to take out as much money as possible in student loans only to pay for these textbooks. While your college probably won’t tell you this, there are some ways in which you can purchase inexpensive textbooks. Sometimes you might not even have to purchase the books at all.

One such option is to purchase used textbooks. While used textbooks are available in various conditions, most are still quite usable. You can start by looking for such books at your campus bookstore but you can also find them online as well. Typically you’ll get a better deal purchasing books from people online even though it will require some planning since it may take a week or more for them to be shipped to you.

Whenever you don’t need a hardback book you can consider purchasing an ebook, which will save you a lot of money. Another new trend is to rent textbooks online through college bookstores. With this option, at the end of your class, you simply return the book instead of worrying about what you should do with it next.

Textbooks are a major investment, which is why you should treat it as such. This means that you should take some time to shop around for the best deal possible. You will discover that inexpensive textbooks are available for you to use, both in print and in electronic formats. Whenever you discover this you will also discover that the price that you pay for such textbooks is going to vary widely depending upon which of the aforementioned options you choose to utilize to get the books that you need.

How To Make Financial Aid Work For You

The most important aspect of going to college is making sure that you have adequate funds.  It basically boils down to the institution that you can afford.  If you’re reading this because your are searching for scholarships and financial aid to help you cover the costs of college, you are in luck.  Currently, with the costs of going to college rising in many areas of the nation, a lot of middle class households are struggling to cover the costs of going to college.  When looking for money to attend a university or college, you should think about going to schools away from your home because there are a lot of amazing schools with low costs if you do the research.  If you happen to live in the regions that are mentioned below, consider your state universities and state colleges as the best local investments.

At one time, going to college was a lot less costly and I am speaking from personal experience as a college student, guidance counselor and parent.  There are a number of great schools in the U.S. and these are primarily located in the southwest, midwest, southeast and in the western portion of the nation.  For state universities and colleges the costs of these locations are quite reasonable for students living in the state.  For students who are coming from other states, however, the costs of attending are going to be considerably higher but might be more worthwhile than going to an institution in state or attending a private or public institution locally.  The institutions outside of our state could provide financial aid packages that make attendance more feasible.  Completing a federal financial aid form will reduce tuition and textbook costs, irrespective of where you opt to attend school.

In the above-mentioned regions, not only is it less costly to attend state colleges but many of the private schools are cheaper overall as well.  When searching for financial aid and scholarships, you should look for the places that will give you the highest value for your money.  One of the top steps to take is to determine what your Expected Family Contribution or EFC will be and this is something that you can easily do by visiting  After you have determined how much you are going to spend in order to cover the costs of your college education, you will find it easier to search for a university or college that fits you both academically and financially.  Paying college tuition should not be a stressful or painful process, especially if it is one that you approach with a knowledgeable and realistic mindset.

Whether or not you are poor or thriving financially does not really matter, all people want to save on major expenses including their education.  This is certainly the best investment that you can make towards your own future and the future of your family.  If your household happens to fall in the middle class income bracket, it may not be possible to obtain a lot of financial aid from federal sources and this will make it necessary to seek out college scholarships.  Always search for money that is free before committing to student loans.  Use the web to start the searching process and make sure to check with your high school counselor to learn more about any scholarships that are available through local sources or those that are offered through employers for employee children.

There are also a number of great student loans out there that can be used to cover this highly important life investment.  There are also many scholarship opportunities but finding these can be a lot like searching for needles in a haystack.  There are national, regional and local scholarships among many others and you will have to discover the best places to search for these.  There are also ethnic, athletic, academic and religious scholarships.  It will be necessary to diligently seek these out.  If you have an appealing academic profile, you may be able to get thousands of dollars in assistance for your college costs.

How To Find Affordable Off Campus Housing

It is common to see college students search for opportunities to secure accommodation at the university. Many of them prefer the on campus dorms because they are cheaper and electricity is included in their housing expenses. University accommodation is usually on campus or somewhere nearby. First year students feel that by staying together, they learn more about school life and their studies.

Many students who opt for off campus housing find it difficult to pay the rent alone so they often live with other roommates. With a roommate, you can even afford to rent a beautiful place and will not be required to pay any additional tax once you are able to prove full time student status.

Using the online classifieds is the best way to find apartments for rent.  There are many classified ad sites, property search sites and even blogs that list accommodations in different areas of the city and their prices. It is also a great idea to go the financial aid office at your college and ask for advice or suggestions on where you can get convenient and comfortable accommodations.

