How to Keep Your Costs Low While Studying for a Criminal Justice Degree

Getting a degree in criminal justice Degree or another relevant field can be the first step in your career path to working in the police, as a crime scene investigator, or in one of the many other law enforcement and criminal justice careers that are required today to keep communities safe and society running smoothly. But no matter what your ultimate goals are when it comes to your future career in criminal justice, the fact is that getting any degree can be expensive today. Tuition fees are at an all-time high and American graduates are in higher amounts of student debt than ever before.

The good news is that you don’t have to get into crippling debt in order to get your criminal justice degree and start the career of your dreams. Today, there are several options to consider where you can get help with your tuition fees or embark on a more flexible degree option that will have lower associated costs compared to others. In addition, many jobs in the criminal justice system have alternative entry programs such as on-the-job training and apprenticeships that you might want to consider as an alternative. Here are some of the best ways to save money while studying for your criminal justice degree.

Study Online:

Online study has become the norm today thanks to the COVID19 pandemic. Many schools have moved their programs online in order to keep students safe and healthy by allowing them to easily study from home. However, an online study has been around for much longer than the coronavirus and you can get an associates in criminal justice from Central Christian University, a school that’s got a lot of experience with offering online and distance learning. While you may not be able to expect lower tuition fees from studying for your criminal justice system online, one of the main financial benefits of this type of learning is that you will usually end up spending less as a result. All of the things that students need money for when getting their degree like commuting to campus, purchasing food on-campus, and paying for a parking space are no longer required when you’re able to study from the comfort of your own home.

Work While Studying:

Another main benefit of studying for your criminal justice degree online is that it’s much easier to do this while you’re working, which can significantly reduce the opportunity cost that often comes with changing your career when you’re already working full-time. If you currently have a full-time job and commitments to uphold, it might seem impossible to think about embarking on a criminal justice degree right now. However, studying online is much more flexible, with many programs allowing you to decide when the best time for you to study will be. As a result, it can be easier to continue working full-time while getting your degree, making it possible for you to cover some of the additional expenses without borrowing money and helping you avoid losing out on earnings while you study.

Apply for Scholarships:

Scholarships are available for certain students who want to study for a criminal justice degree and get into this career field. You can find scholarships for various criteria including if you are the first person in your family to go to college for a degree, if you come from a disadvantaged background, or if you meet certain demographic criteria. Other scholarships are also provided based on your grades in high school or other learning establishments that you have attended. You can get scholarships that will cover all of your tuition fees or part of them.

Scholarships are more likely to be available for undergraduate level students, although they are sometimes accessible to students at the master’s level too. If you want to try and get a scholarship to help with the cost of getting your degree in criminal justice, it’s important to be proactive when it comes to looking for suitable scholarship programs and apply as early as possible since they are often awarded on a first-come-first-serve basis to students who meet the criteria.

Employer Study Support Programs:

If you are currently working in the criminal justice system and want to improve your education and chance to further your career with a degree in criminal justice, your employer might be able to support you financially with the cost of tuition and other associated expenses, allowing you to save money on the overall cost of getting your degree.

More and more employers are realizing the benefits of offering this type of benefit to their employees, as it can be a win-win situation. Not only do you get to further your career without spending as much or getting into as much debt, but your employer will also benefit from a more highly-educated workforce and the financial benefits that come from being better able to promote from within rather than hiring from outside the company.

Study Locally:

If the idea of attending school online isn’t appealing to you, studying locally could be an ideal way to reduce your costs when getting your criminal justice degree. Local colleges might have more scholarships and other financial assistance programs available for students who are from the immediate area, and there will be fewer associated expenses since you won’t be required to relocate so that you can attend college and your commute will be shorter.

Many colleges have cycle programs that you might be able to take advantage of to save even more money and keep your costs low when commuting. In addition to this, if you are currently working and want to continue with part-time hours while you are studying, staying local can make the situation easier when it comes to keeping your current job and helping you avoid a period of time where you are looking for work to support yourself.

