8 Things You Can Do To Lower College Expenses

by Andrea

books, college, student loans and financial aid

College funds have been hit hard by the financial crisis, and many are wondering how they’re going to get through 4 years of college with less money and fewer student loans. 

Here are 8 things you can do to lower your college expenses…

#1  Apply to free colleges. 

(They’re free in exchange for labor.) 
There are at least 18 tuition-free colleges.  While they are challenging to get into, they are definitely worth a try.  In addition to studying, you will also need to work.  Jobs can include anything from working in the dairy, farming, cooking, being a librarian, cleaning, and other duties that will help keep the school free for incoming students.  

Here’s a list of some tuition-free colleges:

#2  Begin college while you’re in high school.

College bound high school students should take Advanced Placement classes that allow them to get college credit for high school courses

Taking AP classes can easily shave off a semester or two (and it’s funded by high schools). You might even get your diploma 2 years early! 

Here are a few examples:

#3  Attend a cheaper college first. 

Students should really consider taking the Junior College to Senior College route.  Community colleges and junior colleges cost a fraction of what 4-year colleges cost.

Your time spent at a community college or junior college will net you a second Associates degree in the process!

#4  Begin your education online.

Much like taking community college courses, taking courses online is also less expensive than going to a prestigious university.

Why not study hard, get really good grades online, and then transfer those credits to the college of your choice?

#5  Test out of some college courses.

Students enrolled in college do not have to take every single course as laid out in their program. 

Most first- and second-year courses can be challenged (or tested out of) through college exams called CLEP, Dantes, and others.

#6  Live off campus.

This was the route I took to lower my college costs. 

Living off campus not only saved a great deal of money (especially since I had house mates), but it also helped me to pay for living expenses on my own. I was able to get a job, so I could pay monthly instead of per-semester.

#7  Live with mom and dad.

While many parents may not have money to pay for college, room, and board, they still have a room that you can continue to live in as long as you continue your education. 

Living at home can also have other benefits such as enhancing a college Freshman’s mental health:

It seems that especially immediately after entering a university, say one or two months, the effects of living with their parents are very significant. However, the difference between the two groups does not continue into the second year. 

~ University of the People

#8  Rent or buy cheaper text books.

Textbooks are becoming an increasingly larger part of college expenses. 

When I was in college, we paid $200 a semester for books and supplies.  Today, book costs are easily $1,000 a semester. 

Here are some ways to reduce text book costs:

More Ways To Lower College Expenses