Another option is to rent a room in a private house. You will likely end up paying half the usual price of accommodation if you do this. Some families make extra income by renting their spare rooms for cheap to college students. Even though this may not be the most private or comfortable setting, you can at least be sure that your rental is safe and you won’t have to spend a lot of money.

college-apartmentsUnfortunately, as a student renting a room in a private house, it does not grant you full rights to the room you occupy. In fact, your tenancy can easily be terminated. You may have to discuss this with your landlord the rights and limitations you may have as a renter. Sitting down to discuss this matter clearly can prevent problems in the future.

Off campus housing is becoming more popular than ever before. Homeowners view the student rental market as an opportunity to make passive income on their properties. To make their accommodation more affordable, landlords divide their homes into separate rooms. Everybody shares a large space which may be used for cooking, washing or entertaining visitors.

Other prefer another option, which is home ownership.  Some parents think it is better just to buy a house for their children. The reason is that they believe this will reduce further expenses on house rent. Besides, it also grants them the opportunity of becoming landlords and also renting some of their rooms to reduce the cost of their mortgage.

Living in your parent’s house has its advantages and disadvantages. While you won’t have to struggle any longer for finding accommodations near your school, your parents will depend on you to take good care of the house as well as making sure property tax and the mortgage is paid on time. This can be a distraction to your studies if you fail to manage your time effectively.

Best Way to Repay your Student Loans

student-Loan-DebtA lot of graduates stress out from the debt they have accumulated from getting their associate’s degree from a technical school, bachelor’s degree from a university or a MBA from business school. When confronted with student loan repayments, they do not understand the repayment process. Student loans should be treated like any other loans since they are just like mortgage loan or auto loans, and so there should be a plan to make repayments if you want a solid financial future. To do this, you need to understand some of the loan repayment terms like interest, fees and postponement.

Besides the interest charge, the loan account also attracts other service fee charges, and these fees can be charged upfront or before the loan term expires. Origination fee is an upfront service fee that covers paper work and loan application process. While disbursement fees is another fee charged upfront juts after the loan amount is approved for draw-down. On the other hand, default and punishment fees are charged on account before the expiry date. Default fee applies when you do not remit your scheduled loan repayments on time, and  just like the default fee, a punishment fee is charged on student loan accounts for late repayment.

Interest rate can be considered as the price for borrowing money. This is the extra amount the borrower has to pay for borrowing money, and this amount is usually calculated as a percentage of the principle amount borrowed. Interest rate can either be fixed or variable. Fixed interest rate remains unchanged until the loan term expires, while variable rate can change monthly, quarterly, every half-year or yearly depending on the loan terms and conditions. All federal student loans attract a fixed interest rate; however, private loans from organisations like banks and credit unions can attract both fixed and variable interest rates.

All student loans whether it is a private or federal loan has an option to postpone payments. So students can apply for postponement under two different conditions: deferment or grace period terms. Deferment allows students to reschedule loan repayments to a later date, but the loan continues to attract interest until the expiry of the deferment period. Grace period, the other type of loan postponement allows students a period between six to nine months before they can start making loan repayments. However, grace period is only allowed for students when taken as a Federal Perkins or Stafford loans and not Parent or Grand PLUS loan.

Making a loan application is among the easiest things to do in life, but if the borrower does not take time to understand the entire process things can prove difficult in the end, therefore, understanding the process is an important step because it puts you in control when faced with loan repayment issues. Also, if you are unable to manage your loan at the early stages, it can become a very costly affair which can put you in financial turmoil. To avoid such a situation, students and other borrowers should explore all support avenues before making any bold steps as this helps to understand the available loan repayments options that can make debt more manageable and less intimidating.

Getting Training at a Vocational School

vocational-trainingThe very idea of enrolling in a large, traditional, four-year campus college is simply not a feasible one for many young people in the nation.  A lot of prospective students are not suited to several years of courses in multiple subjects that do not directly appeal to their interests, while other young adults are not ready to invest four more years of class time when they are already ready to secure jobs and begin working.  Fortunately for these individuals, there are a number of alternatives to traditional colleges that make it possible to receive specialized skills and training and secure a job in a chosen field. One such alternative is vocational school.

Vocation certification costs about 60 to 70% less than the costs of getting an AA degree.  There is a far more practical focus for certification programs because the goal is to teach students a specific trade or vocation.  Students are specifically prepared for entering the workforce once their programs are completed and thus, they are given a lot of hands-on experience and training.

vocational school

technical college

The necessary coursework for earning an AA degree is far more extensive and will take a full two years.  Vocational schools offer certificate programs that are specific to individual trades and these can sometimes be completed in just one year.  It is important to note that a number of employers even prefer applicants to have vocational certificates from a vocational college, because they know that applicants will have all of the necessary skills for the positions they are seeking.

