Reduce College Costs with These 7 Tips

Everyone knows that there are scholarships, grants and loans available, but what most students do not realize is that there are other ways of paying for their higher education than just these traditional methods. If you are tight on funds and did not receive enough aid from your school or government, consider these nontraditional methods to help you reduce college costs.

After you get done reading this post, make sure you check out Money Saving Tips for College Students: Save Thousands and Financial Advice for College Students

Reduce college costs with these 7 tips! If you are looking for ways to save money on your college education, then make sure you read this post! There are tons of great tips for students in this.

Reduce College Costs While Still in High School by Taking CLEP and AP Exams

If you are still in high school, consider taking an Advanced Placement (AP) course. These courses are designed to teach students at an accelerated rate, allowing them to learn college material while receiving both credit for high school and college.

In order to receive the college credit, students must sign up for the AP exam, held at the end of the course. Most higher education institutions will offer students at least three semester credit hours for those who score three, four or five points on the exam. Even if you only take one course, you can save upwards of around $1,000 to $2,000 (depending on which school you choose to attend) – talk about a great way to reduce college costs!

CLEP exams can be taken at anytime during your college career and they often allow you to receive credit for introductory courses. These exams cost approximately $80 and are widely accepted by colleges and universities. Currently, there are 33 exams available for students to take. Be sure to check with schools you are interested in to make sure you will get credit for any CLEP exams you take. The best way to get information about transfer credits is to speak to an admissions counselor!

Take Summer Courses

Summer courses are usually offered at a reduced rate and are also completed in a shorter period of time. You could find yourself saving hundreds or thousands of dollars in tuition money by taking advantage of your school’s summer courses. If you learn better in a smaller class, then summer courses are also good options for you.

Not only will you reduce college costs, but you can potentially graduate early, depending on the amount of coursework you complete each summer. Graduating early has many perks, including saving money and entering the workforce earlier.

Go to a Two-Year School First

If you are unsure about what you want to study, consider going to a community college first to get your general courses out of the way. Community colleges allow you to go to school for much cheaper than four-year colleges and universities and they often have flexible class schedules so that you can work during the day to reduce college costs in the future.

Before you enroll with a two-year school, be sure to research what courses will transfer to the four-year schools you are interested in enrolling at later. Most community colleges have programs set up with four-year institutions, so transferring coursework is much easier.

[RELATED] 5 Ways to Solve the Debate of Community College vs. University

Get a Technical Degree

This option is not for everyone, but could help those who are looking to enter the workforce quickly. Technical and associate’s degrees allow students to gain knowledge quickly for a specified occupation. Most can be earned within two years and are offered at a much cheaper price than a bachelor’s degree (depending on the program and any financial aid you may receive).

You may even consider one of these degrees if you are tight on money and need a good paying job fast. Once you have obtained a two-year degree, you are eligible for more jobs or higher paying positions. If you work for a year, you could save up enough money to go back to school and complete your four-year degree later without worrying about falling into debt.

Find a Job That Pays For Your Education

Believe it or not, there are employers that will pay for your education if you sign on to work with them. Although it may require a lot of research and networking, these opportunities are extremely valuable because they can greatly reduce college costs. Not only will you have a job, but you will also have the ability to go to school for free. Keep in mind that you may not be able to finish school as quickly as you like, but at least you will have a job.

You can learn more about tuition reimbursement from your employer’s human resources department.

Go to the Same College Your Family Did

Colleges and universities will often provide a reduced tuition for students who are relatives of alumni. Be sure to check each school for specific details. You may find a special scholarship or grant that is available to you for being a relative. If you have a family member who works for a higher education institution, you may also be eligible for reduced, or even free, tuition.

Sign Up For is a website that allows you and your family to reduce college costs by offering money to you through purchases. Family members and students can shop online through the site, eat at participating restaurants and shop at specified grocery stores to receive money from the site. The site offers anywhere between 1 to 25 percent back on purchases, so the money can add up quickly!

