While attending a college or university may be expensive, there are several different ways you can reduce the overall cost of higher education.
Choose an educational institution wisely
- Plan ahead
- Evaluate the costs of public vs. private, two-year vs. four-year, in-state vs. out-of-state schools
- Review the net price calculator each school should provide on their website
- Take general education classes at a local state or community college
- If you know the four-year college or university you plan to attend later, make sure they will recognize the credits you plan to take.
- Take dual-credit courses while in high school
- Take summer classes
- Research online schools
- Can possibly alleviate travel, books, and supplies expenses, compared to traditional schools
- Research the following for schools you are considering:
- Graduation rates
- Job placement rates
- Average amount of student loans students borrowed to finish their programs
Plan how you will pay for college
There are several options available that will vary based on your unique situation, but it is important to learn all you can.
- Save for college
- Use education loyalty and affinity programs
- Explore financial aid options
- Claim tax credits and deductions for education
Plan to graduate on time (within four years)
- Time is money - the longer you take to obtain a degree, the higher the cost in tuition, time, and resources, along with a delay in earning power. Work with your academic advisor to plan out your course schedule with graduating within four years as the end goal.
- Research schools that offer accelerated programs - students should seek programs of study that will allow degree attainment in the shortest time possible.
Take accelerated coursework/curriculum
- Advanced Placement classes prepare students with the possibility of earning academic scholarships and specific scholarships in certain fields of study: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
- College Level Examinations Programs (CLEP) allows students to earn credit if they demonstrate proficiency in college courses.
- International Baccalaureate degrees could possible equate to college credit
Work outside of the classroom
- Helps build professional network and professional references
- Helps earn money for college expenses
- Federal work-study programs
- Part-time employment
- Summer jobs
- Provides opportunities for full-time employment after graduation
- Helps prioritize your time for classes, studying, and free time
Develop a spending plan
Develop a spending plan, or budget, and develop long-term and short-term goals for the money that you earn or any excess financial aid funds that may be released to you.