Again and again, Jude Offiah is asked repeatedly about what are the best strategies for paying for college for clients’ kids or directly from the students themselves. Traditionally, the answer has been a tried-and-true mix of taking advantage of financial aid first, then leveraging interest-subsidized student loans as they are far cheaper than regular financing, and finally, personal savings or working during school as the finally funds provider. However, 2020 threw a curveball in everyone’s plans, and Jude Offiah has seen a lot of change in the landscape as a result.
Confirm Up Front What School Really Is
Due to COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing, many schools from the junior college all the way to big Ivy League schools are avoiding in-person classes altogether and focusing on distance learning as a safer path. Well, if one is paying a big bundle of money for the college experience, but it only amounts to looking at a computer, Jude Offiah notes folks really have to ask what they are getting for their money right now. The better option may be to stall a semester and knock-out the basic GE classes at a junior college instead, which are also online. The difference in cost savings from what Jude Offiah sees regularly can be enormous, $800 for a semester versus $7,000 (a rough comparison of a California junior college cost with fees versus Arizona State University). Jude Offiah notes the savings get even bigger when compared to a typical private university. The key factor here, per Offiah, is that most schools accept transfers of viable credits for basic college requirements. So things like Language I, Calculus, History, and English can all be knocked out for pennies during 2020 and while COVID distance learning lingers.
Skip Boarding, Rent Instead
Living on campus is a great experience but when everyone has to keep away from each other, what’s the point? You can still attend college, get the classes needed, and pay far less renting an apartment and paying for your own groceries, according to Jude Offiah. The cost difference is tremendous and, remember, there’s no commute or fuel cost because schools are using distance learning. So you have access to the school library resources and labs, notes Jude Offiah, but you’re not paying through the nose for the boarding and cafeteria food.
College is worth the investment, but there’s no need to lose one’s bank account over it.
Skip the Book Cost
Jude Offiah notes one of the biggest wastes of money in college is the cost of books, especially when bought through the bookstore. Absolutely get all class books online used, as rentals or shared. The cost savings being aggressive in book purchasing can be a 90 percent difference from over-the-counter prices. And the typical college student otherwise spends $600 a semester at least, per what Jude Offiah usually sees statistically.
Grants are Still Free Money
Absolutely take advantage of grants and scholarships. Jude Offiah suggests just make it a habit to fill out two or three grants a week. You’ll be surprised what can happen, and $500 or $1,000 for school can go a long way in offsetting bills and costs.