Online or on campus, college costs can start adding up in a hurry. Between tuition, room and board, books, fees, transportation, and all the rest, you can easily find your school-related expenses beginning to balloon out of control. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be this way. There may be a variety of things you can do or ways to cut your college costs.
Consider Online Programs
Online programs may not only be cheaper when it comes to tuition than campus-based programs, but they could be more cost effective in a multitude of other areas as well. Budget items like room and board, transportation, books, fees, and similar expenses could all be cut by considering an online program rather than one in a campus setting.
Take High School Courses that Count Toward College
Taking advanced placement courses in high school could count toward your college educational needs. By scoring well on the final tests for such courses, you could find yourself placing out of certain college classes or even getting college credit for these classes, helping to cut some time — and in turn, money — from your college experience.
Live at Home
While depending upon your home life, it may or many not be the most exciting option to entertain when it comes to cutting your college costs, living at home could definitely save you some money. Living rent free, or even if your parents expect some sort of reasonable financial contribution for their allowing you to live at home, could cut thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars from your overall college costs.
Take on a Roommate
If you decide to live on your own though, the costs could start adding up in a hurry. Rent and utilities could add $1,000 a month or more to your college-related expenses. However, taking on a roommate — or even multiple roommates — to help carry the cost burden could have you cutting these expenses significantly. One roommate could help cut your expenses in this aspect in half, while two roommates could allow you to just pay a third of what you might otherwise.
Tuition can make up a huge portion of your overall college costs. And when it comes to this expense, going to an out-of-state school could double your costs in some instances compared to in-state tuition rates. Therefore, consider your options and educational needs wisely and review the cost differential in this area closely before making your decision.
Graduate in Four Years or Less
Many colleges base their cost-estimates on a four-year time-frame for degree completion. If your plan is to adhere to such a timeframe, you could find that shaving a -semester or even an entire year from that timeline could have you saving a lot of money. Being able to cut a semester’s worth of payments for things like room and board, tuition, transportation costs, fees, and miscellaneous expenses could add up to thousands of dollars or more in savings.
Start Your Job Search Early
For many students these days, interest accumulated on student loan debt can add significantly to the overall cost of a college education. Having a job to be able not only to pay such costs, but possibly pay them down or even off early could help you cut these costs.
While in college you may be afforded tools and opportunities to find a job that you wouldn’t necessarily find once out in the real world. Things like college placement offices and employer recruiting visits can make getting interviews and finding an employer match much easier than it would be after graduation. Therefore, consider starting your job search early so that you can maximize your job hunting potential while you still have such tools at your disposal.
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The author is not a licensed financial or educational professional or academic adviser. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or educational advice. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.