The average cost of tuition and fees for the 2020-21 college school year was $41,411. So it’s no surprise that students and parents are searching for ways to lower tuition costs. But after filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), they don’t know where else to turn.
If you find yourself worrying about how much college will cost you and wondering how to lower tuition, you do have some options.
First, you need to set yourself up for success by researching affordable colleges and your potential financial aid offerings. The first step is filing your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA®.
File Your FAFSA® to help lower tuition costs for college
Filing your FAFSA® is the first step in the financial aid application process. This application can help lower college tuition costs by applying you for grants, scholarships, work-study programs, and federal student loans.
To file you and your parents will need to gather some information. You can view a full checklist of what you need here.
Once filed, the FAFSA® will provide each school on your list with the information they need to put your financial aid package together. The school will then send you an award letter, which should outline your financial aid package.
Shop around before committing to anything!
When starting college, it can be tempting to move into the most expensive dorm on campus or get the top meal plan. But bigger isn’t always better. Speaking from personal experience, I lived in the oldest dorm on campus, we had community restrooms and the amenities left a lot to be desired. But I didn’t care. I was out on my own for the first time and had the most amazing experiences.
By opting to live in a less expensive dorm and choosing a meal plan wisely, you’ll be able to significantly lower tuition costs without sacrificing the quintessential college experience.
Consider all colleges and universities to save money on tuition costs
Attending community college before transferring to a university or 4-year college is a great way to lower tuition costs. Students can take general education classes or even complete their associate’s degree before transferring, which will help you save thousands of dollars.
Other students choose to attend four-year colleges with lower tuition and discounts for in-state students.
Whatever you decide, choosing a college is as vital to your financial success as your education is.
Ask the financial aid office about work-study opportunities to help you save money on tuition
Many schools offer work-study programs and/or internships that might not only count for credits but also help lower your tuition costs. Work-study programs are agreements between students and the school where a predetermined salary/wage for hours worked is applied directly towards tuition.
Work-Study means that you commit to working a certain number of hours on campus in accordance with your financial aid package. The school will apply the credits directly to your account, which results in lowering your tuition.
Applying for scholarships can help you save BIG on tuition
Another great way to get money towards college is to apply for scholarships. There’s no limit to the number you can apply for. Any little bit of aid helps, so don’t be afraid to apply for even the smallest scholarships.
Lowering tuition costs might seem like an overwhelming task. But it is possible! Set yourself up for a bright financial future by doing your research.
These tips and resources have proven successful in helping college students everywhere lower their tuition costs. If you have questions, we’re always here to help. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or text us at (347) 690-7886.