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Pay Less for Your Degree: 8 Ways to Save on College Costs in Jamaica



Going to college is a great thing. For many people it means opportunities and future goals . However one of the main obstacle is finding the funds to pay for your program. Here is a list of ways to help to make it more affordable and attainable for you.

 (1) Student Loans

41590_106570709383133_1274352_nMany of us are looking for an alternative to the Student Loan Bureau and with good reason. The interest rate is extremely high. As a result, it is no surprise there is such a low rate of repayment. Many people  who have finished a degree program are faced with a repayment amount that is almost half their salary.

Looking at a student loan statement which reflect a balance JA$880,000, when you had borrow under JA$300,000 is a reality many of us have to face. Or not face , in the case of many students who opt not  to pay off their student loan. The impact of publishing the names of delinquent has no power. Now the Student Loan Bureau is saying that it  does not have sufficient money to provide loans to all the students who are in need of a loan.

If you have to take a loan, you will have 3-4 years to start paying back for your loan.Tip:

  • Be smart: Do not take the full amount for your tuition if it is not necessary. Pay what you can out of your pocket.
  • Start paying back IMMEDIATELY if possible. Why? While you are not expected to repay in the first 3-5 years, the interest on the loan has started to be calculated from the moment the loan has been approved. The longer you wait to pay, the more difficult it will be to pay off and the more money you will have to pay back.
  • The student loan is not the only loan giving institution. Look around and compare to see which will give you a better deal in the long run.


(2) JAmVAT programs


JAMVAT-royale-collegeThe JamVAT program offers 30% of your school fee, plus JA$10,000 in exchange for 400 hours of community service. Seems too difficult? Well, imagine how many hours of work you will have to do to repay your students loan which will be about 3 times to repay after you have finished school. There are a number of government and non-profit organizations close located across the island that you can do your community services. If you are in Kingston,a great organisation to volunteer at is the Foundation for International Self Help (FISH) located in Papine.



(3)  Go to school part-time, if you currently have a job

Part-time is a good option if you are in a job that provides you with a little security.In the current economic situation where jobs are hard to find, it is a case of you have one keep it. Many local universities and local tertiary institution  (such as UCC that have partnership with different overseas university ) currently have part-time programmes offering you a flexible option. Check around and find one that fit your needs.


(4) Be unconventional: choose a non-traditional Territory institution in Jamaica.

heartMany students learning university believe that they need to go to a traditional university in order to be successful. This is far from the case. Employers are looking for employees who are job ready. Gone are the days when companies will invest to have you acquire the skills you need after you start to work. You need to bring something to the table.

It is not necessarily, in all cases ,where you go, but what you do. I am sorry to say that going to the University of the West Indies and completing a degree in Sociology, Psychology, History and Literature is not going to make you more marketable than students that went to Vocational Training Development Institute (VTDI )and do a professional programme in  Bachelor of Science Degree in Information and Communication Technology or a Diploma in Construction Site Management. Plus the tuition fee is much lower than traditional University or tertiary institutions.



(5) Do an online degree programme.

15363348_s Many universities now offer an online program and in some cases it is cheaper than going to a local university. You also have a longer period of time to complete your degree which is great news for people who need to work.

in addition, these programme usually have a pay as you go system. so you only do the credits that you can afford at that time without worrying about not completing your degree or masters.

Check if theses programs are accredited before registering and if you get the same degree certificate as someone who did a full-time programs on campus.



(6) Do a work and travel program during your school vacation.

9047669_orig Currently there are a number of work and travel program, consider doing a program to make enough money to go to school. Make sure you have a job before you leave and that the make enough per hour to get back the money you invest in the program. Make sure you are guaranteed at least 35 hours a week and check if you can get a second job if necessary. Check out the post on finding you own work and travel job in the USA for further information.


(7) Scholarships and Grants

scholarship 6There are a number of tertiary institution that currently   offer scholarship both locally and internationally.If you qualify don’t be afraid to send in an application. For people taking the SAT exams, some colleges in the USA offer guaranteed scholarships based on your SAT score. Check out the website http://www.guaranteed-scholarships.com/ for more information on the qualifying scores to get a scholarship from these universities.

Are you sportive? consider getting a sports scholarship. a low SAT score can be complimented by a good sports record, to get a scholarship. Now is a good time to consider this, with the success of so many of our athletics on the international front, and only in track and field. Check out the following websites for further information http://www.sportsscholarshipsusa.com/. Sports scholarships are available in other countries in Europe: United Kingdom and France for example.

If you find yourself unable to get a scholarship due to high competition, look away from these traditional scholarship and think out the box. Most students look for academic and sports scholarships in North America and the UK, however, there are a lot of scholarships and grants from many European and Asian countries  that are directed at students from countries such as Jamaica. In addition getting a Masters in European is up to 80% cheaper than in the USA and even in Jamaica.



(8) Pay yourself

1 a edit graphic monIf you have to go to college full-time based on the type of program you want to do get a part-time job. Is it really possible to still possible to get a part-time job? Yes. Ask around you will never know. Some market research companies are always looking for students for short-term jobs doing surveys and questionnaires either over the phone or on the streets. Be willing be flexible.

Work as a sales promoter. Companies like Grace Kennedy and Lasco sometimes need sales promoters to work part-time. Check online for jobs. Be creative create you own job.


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