Can’t Afford College? The Cheapest Way to Get a Degree in 2016

guy holding graduation cap and degree, college tuition

Guy holding graduation cap and degree | Source: iStock

Think you can’t afford college? You’re not alone. More than 80% of people surveyed by investment firm Edward Jones in 2015 said they didn’t have the money to foot the college bill for themselves or a family member.

When you look at the average college tuition, you can see why so many people have sticker shock. According to the College Board, a year of in-state tuition at a public university cost an average of $9,410 for the 2015-2016 school year. Those who attended a private college shelled out more than $32,000 for classes alone. And neither number factors in room and board, which can cost another $10,000 to $11,000 per year. Is it any wonder that many people believe they can’t afford college these days?

Sky-high tuition costs and pricey room and board fees are certainly discouraging for anyone who’s looking to kick-start their education in the near future. If you’re fortunate, you have the money to pay the tuition bill upfront. If not, student loans can provide an avenue to higher education, but they come at a steep price. Graduating with lots of debt can make it more difficult to achieve other financial goals, like buying a house or saving for retirement. Plus, student debt can follow you around for decades, and it’s nearly impossible to discharge educational loans in bankruptcy. Nonetheless, half of full-time undergraduate students end up taking out loans to pay for their education, according to the College Board.

Yet racking up tons of debt isn’t the only way to pay for school. Before you write off your dreams of earning a B.A. because you can’t afford college, check out these five ways to earn a degree for cheap.

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