How to Get a College Education for (Almost) Free
Does a college education really make sense today? Is the investment of time and tens or even hundreds of thousand of dollars on a college or university degree worth what we get in return?
A friend of mine and fellow blogger, Joe Lalonde, recently wrote a blog post outlining the competitive advantage an employer could have by reimbursing their employees for their schooling. Here's a direct link to that post.
In response to his post, I asked if we needed a college education at all, or if we should look at a free path. I'll let you decide.
While I do have a college education and a degree, I must question whether the amount of debt students take on in order to get the degree is worth the financial gains we expect by having it.
So I ask you,
Does paying thousands of dollars for a degree sound like a good idea when most of the world's richest people became so without schooling?
Let me first say that I'm a huge fan of education, learning, reading and improving. What I'm not a fan of is accepting a potentially life-long debt in order to have initials at the end of my name.
To be completely open and honest, I have to divulge that I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Baylor University. I'm extremely proud of what I accomplished and learned while in school.
This post is not about the value of a college degree.
This post is about how you can educate yourself and get a college education for (almost) free.
The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender – Proverbs 22:7
Some people will spend years of their life and $60,000 or more for a master's degree so that they earn an additional $3,000-$5,000 per year.
Does that math make sense?
If you got an extra $5k added to your paycheck, which sounds like a lot, it would be twelve years before you broke even. That math doesn't even allow for taxes or interest rates on the loan.
The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education – Albert Einstein
I'm in agreement with Einstein; we shouldn't let our schooling interfere with our education. As you may know, I'm a huge fan of reading. I even wrote a blog post about how your bookshelf will dictate what kind of person you are or will become.
What you know today is not enough to get you where you need to be tomorrow – Millionaire Fastlane
To help you get a college education for (almost) free, I thought I would share these awesome resources with you.
I've compiled a list of awesome resources on my EmpoweredU page. From books to blogs, this page is a repository for everything I'm doing to educate myself.
Last year alone I read more than I read during the 4.5 years it took me to get a degree, and probably more than I read getting my high school diploma too. If you buy the books from my page, I'll also get an affiliate commission from Amazon. It doesn't cost you anything and helps me keep writing!
Here are a few other helpful Amazon links:
- Amazon Textbooks
- Amazon Best Sellers in Business & Investing
- Amazon Best Sellers in Science & Math
- Amazon Best Sellers in Health, Fitness & Dieting
Want to listen to entrepreneurs talk about business? iTunes has it.
Interested in listening to Harvard professors teach about physics and chemistry? iTunes has it.
If you have iTunes installed on the computer you're reading this on, check out:
- iTunes U | Colleges & Universities
- iTunes U | Beyond Campus (for museums etc.)
- Or the Podcasts section where you can listen to discussions on almost any topic. I recommend Stitcher if you're an Android user.
You could watch well over 120 hours (the average number of hours to get a college degree) of lectures online via the Universities section of YouTube.
If you're still under the impression that YouTube is only good for cat videos and skateboarding bloopers, it's time to update your way of thinking.
I even have a growing list of helpful videos on my channel!
When was the last time you went to a library? For me, it's been about, oh, eight years. But if you're looking for an (almost) free college education, look no further than your local library.
Education is free for your consumption. Infinite knowledge is at your fingertips and the only thing preventing you from getting it is you. Yes, YOU. Turn off the TV, pick up a book and read it – Millionaire Fastlane
It may smell a little weird and be filled with antiques like VHS tapes and CDs, but a library is an enormous asset that is going out of style fast. Additionally, many libraries have loaner programs for ebooks. I don't have any personal experience with that, but it's worth checking out.
Just do a Google search for “library” and check it out.
In The Millionaire Fastlane, which I highly recommend, MJ DeMarco talks about what he calls “life university.”
After doing his research, he agreed with me that “I don't have time” is one of the most common, and most ridiculous, excuses you could have.
If you've ever said, “I don't have enough time,” you might like DeMarco's “life university.”
Time isn't a commodity, something you pass around like a cake.
Time is the substance of life.
When anyone asks you to give your time,
they're really asking for a chunk of your life – Antoinette Bosco
I agree with MJ when he says, “while time might be linear, it can be manipulated by performing double-duty on one time block.” You can “maximize time and maximize [your] wealth” if you “make life your university.”
Here are a few ways we can do that:
Driving University – With Audible audiobooks and podcasts the possibilities for learning are limitless. If you commute more than 5 minutes like I do, you should be turning that time into knowledge gold.
Exercise University – Same thing as above but you can add in books. “In between sets, on the treadmill, or on the stationary bike, exercise is transformed into education.”
Waiting University – Waiting time shouldn't be wasted time. Always carry a book with you when you go to the doctor, auto-repair shop, or anywhere else there is a possibility of you waiting. Don't want to carry a book? Get the Kindle app.
Toilet University – “Never throne without reading something of educational value.” I have nothing to add to that…
Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you – Carl Sandburg
There you have it! These are some really great resources to help you get a college education for (almost) free. Remember, I said education, not a degree.
A degree is something you hang on your wall. An education is something you carry for a lifetime! (TWEET THAT!)
and mostly just for fun, here are some cool quotes about money, education, and success:
Try not to become a man of success, but a man of value – Albert Einstein
Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school – Albert Einstein
Any place that anyone can learn something useful from someone with experience is an educational institution – Al Capp
Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other – John F. Kennedy
Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn – Benjamin Franklin
The things that have been most valuable to me I did not learn in school – Will Smith
It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them – Leo Buscaglia
A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
You don't learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over – Richard Branson
Learning is the beginning of wealth. Learning is the beginning of health. Learning is the beginning of spirituality. Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins – Jim Rohn
Question: Do you think a college degree is worth it? Do you have other hidden resources you'd add to this list? Let me know, and share your ideas in the comment section below by clicking here!