Education is pretty costly but we’re always on the lookout for opportunities to learn without having to spend too much in the process. So how about trying these methods for feeding the brain cells. Not all of them will grant you a diploma (though some will), but you’ll walk away more enlightened.
Cost Effective Ways To Learn Or Get An Education
#1 Go to the library and borrow some books.
You can read up on anything and everything at the library for free. The computers there are free to use as well. Libraries have saved me a bundle by being the source of books for my children, who enjoy the variety afforded by their inventory. This way, there’s no need to outgrow anything! Members of my family are also avid readers who partake of this free service at our local community.
#2 Sign up for online classes.
You can sign up for virtual classes and they’re usually much more affordable than attending classes on site at colleges and universities. Some are even free! Just check out the facts over in this article: Technophilia: Get a Free College Education Online. Some universities are going this course as well!
#3 Audit some classes.
Certain universities allow you to drop in and check out their classes. Some allow you to audit their classes based on their policies. This means you can attend the lectures, but you will not be responsible for homework or exams, and you will not receive credit for the class. Often, your cost for doing this is a fraction of what it would normally be to take these classes (e.g. 30% – 50%) but can also be full tuition in some cases, so you’ll need to check with the school’s office about their programs.
#4 Have your employer pay for it.
Some companies have a wonderful benefit that allows you to take classes on their penny. I’ve known co-workers who took their MBA while being employed along with me! Some schools also offer an online mba program. This was a benefit I didn’t partake of, unfortunately. For me, it’s because of my perennial excuse of not having enough time!
#5 Get a business deduction for your learning materials.
If you have a business, you may be able to take tax deductions on learning materials that you actually apply to your venture. For example, if you’ve set up a real estate company and on occasion go to training for the work you do, you may just be able to qualify for a tax break. But you’ll need to check with your CPA about this.
#6 Attend college extension classes.
A cheaper way to get a similar education from a university is to sign up for their extension classes.
#7 Pay tuition through someone’s 529 account, even yours!
A few confessions: The reason why many of my colleagues have refused to start a 529 account was because they feared their kids would bail on college and the 529 would go to waste. I argue that they should strongly reconsider. The 529 account saves you all sorts of tax on this education. For the worst case scenario, you can consider this alternative: if your kid refuses to get a higher education, you can jump at the chance to use your 529 funds on yourself! The money here happens to be transferable onto other eligible candidates such as yourself or other kin. There’s a lady named Nola Ochs who proves that you can never be too “old” to get a higher education. I know this idea could be a stretch for some people but I honestly feel that the “risk” of the 529 is worth taking and that my children will indeed be attending college one day.
#8 Get used or free books from stores and fairs.
There are stores and various places that give away books. In fact, there are those places that can’t give them away fast enough. Be there to get a piece of the action. Big discount chains have piles upon piles of books for sale so cheap I can’t help but stock up on some on occasion.
#9 Get used courses/books from eBay or other online sources.
Craigslist, my ever favorite online classified site gives a lot of stuff for free, even educational materials. You can even subscribe to your chosen channel for easy pickings. Definitely a great idea if you have something like this in your local area. Ditto for eBay and other such sites.
#10 Use audio tapes/courses.
Every so often, I receive an intriguing package in the mail, and it’s some kind of invitation or advertisement on multimedia learning covering actual courses taught in institutions. Or so they claim. But for a few hundred bucks you can take these courses and apply some self-education at a fraction of what you would get from the universities themselves. Even without the fancy degree, you’ll still get the knowledge.
What Kind Of Student Are You?
So just how much important is education? Learning is so highly valued that there are those who’ll pursue it even when they’re way past their physical prime…. I mentioned an admirable woman named Nola Ochs, who decided to go to school.
To me, it’s a highly admirable thing.
Graduating in May 12, Nola Ochs is the oldest person to ever get a college diploma, at 95 years old.
Or there are those who’ll do most anything, even the most outrageous stunts to fulfill a dream. Or maybe it’s not as much their dream as it is that of their high-achieving families. Case in point: Azia Kim, the fake Stanford student who pretended to be part of Stanford’s class of 2010.
Azia wanted so much to be a Stanford student that she “faked” her way into classes and wormed her way into the student body. Imagine that! Not that her scheme was unique: I knew students who spent entire semesters “auditing” classes at my college by sitting in large lecture halls where you could for the most part, blend in anonymously. They did this in order to take a class without a grade and/or with permission from a professor. As far as I know, there’s nothing unlawful about registered students doing this. Just don’t try living on campus grounds for free or fleecing the school off their dorm food.
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