Have a child heading back to college, or going for the first time? Try these strategies to reduce the cost of college.
Ways to Reduce the Cost of College
College is right around the corner for many students–is it for yours? Now is the time when college students and their parents are wondering how they will afford something as expensive as college. If you find yourself in this boat, read on to find out several ways you can spend less.
Live at Home
As much as your college student may be dying to get out of the house and on their own, they can save a ton of money by living at home. The cost of living in a dorm and buying a meal plan can be incredibly expensive. This is one way to reduce the cost of college, but be sure to use that time towards encouraging independence for a time when your child moves out.
Go to a Community College
If you’re at all familiar with college, you are probably really sick of hearing this statement. However, the reason people keep saying it, it's true! By doing your first two years of school at a community college and transferring to a university, your college student can save thousands (via USNews) on tuition.
In many parts of the country, including here in Northern Virginia, successfully completing those two years guarantees your admission at a state or private university that participates in the transfer program.
Make Your Own Meals
The cost of a meal plan at a college can be very expensive. One of the best ways to reduce the cost of college is to make your own meals. This is why living at home can really come in handy.
Also, living in an apartment with roommates is also another way a college student can make their own meals/save money, as long as they're following a food budget. This is one of the reasons I'm teaching my kids to cook now, so that they will know how to prepare frugal and healthy meals when they're on their own.
Skip the Car
Although having a car on campus is nice, it can also get really expensive. Between car insurance, gas, parking passes, and making sure nothing happens to it, cars can get really pricey. As a college student, doing everything within walking distance makes sense. Of course, this tip only makes sense if the person is not living on campus. You would need a car if you’re living at home and working off campus.
Learn How to Budget
One of the biggest issues with being a college student is the freedom. There is so much freedom that it can be overwhelming. Financially, there are a lot of choices and decisions to be made and sometimes college students don’t have the tools they need to make budgeting a reality.
One of the biggest ways a college student can reduce the cost of college is by learning how to budget. Avoiding those huge financial mistakes the first time around is a great way to reduce the overall cost of college, which sets them up for a positive financial future.
Avoid College Loans
If you really want to reduce the cost of college, it’s important to research grants and scholarships as much as possible. College loans may be a short term answer to paying for college, but they will also cost the most. Always use college loans as a last resort when it comes to paying for college. If you as the parents have excellent credit, consider using private student loans to save.
Whether you’re the parent of a college student or the college student, it’s important to think twice about each financial decision you make in college. These tips will help you to reduce the cost of college overall.
What tips would you add to reduce the cost of college?
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