If you’re a busy parent who has a desire to earn a college or graduate degree, you’re in luck. In today’s cyber universe there are all sorts of options open to you, like getting an MBA completely online while taking care of children at home, finishing your college degree at night, obtaining grants to cover your entire tuition expense, or studying at your own pace until you build up enough credits to snag that coveted diploma. Whatever your particular situation is, here are some hacks for all those over-worked, under-paid, under-appreciated parents out there who want to go back to school to finish college or earn an advanced degree. Often, your two biggest constraints are time, money, or both. These tips can get you moving along your educational journey.

Opt for Online Study

Online degrees save you both time and money. For undergraduate and master’s programs, remote study is an option that can help you put letters after your name and save you a ton of money in tuition fees. Plus, because you’ll be attending classes from the comfort of your home, there will be no commuting expense or wasted time making trips to and from a brick and mortar school.

Get a Student Loan

Taking out student loans does a couple of very good things for your quest. First, it allows you to study at virtually any educational institution you want. Second, getting tuition expenses paid up front delivers a sense of freedom and peace of mind that few other educational strategies can offer. In most cases, you can apply quickly and easily online for different kinds of student loans, get a response in a few hours or days, and take advantage of competitive interest rates and repayment terms.

Attend Community College Weekend and Night Programs

Taking coursework in evenings or on weekends at local community colleges is an inexpensive option for starting to earn your college degree. This technique also partly solves the time dilemma because it keeps your weekdays open. Yes, your social life can take a bit of a hit when your weekends are devoted to school work, but everyone pays some kind of price for their education, and a temporary break from social activities isn’t such a high one.

Apply for Grants

Grants are wonderful if you can win them. Even though the market for substantial education grants is extremely competitive, most serious students can find at least some funding this way. The good news is that you never have to repay grant money, so it’s sort of like winning the education lottery if you get one.

Take One or Two Courses Per Semester

Remember the fable about the tortoise and the hare? You become the tortoise in this scenario because you earn your diploma by taking one or two classes per semester, as your schedule and budget allows. The upside is that you eventually get a degree and spread out the financial expenses over a long period of time. The downside? It might take several years for you to get your hands on that diploma. Hey, everything’s a trade-off, right?

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