Is College Necessary? Higher Education Alternatives That Are Easier to Finance

A woman sitting on a desk.

More and more young people are opting to take alternative routes to higher education. Despite the government’s recent decision to help eliminate some college debt, the cost of college is still prohibitively expensive for many high school graduates. Continuing your education at a college or university can certainly open doors to a more lucrative career, and in some cases a college degree is necessary to obtain certain types of jobs. However, the fact that borrowers average $37,667 to cover tuition and other expenses is leading many young adults to explore other options. So, what are those options?

What Is Continuing Education?

Continuing education refers to many types of education after high school that includes a wide range of post-secondary learning activities and programs – basically, possible alternatives to college. Maybe you want to take a gap year while you earn money, explore your options, and get more clear on the type of career that is right for you. Taking evening classes, finding other ways to learn new skills, maybe enrolling in a single college course could all be ways of continuing your education. If you’re unsure of what step to take next, ​​explore short or part-time courses that are provided in your community for adults who have left the formal education system.

Community College vs Trade Schools as an Alternative to College

A community college is a type of educational institution. The term can have different meanings in different countries: many community colleges have an “open enrollment” for students who have graduated from high school. And there are many types of degrees that can be obtained at community colleges, from journalism to creative arts. One potential benefit is that most degrees at a community college take two years to complete, as opposed to degrees at a four year university that typically take four years or more to complete.

Is there a specific skill you want to learn? People who have their eye on a specific trade may decide to head for trade school. Plumbers, electricians, and certain technicians are roles that often require a trade school degree. Also known as technical school or vocational school, this is a type of educational path that can start either in secondary or post-secondary education – as in, after high school. It provides the education and skills a person needs to handle the core tasks of a particular and specific job.

Plan How to Finance Your Education

You may need to crunch some numbers to figure out what path makes sense and how it will fit into your schedule. Will you need to work? How many hours? Perhaps you’ll have ten hours leftover for class and homework. Even if you aren’t headed to Harvard, you still may need to consider how to finance your education. How long will it take you to pay for your continuing education? According to, trade schools generally cost between $3,000 and $15,000 for a three-month to eighteen-month degree program.

The bottom line is, everyone needs a plan, and everyone’s plan will be unique to their situation.

If you are going to save up for a four-year college degree, you can start by determining how much student loan debt you can afford to repay. This will help ensure that the total amount of debt, including interest and loan fees, is less than the starting salary you expect to make the first year you graduate. Even if you’re headed to trade school, you may still need a solid plan for how it will be financed. Perhaps there are grants, loans, scholarships, or private student loan programs that can help you out.

Even if you’re not sure where you’re headed, you can begin to create a roadmap for what it will take to pay them back after you graduate.

CFSC Helps Adult Students Create Smart Financial Habits

Some students are opting out of credit cards to get their debt under control so they can start funding their post-high school education. One good way to avoid overspending is by using prepaid debit cards – available at local Currency Exchanges throughout the country.

Your neighborhood Community Financial Service Center (CFSC) can provide a whole range of financial services to help you save and spend wisely – all under one roof. To set up a prepaid debit card or take advantage of our many convenient services, find the nearest CFSC location to you and stop on by!

Recent Posts


Blog Archives