Coping with unemployment can be tough, but many people make the best of being out of work by going back to school to gain new knowledge and skills that will make them more marketable in the future. Of course, you don’t want to strain your budget with a high tuition cost when you’re already not making the money you used to. Fortunately, getting a great education doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money. Here are three tips you can use to put a college education financially within reach when you’re unemployed.

1. Study Online

Did you know that 30 percent of distance learning students choose to study online because the total cost of their education is lower? At least, that’s what EdTech magazine reported upon researching who the average online college students are and why they chose an online education.

At some schools, students save on the cost of tuition itself by studying online. At others, students save money indirectly by not having to commute to campus or pay for high-priced room and board through the school. Plus, the flexibility of online classes means that you can still complete your courses even if you have family obligations that are keeping you out of work, or if you find a temporary job while working toward your degree.

To maximize your savings, make sure you either choose an online school in your state or one that doesn’t charge out-of-state tuition rates to distance learning students. Find out what fees online students are responsible for paying, including whether there are any specific technology or distance learning fees that will apply to your education.

2. Choose an Affordable School

You could spend upwards of a hundred thousand dollars earning your degree, but you don’t have to. Tuition rates vary greatly between schools, and a higher price tag doesn’t necessarily indicate a better education.

When you choose an affordable online college you could earn your degree for as little as a couple hundred dollars per credit or a few thousand dollars per year. Even if money is a little tight right now, this is a small price to pay for the education you need to make the future more fulfilling and more profitable. Besides, there is always federal financial aid available to students who need it.

3. Apply for Scholarships

Another way to make the cost of your education cheaper is to find merit-based scholarships through your school or through third parties. Unlike loans, money you receive in scholarships doesn’t have to be repaid.

Plenty of schools, businesses and nonprofit foundations and organizations sponsor scholarships of at least a few hundred to $1,000 dollars. Some scholarships are tailored to specific majors, hobbies and interests or demographics, so make sure you’re looking for any opportunity that could apply to you. Applying to a number of scholarships can be time-consuming, but the payoff is worthwhile.

Also see:

Top 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges