Earning a college degree is one of the most important steps one can take. However, many recent graduates find themselves saddled with enormous student debt for years following graduation.
I am no stranger to this situation. I have earned three college degrees (two undergraduate and a Master’s degree). Although I have been employed as a public school high school teacher for several years, took advantage of tuition reimbursement programs from both my employers and the government, I am still repaying the funds. Since I owe roughly five thousand dollars, I have do not look forward to the billing statement. However, the options education has provided me makes it worth the cost.
While earning my first degree, I worked grueling shifts at a Wawa convenience to take advantage of their willingness to pay for tuition. Despite the long hours I was able to graduate with very little debt. The company had reimbursed me ten thousand dollars which went a very long way towards defraying my educational costs.
Following graduation I moved into banking. Soon I realized this was not for me. I continued to work for this company because they had agreed to reimburse the tuition expenses incurred while I earned my second degree in secondary education. In addition, I realized that their willingness to accommodate my decreased availability and need for flexibility was worth the stress.
Once my teaching career was underway I decided that to remain competitive I should pursue my master’s degree. This time around I was only able to recoup one thousand dollars from the school district. Some of the sting was removed as I had taken advantage of a reduced rate cohort plan that nearly halved my tuition expenses.
In conclusion, here are some options those concerned with student debt:
- 1. Find a company that offers tuition reimbursement. Tuition reimbursement through your employer is given two ways; paying for your first degree or continuing education. I took advantage of both and saved thousands of dollars.
- 2. For teachers, federal employees, and government workers, Uncle Sam still has a number of programs that will reimburse some or all of the expenses. Look into these and do not be intimidated by the paperwork- it can save you thousands.
- 3. Some careers, including teaching, offer grants or loan forgiveness dependent upon where one works
- 4. Look into community college or reduced rate programs. It saved me thousands.