With three teens, I'm always looking for ways to save right now. I'm also thinking ahead–to having them all in college at the same time–and asking friends and neighbors about ways to save money on college expenses.
College can cost as much as some houses. It’s no wonder people are paying student loans well into their 30s or 40s. That's what happened to us–we were 40 before we paid it all off!
It doesn’t have to be this way. There are ways to cut the cost of college. Give these strategies a try.
How to Save Money on College Expenses
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Consider Dual Enrollment
Dual enrollment allows your child to earn college credits while in high school. I did this! I took an American Literature class once a week at our local community college. I was able to use that as a credit towards my general education requirements.
In most cases, taking a class this way is much less expensive than when taken freshman year at a university. Besides saving you money, this may also help your student to earn their degree more quickly.
Attend Community College for Core Courses
There are courses that are required for almost all degrees. Freshman writing, history, basic math and some languages are courses that make up the general requirements at colleges and universities, no matter which major you choose.
Some community college systems–such as ours here in Northern Virginia–offer a transfer program with guaranteed admission to a 4-year institution. You take your general classes over two years. Then you transfer those credits to a college or university to complete the requirements for your degree.
Apply for Scholarships and Grants
There are so many scholarships available to students nowadays! Your child doesn’t have to be an honor student to receive scholarships or grants.
Visit your high school advisor or the financial aid department of your college and have your child apply for any scholarships and grants he qualifies for. Also, don’t limit the hunt to the financial aid department. Many businesses offer scholarships, and there are so many available online.
Take Online Classes
Taking online classes can save a lot of money. It prevents the need to travel to the campus, the need to live on campus, etc.
It may also gives your student the freedom to work without the need for flexible hours. Plus, your child will be able to work on assignments on their own schedule.
Buy Used Textbooks
New textbooks can cost hundreds of dollars. Used textbooks, on the other hand, can cost a small fraction of that.
Get the ISBN needed for each course and search online. You may be able to save even more buying used textbooks on Amazon. Another great tip is to rent textbooks.
Shop Elsewhere for School Supplies
Last, but not least, it may be convenient to shop for school supplies at the campus bookstore, but it’s going to cost you. The prices are absolutely outrageous!
Instead, shop your favorite big box store. Places like Target have everything you may need for much less.
College can be expensive, but there are ways to save money. From school supplies to textbooks to tuition, you can reduce the cost of college.
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