Education is vital for the future. It is the foundation from which success and fulfillment can spring from, paving the way for a better job and higher pay. But it is no secret that education can be costly, curtailing a student’s desire to continue to higher education. It’s easy to give up and let that dream go with the prospect of skyrocketing tuition and the burden of student debt on the horizon.
But all is not bleak and blue when it comes to attending college. Many opportunities await students who know where to look and what to look for. Many colleges provide offer attractive perks for savvy students to ease their way into higher education.
Enabling students to maximize the college experience, the perks run the gamut from freebies to discounted tuition fees and free or guaranteed zero added fees. The better news is that these perks are not offered exclusively by traditional brick-and-mortar institutions. Adult, distance learners also get to enjoy these college perks—apart of course from the convenience, flexibility and generally low cost of earning a degree online.
Here are some of the best colleges that offer exciting perks that students can take advantage of, in no particular order.
UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA
Recognized as the best new research campus in 2017, the University of Nebraska in Lincoln is a leading distance learning institution. Its programs cover the fields of education, business, engineering, interior design, merchandising, media studies, and agriculture. The school guarantees that their online students experience the same high-quality education with on-campus learners.
Online students need to obtain the technologies required in this convenient learning method. Needless to say, a laptop is a necessity. To help students scale the challenge of equipment cost and accessibility, the school offers a number of options.
Online students at the University of Nebraska may purchase their laptop through the school’s partner store, the Huckertech, at a discounted price. Students struggling with their finances know too well how big of a help price-offs can be, particularly when it comes to their college needs.
Another low-cost scheme is the 7-day laptop checkout in several school locations, such as the Nebraska Union, East Campus Union, and Henzlik Hall. After seven days, students need to check-in the borrowed equipment and wait for another day before they can check it out again.
WESTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY
Located in the lively city of Bowling Green, Kentucky, Western Kentucky University is a public institution that offers more than a hundred undergraduate programs and more than 70 graduate programs. The school also offers a comprehensive online program with over a hundred degree options, giving students the flexibility they need to advance their education and career opportunities.
For students who cannot afford to shoulder school expenses, there are numerous financial aid options that they can take advantage of, including scholarships, graduate assistantships, student loans, and working on-campus. The university also makes it easier for students to acquire software, hardware, and cellular devices at considerable discounts through its partner stores.
The personal computer purchasing program, for example, let students purchase computers and tablets from Apple and Dell with special discounts not available to the general public.
SAM HOUSTON STATE UNIVERSITY
Having existed for more than 137 years, Sam Houston State University is experienced in preparing students to achieve their dreams. It is found in Huntsville, Texas. Aside from its range of degree programs available on-campus, the university also provides opportunities for distance learning.
It is a leader in online education, offering top-ranked and award-winning degree programs taught by talented and credentialed professors. New online students who struggle to pay their tuition can take advantage of the 60×30 Scholarship available for select degree programs. It entitles qualified applicants for $1,000 worth of scholarship.
Another support that the school provides to students is the Apple in Education and Dell Employee & Education programs that let them purchase technologies and other resources at a discounted price. The school also offers access to Office 365 which they can access by logging in to Microsoft online using their school e-mail address.
DAKOTA STATE UNIVERSITY
Founded in 1881 as a school for teacher education, Dakota State University is now one of the most technologically advanced campuses in the Midwest. The school is located in Madison, South Dakota.
For both its on campus and online programs, the university keeps class sizes small, with the student-faculty ratio at 17:4:1. Dakota State University’s online courses are some of the most convenient, low-cost, and profitable in the country.
At DSU, full-time freshmen students are provided with a new tablet PC as part of the Laptop Program initiative. This device will be used for taking notes, recording audio, and completing assignments.
Situated in Bloomington, Indiana, Indiana University has more than 550 academic programs and over 200 undergraduate majors. It also offers some of the best 100% online degrees, from M.B.A.s to bachelor’s programs.
The university also offers financial aid opportunities for students. The College of Arts and Sciences alone has access to more than 350 scholarships and awards. There are also grants, work-study jobs and students loans available for qualified students.
Aside from that, there are sweet deals available for students. The school has partner stores that give significant discounts to students who wish to purchase hardware devices like tablets and laptops. All Indiana students are also eligible for free software download from Microsoft Office Suite and Adobe Creative Cloud.
NORTHWEST MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY
Established in 1905, Northwest Missouri State University offers 127 undergraduate programs and 40 graduate programs. There are also a number of degrees offered entirely online for those who wish to learn from the comfort of their homes.
Every year, the university receives over $18 million in scholarships and grants. One of them is the American Dream Grant which entitles qualified students for 100% free tuition.
They also have an excellent textbook and laptop rental program that saves students nearly $7,300 throughout their duration of stay at the university. The textbook rental is included in the affordable tuition and fees. Students, whether they are full-time, part-time and live on or off campus are provided with a wireless-ready laptop computer along with free tech support and repair services.