Technical and trade skills are available in numerous locations and offer a variety of courses.  These have been available for quite some time and they continue to increase in popularity.  Many technical colleges are also known as post-secondary career schools and vocational schools.  There are technically differences between a community college and a trade school, but these differences are very slight.  Irrespective of their names, they provide a number of occupational skills that can give you access to a serious career path that can be pursued directly after high school or you can use these skills to redirect your career path later in life. A trade school or technical college will be much less costly than a standard university and these often offer certificates of course completion, diplomas or even associate degrees all within less than two years of attendance.

A vocational school is a lot like a training school given that it prepares students for jobs by using practical activities and manuals that are directly related to the vocation, occupation or trade of interest.  These institutions, however, are generally offered at the secondary and post-secondary level, which is a lot like an internship.  These programs are essentially structured for students to secure immediate positions after having attended vocational schools or they can be used to pursue further education and training at universities or colleges.  Vocational schools are not part of the higher education category.

One highly beneficial option for students who are ambitious is to substitute or supplement high school classes during their senior year of high school with courses at a local community college or trade school.  Dedicated students can get a jump start on earning their diplomas from trade schools by beginning their training in their senior year.  Not every high school allows students to do this and thus, you should contact your school district or state to know more about the local restrictions and requirements.

There are many learning opportunities that can be found at a vocational college.  Certain career paths in engine mechanics, welding, construction, electronics, beauty, plumbing, veterinary assistance and many others are all available at vocational schools.  After having successfully completed these programs, students are ready to fill entry-level positions in their fields.  Certain technical schools additionally assist students in earning their GEDs if these individuals have left high school before graduating and receiving diplomas.

Trade schools have manageable schedules that allow students to enroll full-time or part-time if they want to complete these courses while holding full-time jobs.  As with many other learning institutions, they usually offer daytime, morning and nighttime classes in order to cater to students with different schedules.

There are even online courses that technical colleges offer as a final option.  With online classes and textbooks, students can complete assignments at their leisure.  Online learning is increasing in popularity and it is accepted by many employers and trade and technical schools are becoming increasingly able to serve more people in this fashion.

Trade schools have become an amazing source of job training for people who do not wish to   attend traditional learning programs at four-year colleges.  You can search right now and find a technical college in your area that offers the very program you want to enroll in.

How To Select The Best MBA Program

business-schoolPrior to enrolling in a top MBA program, it is essential to select the right course for your needs. Programs vary from one school to the next, and what may be ideal for one person may be inappropriate for the next. Even if a school is reputable, it may not offer the schedules and courses that meet your objectives. For example, certain institutions offer part-time enrollment, while others require that you attend classes on a full-time basis. Some schools provide evening courses and books, but again, this will vary from one learning institution to the next. In addition, you will likely discover that certain schools provide career assistance following graduation. It is also important for you to give thought to whether or not going back to school will assist you to reach your career goals before you make a final decision. If you are like many people, you plan to enroll in an MBA program that allows you to attend school while working. However, earning a degree requires a considerable commitment on your part, and therefore you must make your choice with care. The following are some tips that may simplify the selection process:

top-mba-programIt is essential to select an accredited school with a good reputation. Numerous individuals are unaware of the fact that prospective employers will carefully review each candidate’s educational background. Therefore, your chances of securing a good position will depend on the reputation of the learning institution from where you received your education. It is also a good idea to look for a school that has a high student success rate. If you choose to enroll in an online MBA program, pay special attention to accreditation, as it does little or no good to spend time and money on a degree that would be considered worthless in the eyes of most employers. Choosing an online MBA program that offers regional accreditation is the best course of action. This is because this type of accreditation is difficult for an online school to obtain, and therefore enhances the school’s reputation in the eyes of most companies. Finally, read reviews written by other students prior to making a final decision about any learning institution.

