With tuition skyrocketing and student loan debt sinking graduates, you are smart to have a cost-benefit approach to college education. Much popular advice today claims it is best to go straight to work or start a business rather than invest in years of college. However, when collegians become consumers as well as students, they can cash in on budget tricks and hidden savings to make college affordable.
1. Start College in High School
High school can save you the most money for college.
High school students should enroll in schools with advanced placement courses or community college partnerships so their hard work counts for early college credits. These reduce the number of terms students will spend in college later. Students should research comparable online classes and programs if their high school does not have these benefits.
2. Consider Online Education
Online education allows students to stay home and cut moving, living and traveling costs tremendously.
Skepticism about online education versus traditional schooling is giving way to preference for remote learning. In a recent study of students who mixed face-to-face and online classes, 37% found their online classes superior. Students who really want the college experience can find combination programs with on-campus requirements to supplement online coursework.
3. Keep Tuition In-State
Just being born in the state, or one a college recruits from, drops public university costs by thousands.
Public universities prefer to keep it in the family, with especially low tuition as an incentive for residents to stay and contribute to state economies later. A student may still be in luck if their state system is overcrowded. Some less-populated state university systems are taking others’ overflow, at the same in-state tuition rates they would offer natives.
4. Keep It To Used and Online Books
An empty bookshelf can save or make you thousands throughout your college education.
The fastest way to reduce college education costs is to sell textbooks and download books. Books are also very heavy and expensive to move from the dorm, to apartments, to finally home. Unless you are an English major or want to show off an impressive library one day, pick a few favorite books to keep and sell the rest.
5. Live Off-Campus With Roommates
The largest items on a college bill today could be the campus dorm and dining hall.
Independent, financially responsible students may find more money in the bank when they only pay tuition. Teaming with other budget-conscious students to divide an apartment will, at the least, help everyone’s money go towards more than a skinny bed in a closet-sized room.
- Exercise caution and only rent secured buildings at urban colleges or campuses in high crime areas.
- Be friends with roommates, but keep it business and ask all tenants to sign the lease for equal liabilities.
College is only two to four years, not a lifetime, to stick to a tight budget and sacrifice to cover costs. The reward will be your gateway to meet new friends for life, turn a passion into a specialty and increase your lifetime earnings tremendously.