How to Pay Less For College

College students are paying, on average, $34,000 per year – and that’s just tuition! So, it’s no surprise that students and parents alike want ways to pay less for college.

But don’t worry! We have some ideas for how students can pay less for college and reduce the amount of student debt they take on.

First things first, file your FAFSA®

I know you’ve heard it a thousand times, but FAFSA®, aka The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the first step when it comes to paying less for college. This application opens the doors to grants and scholarships (FREE money), in addition to federal student loans.

Get a head start on your college education while still in high school

College while in high school? Yes!

Taking classes at your local community college while still in high school can save you time and money. For example, when I was in high school, I took college classes a couple of nights a week. This allowed me to get a head start on my education, and when I graduated from high school, I was technically already a sophomore in college!

Start with community college first

I know, starting at community college may not sound as exciting as attending university. But, with an average tuition cost of $3,347 per year, community college can help students save thousands of dollars.

In addition to the lower costs, community colleges also offer smaller class sizes, making the transition from high school to college a little less intimidating.

Save money while in college

Cutting college costs isn’t only about where you attend school, but more importantly, about how wisely you spend your money while you’re there. 

Compare housing options

Many incoming freshmen opt to live on campus. Not only is it considered a rite of passage for many, but it’s also very convenient.

When choosing a dormitory (or apartment off campus), be realistic. Just because you can have extra amenities and newer facilities doesn’t mean you need to have them. As long as you’re living in a safe place, you don’t need all the extras that generally come with a higher price tag.

Opting to live in an older dorm can help you pay less for college.

Choose the right meal plan

Choosing the biggest meal plan where you can eat unlimited meals sounds good in theory. But, if you’re anything like most other college students, you’re not going to eat in the dining halls as much as you think.

Dining halls have limited hours, and it’s not always convenient to schlep across campus to get breakfast or lunch. You might like eating cereal for breakfast, and you can do so easily from your dorm room. Or maybe you love PB&J sandwiches — you don’t need a meal plan to make simple sandwiches for lunch.

So, examine your eating habits and pick the most realistic plan for you.

Don’t buy new textbooks if you don’t have to!

On average, students spend $1,300 per school year on textbooks! That’s crazy. You can save so much money by shopping for used books online using trusted websites like Chegg.com and Amazon.com.

If you want to skip the books altogether, there’s even an option to purchase electronic copies. This not only saves a ton of space, but you pay so much less for these online textbooks!

By following these tips, you can save big and pay less for college. If you have questions, we’re always happy to help. You can email us at support@withfrank.org or text us at (347) 690-7886.