How to Reduce (or eliminate) the Cost of a College Education

HOW TO REDUCE THE COST OF A COLLEGE EDUCATION

The cost of college education has increased significantly in recent years!  You can certainly take out loans either through our government or through a bank.  You will need to go to https://studentaid.ed.gov to understand what types of loans are available and how much you may be able to borrow.  The interest rate is generally lower here than if you got a loan from a bank and you don’t need a credit check or a cosigner for these loans.  You don’t have to begin paying off student loans until after you leave college or drop below half-time enrollment so these loans are a decent option.

The problem is that many students are coming out of school with huge college debt which takes them a great many years to pay off!  Here are some ways to help reduce the debt you have to pay back!

 

  1. Do exceptionally well and high school and you can apply for all sorts of scholarships. Fastwe.com hosts more than 1.5 million scholarships!  You can also find them through Niche.com, scholarships.com, CollegeNet.com and Chegg.  Consult with your high school’s guidance counselor, they can generally help you with finding local scholarships and detail what the best ones for you might be.
  2. Work through high school and save toward your college expenses.  This is what I did when I was in high school.  I worked after school two days a week as well as Saturdays and summers from age 15.5 until I went to college at 18.  I was able to pay for half of my tuition this way! (this was back in 1981)
  3. Go to Community College your first two years of your four-year degree.  Community colleges are quite a bit less expensive than four-year colleges. Here in NH, you would pay about $4800 for a semester at a community college.  At UNH you would pay 17,624 for the same period (and that does NOT include room and board).  Yes, a huge difference.  Obviously, it is important to choose your college wisely!  You can get an associates degree in Business, Nursing, Liberal Arts, Life Sciences and then continue on in the four-year school after completing your degree.  In this example, you would have saved yourself $25648 in tuition costs!  That’s not small change.
  4. Live at home and commute to school.  Room and board are expensive.  At UNH it is more than 10K per semester!  If there is a good local college and you have a car or bus transportation I highly recommend commuting to reduce costs. wp-1487100112520.jpg
  5. Work through school.  There are work-study programs available to you at most colleges and this can help to reduce your tuition expenses and give you some much-needed cash in your pocket.  You could also choose to work a full or part-time position and attend college online.  You could pay for a great many of your expenses and some tuition in this way.  If you still lived at home and did not have to pay rent this may be a good way to reduce what debt you may owe when graduating. You will be offered monies over and above your tuition costs when you apply for federal loans. If you can pay those expenses yourself and you don’t need those funds it’s best not to take advantage of that.  It will add a great deal to the total amount you will need to pay off after college. Being responsible with what you do borrow, if you don’t need it then don’t get it. Buy used books if you can, this too will help cut costs. There are “work” colleges available.  These colleges require that you must work 10-15 hours a week in exchange for free or reduced tuition. The seven work colleges in the U.S. are: College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, MO; Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, KY; Berea College in Berea, KY;   Ecclesia College in Springdale, Arkansas, Sterling College in Craftsbury Common, VT; Blackburn College in Carlinville, IL and Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC.
  6. Find an employer that offers a college tuition reimbursement program.  These programs are different from employer to employer.  You will want to visit the Human Resources office to get information on how the program at your workplace works. Some programs will allow you to pursue any degree you like and others will require it be related to your work at the company.  Often a grade point average will need to be at a certain level and you may have to be at the company a certain length of time before you can take advantage of this benefit.  It’s best to get all of the details as to how this benefit would work.
  7. Go to a “no tuition” college.  Yes, there are such things.  Barclay college a four-year bible college provides a tuition scholarship to every student who enrolls on its Kansas campus.  The Airforce, Cost Guard, and Naval academies do no charge tuition! http://www.thebestschools.org/magazine/tuition-free-colleges/
  8. Enroll in the military. The Military’s Tuition Assistance program provides service members the ability to obtain a college degree. It would pay for 100% of the cost of tuition.  You can read the full details here: http://todaysmilitary.com/living/paying-for-college
  9. Go overseas.  Many countries now provide a college education at no cost for all college students!  France, Norway, and Germany all have programs like this.  There is obviously still a large cost for travel and living expenses but students may find that those costs are still less than tuition, as well as room and board at colleges in the US.
  10. When you graduate live at home for a couple years and pay down your debt while you have less in expenses.  If your parents are good with this plan it can help you to entirely pay off your debt before moving out on your own.
  11. Grants.  When you fill out your FASFA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) you may find that you qualify for grants for your college education.  These are monies you do NOT have to pay back and help significantly in reducing your college debt.
  12. Earn a degree in an accelerated program. In this type of program, you would earn your degree in three years instead of four. This can be a great cost saver if you can manage the workload.
  13. Don’t go to college. There are many options for learning a trade without incurring the cost of college and still end up with a well-paying job. JobCorps provides training for people ages 16-24 in many different areas including Advanced Manufacturing, Welding, Clinical Medical Assistant, Electrical, Robotics, Computer Aided Design and the list goes on.  Each state has different types of programs available. They will even help you finish your high school education if need be. There are any number of apprenticeship programs which can be found in most states. This site is a good resource for you to find what might be available in your area: https://www.dol.gov/apprenticeship/toolkit/models-build.htm Many employers offer on the job training for positions where you can learn a good job that will provide a good working wage.  Some examples are Electrical power-line installers and repairers, subway and streetcar operators, mechanics, maintenance and repairers, specialized manufacturing positions, or commercial pilots.  Take a look around your local area to learn about companies that offer good starting wages and will train you for better-paying jobs in the future.

 

Sources for this article: https://www.dol.gov/apprenticeship/toolkit/models-build.htm, https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/paying-for-college/articles/2015/02/02/what-to-know-about-employer-tuition-benefits-for-college, https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans, https://fafsa.ed.gov/, http://www.hercampus.com/school/unh, http://www.businessinsider.com/high-paying-jobs-you-can-get-without-a-college-degree-2015-11, http://todaysmilitary.com/living/paying-for-college, http://www.thebestschools.org/magazine/tuition-free-colleges/

 

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. kia says:

    This is such important information! I am thinking number 9 sounds great for my daughter since we have lived in 3 different countries since she was born. I would love to send her to a US university but I don’t know if we will be able to afford it when the time comes sadly.

    1. Sending a child to college seems so daunting. Does she know what she would like to study?

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