How much does college cost? Trust us, that figure would make your head spin.
The price tag of college has risen steadily over the last few decades, leaving many students scrambling to gather the funds.
Finding the money for college can be a real problem, and predatory student loans don’t make matters any better. There are ways, however, to cut down on the expenses needed to get a good education. College costs can be lowered with the tips described below.
Earn Money at School
There are a few ways to make money on campus to help foot the bills. For some, becoming an essay writer might help. From Austria to Australia, a writer that can put together a top-notch essay has the potential to make big money. It goes beyond being an essay writer, though. You can tutor, clean rooms, and all kinds of other work. If it’s available, having a job is a great way to earn extra cash through the school.
Reconsider Your Meal Plan
Meal plans are often required by larger schools to encourage people to use their dining halls. A lot of students, however, find that their diet is very expensive and covers food that they could never eat in that time period. Before agreeing to enrollment, check out their policy on meal plans and their cost. Having to pay that much per semester to cover more than you can eat might make you reconsider this option. Make sure that you won’t be hungry but know that an occasional grocery run is likely cheaper than eating cereals for breakfast on your meal plan.
Never Buy New Books
Textbooks are the great villains when it comes to college expenses. They’re extremely expensive, costing hundreds of dollars per book. Many schools offer buyback policies, but only give you a pittance in exchange. A better choice would be not buying the books at all, but renting them. There are websites where you can find any book that you need. If you are to buy a book, try to find the one that has been used before. You’ll usually get a discount. The absolute worst choice is to purchase new books directly from college.
Try a Community College…
Also called “junior colleges”, community colleges are often quite cheaper than standard universities. There’s a reason for that: Most don’t offer Bachelor’s degrees, only Associates or trade certificates. But is it useful if you want to get a Bachelor’s or higher? Yes! While they can’t award the diploma, you can get your basic classes out of the way and then transfer to a larger school.
… or Dual Enrollment
Some high or secondary schools offer dual enrollment to advanced students. Here, they can take their basic college courses before they even graduate from high school. The cost is usually greatly reduced or even completely covered by the school. If you’re still in high school, and your school offers it, take it. It’s a lot of money to save, and you’ll have less to do once you’re actually out of high school and headed to college.
Look at Housing Options
When thinking of college housing, the stereotypical dorm comes to mind. Most schools have dorms available for students enrolled there. That housing can become expensive, though, so consider your options. There are places where rent is particularly cheap that you would be better off renting a house or apartment with some friends. If you’re studying near home, you might consider staying with your parents and simply commuting. That, by far, is likely to be the cheapest option.
Get All the Aid You Can
Sometimes, students don’t look into all of the aid that they have available and miss out on some extra cash. Don’t fall victim to that! Ask both your high school counselor and the college’s student adviser or financial aid department what you qualify for and how to find out. Do a little research yourself, as well, to learn how financial aid works, and what to search for when you go looking for what you need.
Apply For Scholarships
You’ve likely already done this. As you prepare to graduate high school, applying for scholarships becomes more and more important. They’re an easy way to lower the overall cost of college that you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket. But don’t just apply for the easy ones:
Dig a little deeper. There are search engines specifically built for scholarships that can help you find them. Another tip: Don’t ignore scholarship offers just because they require an essay. Always apply.
Getting an education can be expensive. Your study costs can quickly rise into the six-digit range before graduation. These tips, though small, can save you a great deal of money in the long run.