UNIVERSITY OF THE PEOPLE
Recognized as the world’s first non-profit, tuition-free accredited online, American University, the University of the People can be found in Pasadena, California. The school is dedicated to providing access to higher education globally with the help of generous individuals and foundations.
As part of this commitment, the school offers free tuition for selected online degree programs which will help prepare students for the job market. Some of these programs include degrees in Business Administration, Computer Science, Health Sciences, and Education.
By free, it means that the university refrains from charging students for educational instruction, course materials, or annual enrollment. Instead, they are asked for a modest, pre-course assessment fee.
However, those who can’t afford the nominal fee may apply for the numerous available scholarships.
CITY COLLEGE OF SAN FRANCISCO
A public, two-year community college, the City College of San Francisco offer courses in more than 50 academic programs and over 100 professional disciplines. The school provides this opportunity to students who enjoy learning online as well with a variety of classes that they can earn from their homes.
The City College helped alleviate the stress of expensive education by extending a free tuition program for students who have established California residency and live in San Francisco. There are also grants and loans for qualified students to help them lessen the burden of paying college costs.
Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell University is a privately endowed university that operates in partnership with the State University of New York. Aside from its array of undergraduate and graduate programs in a wide range of disciplines, it has several degrees, certificates, and programs that can be earned online as well.
While it is one of the expensive schools in the country, the university has various financial aid programs that help middle to low-income families send their children to college. They have a policy of financial assistance that provides free tuition, room, and board for students whose families make less than $60,000 a year.
The university also offers free online courses for students who wish to explore a variety of fields and expand their knowledge.
One of the world’s leading institutions for education, research, and patient care, Duke University is located in Durham, North Carolina. Apart from its extensive degree program offerings, the university also provides an opportunity for online learning with a range of programs and courses for long-distance learners.
As part of its commitment to financial aid programs that provide access to higher education, there are many financial aid options that students can apply for, from the Financial Aid Award to need-based grants and scholarships. The financial aid scheme helps families earning $60,000 or less.
Duke University also provides Coursera courses that will let aspiring learners earn certificates for free.
Promoting excellent standards teaching, learning, and research, Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States. Its extensive programs on a wide range of disciplines are some of the best, offering students unparalleled experience and training.
The university is dedicated to removing economic barriers through the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative. It expands financial aid to families who earn less than $80,000. Those whose parents make less than $65,000 per year are entitled to full free tuition. Aside from the scholarship funds, other supplemental types of aid include student employment, loans, and outside awards.
The Harvard Extension School opens its doors to let passionate learners take up free courses and nearly 800 for-credit courses at reasonable tuition rates.
As part of the Center for Excellence in Higher Education, Independence University dates back to 1891. Presently, the university specializes in personalized online education. It is comprised of four schools, namely the School of Healthcare, Business, Technology, and Graphic Arts.
Aside from its exceptional faculty and online community support, the school is also known to offer financial aids, grants, scholarships for those who qualify. While the tuition varies by degree program, the university provides resources and tools at no additional cost, from books and supplies, tablet and laptops, and tutoring. Free tablets are offered during the first module while the laptops are given in their fourth.
They call it the Independence University advantage.
ST. MARY’S UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
A private, non-profit university, St. Mary’s University of Minnesota has undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs on offer from several campuses. They also have 14 available online degree programs that let students learn anytime and anywhere.
One of the university’s many perks for online graduate students is the free iPad as part of its commitment to mobile education. Students can use it for nearly all their coursework. It is the school’s way to encourage students in tapping into the world’s most powerful tool – the mobile classroom.
St. Mary’s combines a foundation of values with practical degrees to provide learners with high-quality education on their own terms.
FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY
Making its home in Winter Park, Florida, Full Sail University gives students an array of choices for bachelor’s, associate’s, and master’s degrees from the field of entertainment, media, arts, and technology, both on-campus and online.
Like other universities, Full Sail University offers perks for its students. The school has teamed up with Apple for Project LaunchBox initiative. This program provides every student with a MacBook Pro laptop available at an institutional discount. Aside from that, they are also entitled to receive supplemental pieces of hardware and software. However, this can depend on the degree program that the student is in.
For those who cannot afford the tuition, the school has a dedicated financial aid department that helps students walk through the process. The types of aid include grants, loans, work-study, and scholarships.
SOUTHERN NEW HAMPSHIRE UNIVERSITY
Established in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, and accredited institution offering high-quality programs, from certificate to doctoral degree levels. The school is proud to provide affordable and accessible education, both on-campus and online.
Students are often required to use a laptop for their studies. The university makes it easier for them by running the Laptop Program, an initiative that gives special discounts for students who purchase from the school’s partner brands, Dell and Apple. Along with the discounted laptops, students can also enjoy free tech support and repair, free warranty, and free software.
Online students can benefit from the university’s low tuition rates as well, frozen since 2012. They can also apply for financial aid and seek the help of the Student Financial Services team to be able to develop financially intelligent plans.
While higher education can be costly, many colleges and universities compensate by offering sweet deals and perks that can help students in one way or another. As long as they know where to look and how to turn what they find into their advantage, a degree is possible, even for those who struggle financially.