Many mature students return to college after they have raised their children and they have left home. Others have been settled in their job for years before they decide to change direction and resume their studies. Some even wait until they have retired from their jobs before they return to their studies. Whatever your age when you return to college, you will likely want to do all you can to keep costs down so that you do not leave college heavily in debt.
Choose a Local College
If you are a mature student, you will have different needs to your 18-year-old counterparts. Many mature students have families and jobs to get back to at the end of the day, which means they cannot choose to live on campus or share a student home with several others.
One of the benefits of family and employment commitments is that you are more likely to want to choose a local college so that you are never far from home. This can help keep costs down, as you will be able to easily get to classes each day without having to commute to campus or worry about extra housing expenses. Many courses can also be completed online, without having to step foot outside your front door at all. Look into all options as you research colleges and what would be the best fit for you.
Take a Packed Lunch
Brown bagging it works for all age groups, not just school-aged children whose parents are trying to cut back on day-to-day expenses. Taking a packed lunch with you each day can help you to ward off an attack of the munchies as you pass by vending machines or even the delectable goodies on offer at the campus café or snack bar.
Tea and coffee expenses can quickly add up as well. The occasional latte will not break the bank, but do you really need to buy a mocha every day? Make your own drinks to take along with you.
Be Wary of Student Debt
Many students do not feel as if they have gained a “true” student experience unless they are heavily in debt and as poor as the next student beside them at the student bar. However, it does not need to be that way. If you are a mature student, you will know full well that student debt can stay with you for many years to come, which is not a fun prospect when you have your own children to support as they start college next semester.
Mature students have their own set of challenges and difficulties as they return to college after a break in their studies. If you are a mature student, you will want to keep costs as low as possible so that you are not overwhelmed by money worries and ongoing debt once you graduate. Careful planning and a frugal lifestyle can help you to keep your costs low when you are a mature student.
More from this contributor:
College Life: What to Expect from Your Very First Week at University
How to Save Money on Back-to-College Supplies
How to Support Your Spouse when They Return to College