5 Ways to Get a College Degree Living in a Rural Area

Classes start at our local community college next week... even though we live in the remote and wild west, we a lucky here in Rangely, Colorado to have access to high quality higher education right here in town (and FREE, keep reading!.) There are many advantages to living in a rural area, however, easy access to a college education can often seem like it's not one of them. Compared to cities, rural areas have fewer schools, making it harder to get a secondary education. Even if you don't live in Northwest Colorado, there are actually plenty of options available to you to get a college degree living in a rural area, such as online universities and local community colleges.

If you ARE fortunate enough to live in Rangely or Craig, Colorado, you have easy access to Colorado Northwestern Community College. Residents of Rio Blanco and Moffat counties are particularly fortunate. The local college districts supporting CNCC have created scholarships designed specifically for permanent residents. The Rangely Junior College District offers a 100% tuition buy-down for residents of western Rio Blanco County. The Moffat County Board offers a 50% tuition buy down.  Even if you don't hail from Northwest Colorado, programs like the Western Undergraduate Exchange allow residents of other areas of the Wild and Remote West  to take advantage of reduced tuition at CNCC.

Other advantages that CNCC offers include access to the state's online college system, Colorado Community College Online, in addition students in high school benefit from the ability to take college courses long before entering their freshmen year. Rangely offers dual enrollment for students who want to earn college credit early, or want a challenge while still i high school. There are great benefits in this program; one of those benefits include reduced tuition cost as students enter college. 

If living in the Wild and Remote West ain't your cup of joe, there are a lot of other options! In this guide, we will take you through some of your college options to help you choose the best one that suits your needs.

1. Online Universities

What's better than going to school in your pajamas? The online university isn't only more accessible to attend, but it's also cheaper than most schools since you do it right from home. Plus, they operate just like any other typical school and offer a wide variety of degrees to choose. Many students find online universities to be more comfortable to attend since they can do all their coursework from their bedroom. However, this often depends on what kind of degree program you want to complete.

2. Invest in Scholarships

Scholarships are simply the easiest way to reduce your college debt and be recognized by your school. Many scholarships are offered by the college you attend, and usually only asks for a health grade point average and an essay based on a given question or theme. However, if you submit a few scholarship applications, you can nearly go to college for free. In fact, residents of Rangely, Colorado CAN attend college for free at Colorado Northwestern Community College thanks to a special program for permanent residents. Many other scholarships are available at CNCC as well! Since college is never inexpensive, this can be a great way to cut down on student loans and lessen your likelihood of needing to ask for further money from the government.

3. Take Advantage of Work-Study Programs

Work study programs allow undergraduate or graduate students with financial need to take on part-time jobs provided by the federal work-study program. However, this helps students earn money to pay for education, dorms, food, and school materials. Fortunately, the program focuses on work or service based on the student's course of study in a means to give them more experience in the field.

4. Use Federal Grants

Federal grants are money or aid awarded to a student and provided by the United States Government. This aid money either covers a student's tuition or at least part of it. However, it can also help pay for school expenses, such as room and board, food, books, and other materials. Grants aren't only available from the government; they're also offered from non-profits, foundations, corporations, etc. However, federal grants are always issued by the federal government to students in need.

5. Attend a Nearby Community College

If you're not interested in attending an online university, you should consider applying to attend a local community college. Although these schools don't have the luxury of going to college in your pajamas, you can take classes with friends and local community members. Not to mention, going to a community college is affordable, which is why most Americans do so. If you're unsure what field of study you want to learn, going to a community college first to see what options are available and try out a few classes before going to a big-time university is always a wise idea. Nevertheless, if you live in a rural area, attending a nearby community college is a great way to get a college degree.

Hopefully, with the help of this guide, you could learn that if you are fortunate enough to live in a rural area, there are plenty of options open to you for a high quality education. From attending online universities to work-study programs and federal aid grants, you'll soon be able to start your journey on secondary education. So, what are you waiting for? It's time to get out there and start applying for colleges and student aid today!


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