In my line of work I come across people who are wanting to help their children prepare for entering college all the time. I started thinking of all the costs that goes into college and how some kids don’t have the opportunity because of those costs. There are many ways to save money on the expenses that come with college. I know that these may not be able to help every family but it is my way of helping the ones that it will.
Every year you hear that the cost of a college education is increasing and it is easy to become fearful. Set aside money for your children’s college whenever possible. If starting a college fund is not feasible for your family that doesn’t mean that you have to turn to loans without doing your research or looking into other methods.
Here are some tips on how to save money on college:
- IN STATE COLLEGE – By having your child live at home while attending college, you can save up to $6,000 a year. If your child has their heart set on specific college or program look into regional tuition breaks.
- COMMUNITY COLLEGE – There are many benefits of attending a community college instead of or before a state college, the reasons come down to cost. No matter which college your child attends the first 2 years are comprised of the same set of classes which makes it wiser to attend where it’s cheaper.
Another money saving perk of attending a community college is that they do not require the student to take the SAT or ACT to enter. Once in college look into summer classes at a community college to earn credits toward their degrees, they are usually much cheaper than the ones offered at the 4 year colleges.
- SCHOLARSHIPS – There are many options when it comes to scholarships, you just have to be willing to think outside of the box. (This is one website you can visit) When it comes to applying don’t assume that your child won’t get it or that there will be tons of other applicants, by doing so you are eliminating the possibility of this money saving option.
Make sure to read the fine print and do the math. Some scholarships require you to use so much money per semester or require the student to perform, practice and participate which could take time away from other classes. Also ask to be put on a mailing list for when new scholarships become available. Many colleges will match students to a scholarship.
- FAFSA/FWS – Don’t be afraid to ask for help. FAFSA is an application that determines if a student is eligible for student aid. Along with this look into (FWS) work study jobs that allow your child to earn money to pay for their tuition. You can find more information for both of these options here.
- TEXTBOOKS – Never buy books from the college bookstore when possible. There are tons of places to buy textbooks that are way cheaper than the college bookstore. Before buying a textbook at all start have your child start class without to see if he/she will actually even need it. Some classes rarely touch their books, and for those times they may need it have them check it out from the library. Buy online at places like Amazon, or Half.com where they offer discounted prices. These websites allow you to buy, rent or even sell back textbooks.
- ADVANCED PLACEMENT CREDITS & EXAMS – AP classes and exams can help your child get on the fast track to a college degree. This gives them the chance to earn college credits while still attending high school. (This also looks great on their college applications!) AP exams are administered by The College Board and the student doesn’t have to be enrolled in an AP class in order to take the test.
By taking AP classes in high school your child could potentially graduate from college a semester or even a year early. This could save you a lot of money!!
These may not work for everyone but no matter what you decide to do to ensure your child can further their education is all that matters. The need to save money doesn’t end once your kid gets accepted, it’s only the beginning. For more ways to save money here’s 31 ways to cut costs.