College requires a large amount of time, effort and dedication. Meaning if you are in a full time job and considering college, there will be some adjustments that you must consider, the most common being working and financial security.
Being a full time (or even part time) student, will undoubtedly have an impact on the number of hours that you are capable of working each week. The reality of this situation is that less hours worked equates to less money. This immediate financial stressor causes many mature students to shy away from returning to school.
There are a number of mature students that are able to make the transition comfortably and successfully. The real challenge is understanding and creating an optimal budgeting plan and creating a path that works for you and your family.
Know Your Daily / Weekly / Monthly Expenses
The best place to start any sort of budgeting plan is to know your expenses. Start to keep track of how much money you spend each day, week and month. Record everything, even the simplest and smallest purchases that you make. This will help paint a much better picture of where your money is going. From this point you can easily see where manageable cut backs are possible.
Do Your Research
Part time jobs are usually quite understanding to your school schedule. Begin searching for available part time jobs that will provide you with a source of income. There are also different types of payment options available through the school that can be beneficial for some students. It’s a great idea to discover and record some of the required payment dates that are associated with your college tuition.
Stay positive. A number of opportunities have the ability to present themselves while you are at school and meeting new people. These opportunities can lead to potential jobs in the future or even part time jobs as a student.
Banks are always willing to give you money! Unfortunately bank loans come with interest and the fact that they are exactly that (loans). Many people avoid this route as owing money can also be stressful, but the option is always there to provide a means of funding if required.
OSAP has changed quite drastically this year. This is a great way to allow yourself extra funding to help pay for your schooling. With larger grants and reduced loans, this route is ideal for most, but should be considered by all students, regardless of age and income levels.
Bursaries & Scholarships
Every college has their own set of available bursaries and scholarships. These are an excellent source of potential funding. They are easy to apply for and all students are eligible!
Working reduced hours with the same responsibilities will be challenging no matter how you look at it. The trick is to plan ahead, be prepared and understand what you are getting yourself into. There will ultimately be sacrifices that you must make but the reward and or “end product” will be much greater!