Is Getting an Education and Staying Out of Debt Possible?

staying out of debt“We don’t need no education,” sang Pink Floyd, in a song which conveniently ignores lead singer David Gilmour’s university education. Indeed, even double negative-using rock stars understand the advantages of a well-rounded college education.

But, unless you’ve got the bank account balance of David Gilmour, attending college is becoming increasingly difficult.

Anyone who’s glanced at a newspaper over the past five years will know about the unstoppable rise of tuition fees. Fees currently stand at a maximum of £9,000/$12,828 in Great Britain and $9,410 in the U.S. – despite widespread condemnation from student unions – and Russell group universities have been pushing to raise the cap higher.

Although student admissions are still at an all-time high, many students are at an increasing disadvantage with higher tuition fees.

Many work fulltime jobs and cram in their studies when they can, stopping them from joining societies, fraternities, and clubs, enjoying the full university experience and broadening their life experiences for the job market.

Arrested development

In forcing this situation upon economically disadvantaged students, we limit their learning potential from the get-go, forcing a glass ceiling upon them before they’ve graduated, and giving those that can afford college an inherent advantage.

When economically disadvantaged students are effectively priced out of the market, they’ll have to find some kind of alternative to give them a helping hand.

And with the rise of the internet, a few alternatives have arisen – and they provide certain advantages over the university lifestyle.

Distance learning is one such alternative. While it used to be perceived as the dodgy cousin to university a few decades ago, it’s now developed into a mode of learning that’s more efficient than arriving on campus everyday to be droned at by a tutor.

The advantages of online learning

When you study for an online degree, you’ll be able to cram in a session whenever you’ve got a spare few minutes, allowing for an effective study plan.

What’s more, contacting your tutor is a simple matter – all you have to do is drop them an email. This efficiency has seen many postgrads (who don’t usually receive funding from student loan authorities) choose a distant learning course for further education.

As a rule, online learning is vocational (you’ll seldom see a humanities course as an option), so you’ll have a greater chance of finding a job before you complete your studies.

If you don’t know what you want to study, then Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are a good option. Although you won’t receive an official qualification when you complete a MOOC, these short free modules will allow you to test out a subject and see if it suits your career plan. Think of it as a risk-free test run..

After all, you do need some education – so research your options and make it count.

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