On average, college tuition costs $34,000 per year. On top of that, tuition is rising at an average of 8% each year. That means in only nine years— tuition costs will double!
While some schools obviously cost more or less than others, don’t let the larger price tag deter you from applying. There are ways to help reduce college tuition costs, and I’m here to share some tips with you.
Reduce college tuition costs by filing your FAFSA®
I’m sure you’ve heard it a thousand times before – and that’s because it’s incredibly important. The FAFSA®, also known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the first step in reducing college tuition costs. It’s a common misconception that FAFSA® is only for federal loans, but I’m here to bust that myth!
While FAFSA® does determine eligibility for federal loans, it also determines eligibility for grants, some scholarships, and work-study programs.
Take advanced classes in high school to help reduce college tuition costs
During high school, you may have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement (AP) classes. These classes offer a college-level curriculum, and if you pass, also come with college credits. The great thing about these classes is they satisfy high school and college requirements, so you only have to take classes one time.
For more details about classes that qualify for this, you should work with your school’s guidance counselor to determine what colleges or universities will accept the credits. With the average price of public colleges for in-state students coming in at almost $10,500, these high school classes could save you thousands of dollars in tuition.
Consider taking courses at community college to reduce college tuition costs
Community colleges are great schools that generally have widely accepted transfer agreements with other colleges and universities. Their tuition cost is significantly lower than public and private colleges, which makes these schools a great first choice to complete your general education requirements.
These courses generally cover the same material across all college institutions, which is why many students choose to take them at a community college. Some students even go on to complete their Associate’s Degree before transferring schools to earn their Bachelor’s.
In addition to saving money on tuition, attending community college also provides the added benefit of living at home, which is exponentially cheaper than living in the dorms and finding an apartment of your own.
Look into work-study or Resident Advisor (RA) Programs to help save money
Many colleges and universities offer opportunities to work on campus in a range of different functions. While some of these work-study opportunities are located on campus working in the bookstore or a coffee shop, others are offered at off-campus locations.
Unlike traditional jobs, when accepting a work-study position, you do not receive a paycheck. Instead, you’re offered a dollar amount ahead of time, which is directly applied to your tuition in exchange for your agreement to work throughout the semester.
After you complete your freshman year, you’ll have the opportunity to apply for a Resident Assistant position if your college has on-campus dormitories.
While this job gives you the ability to live on campus for free and save thousands of dollars on room and board, it’s not a decision to be made lightly. Click here for more information on what it takes to be an RA.
Reduce college costs by applying for scholarships
There’s no such thing as applying for too many scholarships. In fact, as long as you qualify, apply for as many as possible. Even the small ones can impact your overall college costs, especially if you get awarded several of them. Scholarships are the best way to get free money towards your education.
Consider fixed-rate tuition colleges
Fixed-rate tuition colleges ensure that your tuition stays the same throughout your undergraduate degree. That means that you won’t experience an extra hike in your tuition while you’re already in a program. To see if the colleges you’re considering are fixed-rate, reach out to the financial aid office and ask.
Ask about tuition waivers
Some students are eligible for tuition waivers. To determine if you qualify for the waiving of fees or tuition costs, you need to speak to the financial aid office. In most cases, students eligible for waivers are veterans, teachers, police officers, firefighters, and higher education employees’ dependents.
Enter a high-need field
If you’re planning to enter a high-need field, such as nursing or engineering, there’s potential that the school will do additional due diligence to supplement your tuition. First, you have to declare your career path. You can then ask the financial aid office if there are any programs to help you with the cost of your education.
Speed up your education
Graduating early is an easy way to reduce tuition costs. Completing your education by taking accelerated classes and summer or winter sessions means you can finish faster and reduce the amount you spend on tuition overall.
Ask your employer about tuition reimbursement
If you’re an adult student going back to school, there’s potential for you to access tuition reimbursement programs. First, you’ll need to ask your employer if they offer any programs that will help with your tuition costs. In some cases, you will be committed to your company for a certain amount of time due to their investment in your future.
Tuition costs can add up quickly, but with options like these, you can easily reduce college costs and save some money in the long run. Remember, the most important thing you can do is file your FAFSA®.
If you have questions about financial aid or reducing college tuition costs, the Frank Team is here for you. You can call us at (347) 690-7886 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.