Higher education is an investment which requires a lot of time and money to achieve.  If you do it right, you will earn more than just a diploma.  You will learn how to think critically, to problem solve, and to successfully work in a variety of jobs. According to the 2010 U.S. Census data the average person with a bachelor's degree will earn more than twice the income of those without a bachelor's degree during their lifetime.

Although the future with a bachelor's degree is promising, it is still good to consider how you can minimize your investment while maximizing your return (ROI if you plan to major in business).  Whether it is your own money, mom and dad's money, the Federal Government's money, the State of Indiana's money, IWU's money, or money from some other benefactor; someone (or maybe many) are helping you invest in your future.  At some point there is a limit to the amount of resources that will be available to you, so it is important that you use your resources wisely and efficiently.

Below are a few tips to help you get the most value out of your investment:

  1. Take and complete 15-16 credits each semester.  Tuition cost is the same for 12-16 credit hours.  If you only take 12 credits each semester it will take 5 years to earn a 4 -year degree.
  2. If you receive grants from the State of Indiana, they limit the amount of money you will receive if you do not complete at least 30 credits each year and they will increase your grant if you complete at least 39 credits per year (the increase for 39 credits does not apply to 21st Century Scholars).
  3. Complete all courses that you begin.  Once you have paid for the course (after drop/add period is over), take advantage of the opportunity and be sure you complete the coursework and earn your credit.
  4. If you took dual enrollment or AP (Advanced Placement) courses in high school, be sure you have those credits transferred to Indiana Wesleyan - if you've paid for credits once there is no need to pay for them again.
  5. Indiana Wesleyan offers summer courses both on campus and on-line.  Many of our students take advantage of these courses to earn needed credits and to earn their degree as quickly as possible.  The online summer courses are also significantly discounted. 
  6. Financial aid may be available if you take at least six hours during the summer - check with your financial aid counselor before committing to summer coursework that you will not be able to afford without financial aid assistance.
  7. After enrolling, talk to your academic advisor about CLEP (College Level Examination Placement).  Some students find this is an inexpensive way to earn general education or elective credits.
  8. Be willing to make some personal sacrifices - anything you can do to eliminate or reduce the amount of student loans you take as an undergraduate will save you significant money once you enter repayment.  If you find a way to put $25 extra dollars toward your tuition every month, that will become $300 in a year and $1200 over the course of your four years.  Paying that $1200 as a student rather than in a loan will save you over $200 in interest on a 10 year repayment.  Consider what you can live without to put more money towards your tuition.

Imagine if you combined many of these recommendations and graduated in three and half years instead of four.  You would potentially save over $15,000 - not to mention you could enter the job market six months before your classmates.  Education is not a race, but there is value in being efficient.

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