Ways to Cut the Cost of College

It’s not a secret that college is expensive. With raising tuition costs, expensive textbooks, and the general cost of living, the costs really add up quickly. If you’re looking for ways to help minimize that cost, read on to see if any of these tips can help you save some cash when it comes to the cost of college.    

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Ways to Cut the Cost of College

3 Nov 2017

Ways to Cut the Cost of College

It’s not a secret that college is expensive. With raising tuition costs, expensive textbooks, and the general cost of living, the costs really add up quickly. If you’re looking for ways to help minimize that cost, read on to see if any of these tips can help you save some cash when it comes to the cost of college.  

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Take AP or Dual Credit courses in high school

Taking AP or Dual Credit courses in high school not only helps you save money on tuition costs, but they also help you graduate faster. These courses allow you to receive college credit while still in high school for a dramatically lower cost. Many schools offer enough courses to fulfill at least one semester of college! This helps bring the cost down and makes graduating within 4 years (or less) easier. Make sure to check with teachers for stipulations; some courses may require a minimum ACT/SAT score to enroll or may depend on a certain final test score to receive credit.

Go to school in-state

You may end up paying $10,000-$20,000 more if you choose to attend school out-of-state.

The difference between the cost of going to an in-state school versus an out-of-state school can be staggering. You may end up paying $10,000-$20,000 more if you choose to attend school out-of-state.

This is because public schools are funded in part by state taxes, leading to a higher expense for those attending from out-of-state. If you want to save a ton in the long run, try picking a school within your state to attend. Can’t let go of going to your out-of-state dream school? Try applying for residency or getting an out-of-state tuition waiver.

Live off-campus or at home

Generally speaking, living off-campus in an apartment and purchasing your own groceries is less expensive than living in a dorm and purchasing a meal plan. You have more flexibility in pricing and can also have more roommates in an apartment, helping lower the cost. Many cities have college-friendly apartments that include the cost of utilities and internet, provide school shuttles, and have apartment-run activities, making them competitive against dorm living. Trying to figure out what the best option is for you? Try out this calculator to compare the costs of living at home, on, and off campus to help you compare the costs.

Go to community college the first two years

A great way to help lower the cost of higher education is by attending a community college for the first two years for general education courses. The price of community college can be up to half the cost of public school or even more compared to a private university. Attending a community college may also mean you can live at home, helping bring down the cost even more. If you plan on attending a community college, make sure to check on degree and class requirements at the school you plan on transferring to so you don’t end up needing to take extra or repeat courses once you transfer.

What to check out next: all of our best college blog posts, all in one place! 

You can cut back on the cost of college when you use some of the strategies above. Want even more college info? Get great college planning tips here or find some helpful resources from the North Alabama Center for Educational Excellence.

This article was adapted from our College Financing 101 seminar. See all seminars here.

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