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5 Ways to Earn a College Degree Without Breaking the Bank

Worried about college debt trailing after you? You’re not alone. Some students avoid college for this very reason. They fear that getting a college degree won’t be worth it in the long run — that they’ll be paying back enormous loans for the next 30 years.

However, play it smart, and you can easily earn a college degree without breaking the bank. Avoiding debt could begin as early as your freshman year in high school or even mere months before you enroll at a university. Even as an undergraduate student, you can take steps to minimize your expenses. Check out the following tips and tricks for how to navigate your financial options when it comes to paying for college.

1. Keep up your GPA

This one’s a no-brainer. Colleges seek high-scoring high school students because grades are an indicator of how you’ll do at the collegiate level. Those with high GPAs often receive better scholarships, sometimes even substantial enough to cover most — if not all — college fees. At Southeastern University, students with a GPA of 3.6 or better qualify for up to $12,000 just in academic scholarships each year, a benefit that’s renewable for up to four years (totaling up to $48,000). This doesn’t even include the money you’ll receive toward your studies if you participate in the SEU Honors Program, which could earn you an additional $3,000 per year.

2. Try out for a sports team

If you’re athletically inclined, consider joining a collegiate sports team. You’ll not only make some great friends, but you’ll also benefit from the athletic scholarships associated with helping lead your team to victory. Southeastern has over 15 sports teams and has won 13 national championships in the NCCAA so far. (We have intramurals too if you just want to play for fun.)

3. Consider government aid

There are many federal aid programs you can benefit from, all by filling out a simple form called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you’re a student in Florida submitting this form, you may become eligible for Bright Futures as well as Effective Access to Student Education or EASE (formerly the Florida Resident Access Grant or FRAG). Accepted SEU students can complete this form online at fafsa.ed.gov (Southeastern’s FAFSA code is #001521).

4. Apply for a campus job

Many students participate in work-study programs during college to help offset costs. This means devoting a chunk of time each week to working on campus in order to earn money toward educational expenses. Aside from this benefit, you also gain invaluable professional experience that can help your chances of landing a job after graduation. At Southeastern, there are nearly 500 student jobs on campus in areas such as marketing, food services, residence life and more.

5. Take center stage

Maybe you’ve played the violin since you were little, or you starred in a school play, or your short films have an strong online following. Whatever your performance niche might be, it could serve to earn you some substantial scholarship benefits. Interested Southeastern students can take advantage of these by auditioning in person or submitting a film reel, depending on the requirements for your particular department.