Normally earning a master’s degree takes several years and tens of thousands of dollars of debt. There’s the lure of being able to use a master’s degree to increase your yearly salary but you usually have to increase your debt to income ratio exponentially to get there. You may have to work a little harder and think creatively to gain a masters in criminal justice but the sacrifice will be worth it once you’ve got your diploma, without the debt. Here are four proven methods to get your masters without having to pay back student loans for the next 20 years.
1. Look for Affordable Degree Programs
Not all of the most expensive master’s degree programs are any better or worse than ones that are more affordable. These less costly master’s degree courses might be available online or at a community college. State universities also frequently offer master’s degrees at a lower rate than private schools. Money isn’t everything, but if you are looking to keep your debt in check you have to consider affordability when furthering your education.
2. Go to Work While You Go to School
So this option may be the most difficult one to execute without feeling like you’re always tired, but working while you go to school to earn your master’s degree isn’t a bad deal. First and foremost, you can guarantee that you’ll stay disciplined the whole way through. You’ll have less time to have fun, which only means that you will need to constantly prioritize. Consider the fact that after graduation you’ll be debt free and also be in a position to make a lot more money at work.
3. Land Multiple Scholarships
Although scholarships are popular with seniors in high school, they are also applicable to single dads, senior citizens, veterans and other groups of people that may be at a more advanced stage of life. Hold off on enrolling in a master’s degree program until you have enough scholarships to pay for a full ride. This will keep you out of debt and also inspire you to keep earning good grades.
4. Take a Few Classes Each Semester
If you are looking to receive your criminal justice degree online and you can attend classes on an at-will basis, then there’s no set time that you have to graduate. A lot of working people take classes during evenings they’re sure to be free, as well as on the weekends. One year you might be able to take an accelerated class schedule and the next you may need to revert to part-time status. Either way, you’ll have an easily balanced schedule as well as less debt.
Some people pursuing their master’s degrees are able to get theirs completely for free. If you can’t get a free ride then look for methods that will keep your debt at a reasonable level. College is stressful enough as it is and you don’t want to graduate with a huge smile on your face only to be met with an unmanageable repayment schedule. Use these tips so that you can get your degree and still have financial freedom.