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I recently heard that the average college tuition cost is almost $10,000 a year for in-state residents, and this sent me on a search to find ways to help you cut college costs. I found 17 ways to help you save money on the cost it takes you go to school plus there are a few options to help you go to school 100% free!
17 Ways to Cut College Costs
1. Choose an in state and public university – You will get the resident tuition price, and public universities are cheaper than the private ones by normally by 50%. The average in-state tuition for a resident for state public schools is under $10,000, for a private school it's almost $30,000 OUCH!
2. Consider community college – There was an article on CNN Money that said those that go to community college can make MORE money!
“Nearly 30% of Americans with associate’s degrees now make more than those with bachelor’s degrees, according to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.”
This is the best way to get your general courses out of the way for cheap!
3. Live off campus – Many colleges require you to live on campus your freshman year for safety reasons but as soon as you can move off campus! Get some friends together and rent an apartment and save! On average you will pay about $500 a month for a dorm and about $8 a meal for the meal plan to live on campus. If you move off campus and rent a room, you will pay an average of about $350 a month plus $4 a meal or less, that about a $500 a month saving.
4. Take AP courses in high school – The AP courses (advanced placement) will allow you to earn both high school and college credits. Make sure you take the AP test to get your credits.
5. Apply for scholarships IN college – There are many college scholarships that are available to you while you are still IN college.
6. Start with local scholarships – Apply for local scholarships first, the competition for them is far less.
7. Take summer classes – These classes often cost less because no one want to go to school during the summer. This will also allow you to graduate sooner!
8. Get a Technical Degree – This isn't for everyone but getting a technical degree will get you into the workforce faster. When I was in high school, my school offered dual enrollment to the technical school for seniors. My first semester I did mornings at the technical center right next door to the high school and went to school in the afternoons. By Christmas, I was taking my state test and had my license before the first of the year. My second half of high school I went to school in the morning and in the afternoons, I had OJT (on the job training) which counted as credits. I was able to go to work, and I worked the 3-11 shift at a nursing home and worked full time + overtime since I was then 18. After school, I worked in a doctors office for the summer and saved up a ton of money, and I made about three times what I was flipping burgers and waiting tables plus it was 100% free, the only thing I paid for was my state test which was about $120.
9. Buy used textbooks – Don't EVER buy a new textbook, it's such a waste of money! There are some great sites online that offer used textbooks plus I'm sure there is a bookstore on your campus. Amazon sells used textbooks with savings up to 90%. Plus you can earn free Amazon gift cards to pay for your textbooks and get them free! I shared 45 places to earn free Amazon gift cards and then I shared my system on how I make $210+ every month is free Amazon gift cards.
10. Rent textbooks – Amazon allows you to rent textbooks. The savings is around 80% and in many cases you can get them as eBooks, so you don't have to lug them around!
11. Sell your textbooks back – At the end of each semester or end of each year sell your textbooks back to Amazon and get up to 80% back in the form of an Amazon gift card then turn around and use that to pay for the next semester's books!
12. Find a job that pays for your education – This will require some research and some networking, but there are employers out there that will pay for your education if you sign a contract to work for them for X amount of years after your graduate. Make sure the pay is enough to live on during that time, but this is an excellent way to go to school for free!
13. Avoid private student loans – Private student loans should be avoided at all costs! They will follow you until they are paid off or you die. They can not be cleared in bankruptcy court and will kill your credit in many cases.
14. Follow the family tradition – Go to the same college your family did. Most colleges offer discounts to the family of alumni.
15. Get a part time job – This goes without saying as you are living on your own. Get a job save as much as possible to pay for the following semester. Many colleges have paid jobs like RAs, Freshman orientation assistants, card swipers and more. Many on school job will offer free room and board (food) for working other will pay an hourly wage.
16. Use Upromise – Upromise lets you shop and earn rebates, the rebates go into an account that can then be used to pay college tuition.
17. Take as many classes as you – Many colleges charge a flat rate tuition per semester no matter how many classes you take. So take as many classes as you can to save money and graduate a semester or two early!
What ways have you found to save money on college?
I am a Wife, mom to 4 kids, homeschool mom, blogger, social media junkie, Frugalista, Book Worm, and Closet Want-to-be Chef. We are a Roadschool family (homeschooling on the road while traveling fulltime).
I grew up learning ways to save from my mom and grandma. I started my own coupon journey when my first child was born in 2009 and started the blog on 2010 when baby #2 was born to share my tips with everyone who kept asking about how I was getting diapers for $1 a pack!
Click here to learn more about starting a blog.