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 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.
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 Upromise.com
Upromise.com 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.
For more information, read:
- 6 Sites That Will Help Save You Money on College Textbooks
- College Financial Aid: 10 Free Websites You Need to Use
- 7 Tips for Paying Off Student Loans
- Taking a Year Off Before College: Pros and Cons