Don't Quit Your Day Job -- Study Part Time
By Susan Aaron, The Learning Coach
September 03, 2008
Less Financial Strain
Paying tuition and other educational expenses is tough. Covering living expenses too is even tougher. Part-time students:
- Don’t have such hefty loans. Working students don’t have to add cost of living to their loan debt. That’s less money to pay back with interest.
- Don’t have to make drastic lifestyle changes. Once you’ve allowed yourself to eat something other than peanut butter sandwiches every night, it’s hard to go back to the student lifestyle.
- Have funds to cover the surprises. Need new software for a statistics class? Need a better computer? Need to attend a conference 3,000 miles away? Unplanned expenses are always a risk when figuring a semester’s finances.
There are loads of tax incentives to support continued education. If you go back to school full-time, however, you won’t have as much income to tax, and therefore less ability to take advantage of tax savings, such as:
- Can reduce the amount of taxes you pay in a year by up to $1,500 during the first two years of study in recognized programs.
- Allows qualified individuals to receive a tax credit for up to 20 percent of the first $10,000 of qualified education expenses for a potential maximum credit of $2,000.
- Work-related educational expenses are not taxed so long as what you are learning supports the work you are currently doing. To earn the deduction you must be working.
Working students have always been a part of the education market, and learning institutions now serve their needs as never before. Night and weekend programs are plentiful, and it’s often the best option — financially and educationally.