When attempting to find the best MBA program, be sure to look at what type of assistance each school offers. Colleges should have supportive services in place that are designed to help students reach their academic goals. Career assistance is one of the most popular of these services. Career assistance departments typically help individuals with job placement and internships. Prestigious schools often hire alumni to work in this department. A successful alumni of such a program may be offered a position as a hiring executive. The duties assigned to such an individual include offering positions and internships to current students. When selecting an MBA program, this is an important consideration. Additionally, faculty member should be available whenever help is needed. They are trained to offer advice including whether or not a student should seek full-time or part-time enrollment, and ensure that the program meets the student’s requirements. It is also in your best interest to choose a school that has a financial department. This department provides information concerning tuition, loans, grants, scholarships, and other financial aid.

online-mba-programsWhen the decision has been made to pursue a Master’s degree in business administration you must familiarize yourself with admissions standards. Merely because you want to enroll in such a program does automatically guarantee your acceptance. Visit the website of the college of your choice, or contact its admissions department to ask for a list of enrollment requirements. These will vary greatly from one learning institution to the next, and will also depend on the type of MBA program in which you wish to enroll. For instance, if your plans are to pursue an MBA in nursing, prerequisite courses will almost certainly be required. These may include anatomy and physiology, biology, and chemistry. A prospective nursing student may have had such courses in high school, or while he or she was enrolled in an associates or bachelor’ s program.

Additional admission requirements will usually include the types of extracurricular activities in which you have been involved in the past. Similar to enrolling at a college or university for the first time, you will likely discover that learning institutions have specific criteria on which they judge each prospective student. This is because they want to be sure that each individual is a good candidate for the course in which he or she is interested. Finally, it is important to discover the minimum grade point average the school requires in order to accept you as a student. It does little or no good to apply at a school where you will be rejected for too low of a GPA. Ultimately, before you seek acceptance into any MBA program, it is essential to gather as much information as possible so that the process can be completed smoothly and with accuracy.

Getting Scholarships For College

scholarship-for-collegeCollege scholarships provide opportunities to people who have one or more years to spend in school. With this, they can get some funds for projects and textbooks. More so, those who are thinking of returning to school or beginning as new students will also find this helpful. Scholarships for college help in providing money for school fees. The great advantage about school grants is that you do not have to repay, unlike when you take on student loans. This means you can get as many scholarships as possible, without bothering yourself about paying back.

There are some factors you may have to consider when looking for scholarships. Scholarships come in different categories. Some scholarships are implemented to cater for anything you desire. Such scholarships have their own criteria so it is important to go through them before picking their forms. For example, some of them will state that you must be outstanding in your academics while some will also want to know if you have the right skills and hobbies for making good results. Nevertheless, your talents and interests will also be some factors they may use to judge you. You should also be sure you have clearly stated your goals and what you aim to achieve with the scholarship if it is granted to you.

money-for-collegeEven if you fail in one of your applications, don’t quit trying because there are many more sources where you can get your scholarship. The federal government introduces several school grants every year and you can also try the state grants in your area. Besides, there are several companies and organizations that respond favorably in helping students with their educational needs. However, you have to go through the requirements of each organization to see if you are eligible for their scholarships.

Another way of increasing your chances of getting a scholarship is by doing well in your college entrance exam. Those who score high in the exams are given preference when considering those that should be given admission or scholarships. Even though many schools do not emphasize the need to get high scores to get admitted, students who really want to get a scholarship should strive to do better than others in the exams. It is also important for them to work on their character because this can be another distinguishing factor. In order to increase your chances of getting a scholarship, it is advisable to take preparatory exams as this can place you at an advantage during the main scholarship exams.

Apart from academic performance, you will be granted a scholarship if the organization or government is interested in your course of study. Some scholarships are sponsored by colleges while some are given as school grants by groups, corporations or college alumni. Some companies take part in this exercise because they want to get the brightest students who will be able to work for them in the future. To win these scholarships, students are expected to study hard and display those qualities that are appealing to the awarding bodies.

school-grantsWhile it is good to study hard, many awarding bodies will be more interested in you if you are versatile. It is believed that some students who have high grades find it difficult to put their knowledge to practice. Being social also counts and you can improve on this by joining your school’s debate club, sports club or music team. Being part of your school’s student body government is another way of improving your chances to win a scholarship. Hence, if you have excellent academic records and you are active in other extracurricular activities, there will be more chances for you to win a scholarship.

Sometimes, a committee may find it difficult to choose from a handful of intelligent students. In such cases, the students involved may be required to write an essay. Usually, those who write constructive essays that are free of grammatical errors win the award for college scholarships. It is possible to deviate from the main topic when writing so keep this in mind and gather points for the same topic. While applying for one, it is also good to keep searching for others since you never can tell where you may find favor. Looking for a scholarship is good because it may be what you need to be the best in your chosen field of study.