College expenses can rack up quickly, especially with more than one child going through the process of getting a degree. To make the most out of your college savings fund, follow these useful tips for your child. Just a few of these strategies can significantly cut your costs without reducing the quality of the education received.
- Take AP Classes in High School
High schools offer Advanced Placement classes that qualify students for college credits. This can shave off dozens of credit hours from your tuition bill and will not cost much more than you are already spending on a high school diploma.
- Look for In-State Schools
In-state tuition rates are a heck of a lot lower than out of state rates. There will be at least a few good choices for colleges in your state that can offer a competitive education. Do your research and find out which offer the best programs for a future career.
- Choose Public University
Public universities have some stigmas attached to them, but they are not any worse overall than private schools. The classes may be larger, but at the end of the day they will save you much more on the cost of tuition than a highly-prestigious private university.
- Graduate in 4 Years
Taking extra time to finish a degree can add many credit hours to your bill and increase the cost of tuition. Graduating in four years is a reasonable pace and is expected of most students. If a student fails a class, make it up over the summer to avoid getting behind.
- Don’t Transfer
Transferring between schools costs time and money. Once you’ve gotten into a school, stick with it. In all cases except the most extreme, most problems with a school can be solved without leaving, so find practical solutions to improve the experience.
- Manage Financial Aid Responsibly
Don’t take on more debt than is absolutely necessary. The less money you borrow, the sooner you will be able to pay it off and the less interest will accrue. Try to budget carefully and avoid unnecessary purchases.
- Look for On-Campus Work
College campuses are bustling with work opportunities. Talk to professors to find opportunities to work in research or as a teacher’s assistant to add a bit of income to your college experience.
- Shop for Secondhand Textbooks
Buying a brand new textbook is no longer the only way to get prepared for class. Shop online or at campus bookstores for secondhand books and previously owned material to cut costs. Sales usually happen at the end of semesters, so plan ahead.
- Use Alternative Transportation
Most campuses are designed for convenience, so take advantage. Walking or riding a bike will greatly reduce the costs of transportation around town. If you need a car, look for student discounts on insurance.
10. Consider ROTC
Enrolling in a ROTC program will cover a large portion of the cost of your tuition, but it comes with some more demanding time constraints and service requirements. This is not a good choice for everyone, but it is a very reasonable way to get an affordable degree.