These are just a few of the numerous ways you can reduce college costs. If you are staring at your financial aid offer and wondering how you are going to cover the rest of your education, don’t panic. Try some of these methods to reduce college costs and do some research; you will find that you can afford to further your education without breaking the bank.

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  • Christal
    March 2, 2015 at 8:51 am

    Great list Tori! As an upcoming college student, I am definitely taking note of these tips. I honestly wish I had of really planned ahead for college in high school so I could have gotten a head start. I love the “find a job that pays for your education tip” I hope to get one of those one day, but I know a lot of people don’t know that some jobs offer those type of opportunities! I plan to start at a 2-yr college in the fall which will basically be free then transfer afterwards, so that’ll save me atleast $12k! Thanks so much for sharing this great post

    • Tori
      March 2, 2015 at 8:59 am

      I’m so glad you found it helpful, Christal! After figuring out the college system practically by myself, I have a desire to share as much as I can about college and everything related to it. Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂

  • Miranda @ Miranda Writes Blog
    March 2, 2015 at 11:47 am

    These are all great tips! I don’t see how anyone can get through college without at least a part time job anymore. I also love textbook rental services like Chegg. Those books really start to add up over the long haul. =)

    • Tori
      March 2, 2015 at 10:10 pm

      I hear ya! I worked all throughout college. It was tough but it needed to be done.

  • Yaitza
    March 2, 2015 at 11:58 am

    These are great tips.. It took me years to be financially free of student loans..

  • Abria @ Bee Splendid
    March 2, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    These are some good ideas for cutting costs. I’m Canadian so our system is a bit different, but I went to college in the States for a two-month course in 2011 and I was surprised by all the hoops students have to jump through there. It’s great of you to offer advice to up-and-comers.

  • Amanda - Polish & Plates
    March 2, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Great tips! College is so expensive!

  • Selbe
    March 2, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    These are awesome tips! As a college student myself I am always looking for ways to save money!

  • alyssa
    March 2, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    I’m doing a Maymester to reduce how much my next semester would cost. 🙂

    • Tori
      March 2, 2015 at 10:10 pm

      I forgot about those short Maymesters! Great idea!

  • Kailei
    March 2, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Good thoughts! I definitely agree that it is so useful to take AP and CLEP tests in high school. Not only do you reduce cost, you save time!

  • Heather @ The Nerdy Fox
    March 2, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    I’m 27 and just starting college this year. I fortunately (maybe unfortunately, when you consider the reasons) qualify for a lot of grants but will still end up paying for some of college out of pocket. I haven’t heard of Upromise but will be check it out for sure. Thank you.

  • Regina
    March 2, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    These are great tips and thanks for mentioning UPROMISE. I signed up for an account several years ago but had forgotten about it until reading your post. Good stuff!

  • Kimberly Bolden
    March 2, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    Such great tips for college-bound students and the parents of those preparing to enter. I so believe that there is much free money to be redeemed.

  • Naked Without Polish
    March 2, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    I have to say, if I would have gone to college, these would have been very helpful! :o)

  • Tricia @ Like I said Lady
    March 3, 2015 at 10:08 am

    I wish I had read something like this sooner in my college career!! I have spent seven years in college, and I am finally graduating in May, so it is a little late for me, but otherwise, great post!

    • Tori
      March 3, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      Congrats to you for almost being done!!!

  • Erica
    March 3, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    Awesome tips! I totally took AP classes and exams while in High School and I also took simmer claess in a technical minor! I didn’t know about UPROMISE and their purchasing program, being a mom of 4 kids this is extremely helpful info! Thanks for sharing!

  • Blossom
    January 3, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    Hey Tory,

    First of all you look really young for your age and it’s amazing.
    Second, thanks for the tips. There’s a lot I already know, but I’m gonna look into Upromise. Sounds…promising!



    • Tori
      January 3, 2016 at 4:50 pm

      Hi Blossom! I hear that a lot. Lol. Most people think I’m at least 5 years younger than I really am. I hope you can find a way to make Upromise work for you! I always say that anything that can help me save money is a good thing 🙂