Saving on the Associated Expenses of College:

While tuition fees are often an expense that you simply cannot get away from no matter how you choose to get your criminal justice degree, there are various expenses that are associated with being a student that you can pay more attention to. Students who manage to save money while getting their degree often look at these common factors and come up with different ways to spend less on each of them.


Commuting to classes might be a serious expense for you, which is why it’s always a good idea to choose a college that is located locally. If you can cycle or walk to classes, you’re going to save a significant amount of money on getting around. Even better, studying online means that your longest commute is going to be between the two furthest away rooms in your home.


Textbooks often make up a huge expense when you’re at college and studying for a degree in criminal justice is no different. The good news is that there are several things that students can do to keep their costs low in this area. If you are studying online, many of the textbooks that are required will be provided to you in the form of eBooks.

If you need to buy books, it’s always worth looking for an eBook or online version first since they are typically much cheaper to download compared to buying the hardback or paperback version. If no digital versions are available, it’s worth joining student book swap or bookselling groups where you can find books from other students at a reduced rate compared to buying brand-new ones.


Depending on the type of criminal justice degree that you are studying, you may be required to get some on-the-job experience to help prepare you for the hands-on side of your future career. In some cases, you might be required to get a uniform to wear for this work. If your uniform is something that you are free to purchase from anywhere as long as it meets certain requirements, there are several things that you can do to keep your costs low.

For example, shopping second-hand can often pay off since many students who’ve already done the experience and no longer need the uniform might be willing to sell it at a cheaper price. If you’re buying brand new, there are plenty of stores that offer student discounts that are worth checking out.


Today, whether you are planning to study online or on-campus, you’re going to need some gadgets to get the work done. A laptop is usually the minimum requirement when you are studying for a degree as you’ll need it to access online learning materials and submit your work. Tech is certainly not always cheap to get hold of, and many students might not want to get a very cheap device that isn’t likely to last them throughout their degree. Again, shopping second-hand can be an ideal choice here as you can often find excellent tech products for sale on sites like eBay and Facebook Marketplace at much cheaper prices compared to brand-new ones.

Refurbished tech is also worth considering; these are devices that have been used but restored to almost brand-new condition by the manufacturer or a trusted refurbishing retailer. Due to the fact that they’re not brand new, they are often much cheaper and the best way to get a device that you trust with a warranty attached at a fraction of the price. Even better is that you can often use your student discount at these retailers to get an even lower price.


If you are living alone on one income, accommodation can get very pricey when you’re studying full-time for a criminal justice degree. Moving back with your parents might be an option if you want somewhere that you can live for minimal costs, but if that isn’t possible, a student house share might be a good choice for you. You can live in a student house share whether you are studying on-campus or online, but since they are often located close to campus, they tend to be more popular with traditional classroom-based students. Splitting the living expenses with other people can make them much easier to manage and you might get to make some new close friends in the process.

Other Bills:

Bills don’t go away when you are a student and chances are that you might have things to pay for like a cell phone plan, credit card bills, and other expenses. The best way to handle this is by paying as much debt down as possible before you enroll in your college degree in criminal justice to ensure that it’s not affecting you so much while you are studying.

You may want to consider switching to a cheaper smartphone plan and going through your expenses carefully before you start studying to see if there’s anything you can reduce or cut. Gym memberships, for example, might not be necessary for you when you are studying if you are planning to live close to campus and will have access to the student gym facilities. 

Everyday Shopping:

Whether it’s food, new clothes, travel expenses, or things for the home, the cost of everyday shopping can quickly add up when you’re on a student budget. Along with shopping around for the best deals and shopping at discount retailers wherever you can to get more for your money, it’s also worth considering signing up for student discount programs.

Make sure to get your student ID card as soon as possible so that you can start presenting it in stores that offer a student discount offer on their goods. You can also find apps and sites to sign up to where you can get promotional codes to enter into the checkout when you’re buying online to take advantage of the student discount on offer.

Studying for a criminal justice degree can be the first real step towards your dream career – but it can also get expensive. Keep the above tips in mind to keep costs low for tuition and associated expenses when getting your degree.

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