Can You Afford to Go Back to College Part-Time?

Considering expenses may be necessary before you decide if going back to college is financially realistic. For help making this decision, take a look at this guide to help you determine if you can afford returning to college part-time.

Completing your college education is a good idea—but the reality is, it is sometimes hard to find the time and money to get your degree. The good news is that financial barriers to going back to school can be avoided if you take a measured approach to the planning process. The work you put into this initial phase will pay off as you work toward a degree in your field. Before you sign up for part-time degree programs in Arkansas, take advantage of these financial planning tactics.

Use Prior College Credits

Courses you may have completed in the past can be applied as credits in the degree program you are now considering. Applying existing credits will give you the opportunity to reduce your tuition, textbook, and supply costs and to spend fewer semesters or quarters finishing your degree. Work with your advisor to review your past transcripts and figure out how to take advantage of existing credits.

Ask About Tuition Assistance Programs

If your employer approves of your college plans, ask about tuition reimbursement through the company. More than 50% of employers in the U.S. offer tuition support as a way to invest in and support their current workforce. To qualify, make sure that your planned degree will enhance your present and future roles at the company. Your HR manager should be able to help you apply for your company program and submit your tuition invoices.

Research All Financial Aid Options

Financial aid from your college and the federal government, in the form of grants and work-study programs, can help cover your tuition and other expenses. Although it is possible to apply for other types of loans along with these options, try to stick to as few funding sources as possible, so as to decrease your debt load at graduation.

To apply for financial aid, you must fill out the proper forms and submit the supporting financial documents by the mandatory deadlines. You should apply as early as possible to receive priority consideration, and set aside a portion of the funds that you apply for to cover your expenses while in school. Remember to also fill out scholarship applications to secure as much funding as you can before you use your own money to offset your educational expenses.

Budget for Remaining Expenses

While you wait for your financial aid award letter and scholarship approval forms, calculate the total cost of your degree in Arkansas. In your budget, include computer equipment along with tuition, as well as lab fees and textbooks.

After you receive your financial support documents, you can determine if using your income to cover the remaining expenses is possible. You may need to identify additional forms of income maximize your financial reach. You can also adopt frugal living tactics, such as shopping with coupons or buying in bulk, to help ensure that your income covers your total monthly expenses.

Beginning Your College Journey Again

If you are ready to restart your educational journey, the admissions department at Arkansas Baptist College can help you sign up for part-time degree programs in Arkansas. Give us a call at (501) 420-1200 to schedule an appointment with an advisor to determine if you have existing credits that can be applied to your degree program of choice. You can also fill out financial aid forms and complete your admissions paperwork during your visit, and take a tour of our historic campus.

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