6 Ways to Pay Less Money For A College Degree
A four-year college degree can be one of the most expensive purchases in a person’s lifetime. In fact, many hard-working professionals continue to pay for their college education long after graduation. Here are six ways you can expect to pay less money for a traditional four-year college degree.
Start early. Some colleges allow high school students to begin taking college courses while attending high school. Homeschooled students and those attending a participating high school can take up to 12 semester hours before graduation. By paying for and completing these classes early, it can help to offset costs later on.
Attend a community college. With costs at half of their pricier private and state counterparts, community colleges are a great buy. If getting a degree there doesn’t interest you, consider their generous transfer programs. They allow a student to initially obtain a large number of credit hours at the cheaper college cost. You would still be considered a graduate of the state or private college.
Do it in three years. Several colleges offer summer class options to their students. By combining the summer semester with two 20-hour regular semesters, it is possible to graduate well ahead of schedule. Even with the summer semester costs, it is far cheaper than going the full four or five years.
Challenge the requirements. Many colleges allow students to “test out” of required classes. To do so, a student must prove that they already know the course material, and therefore, they do not need to take the class. Providing documented life experience or taking a competence exam will often be enough to skip a course entirely.
Let your boss pay for it. An increasing number of workplaces offer tuition reimbursement programs and will “pick up the tab” for up to 30 credit hours a year. Some employer plans require that you maintain a satisfactory grade level (C average or higher) and that you work a minimum number of hours. In addition, you may have to pay up-front costs, which will then be reimbursed by your place of employment.
Go in the off-season. It may be possible to get a 50% discount on your college courses, if you’re willing to attend during unpopular class times. Early morning, late evening, and holiday class offerings are often more difficult to fill. Some colleges will reduce the price for these classes to ensure adequate enrollment.
In addition to the traditional methods of scholarships, grants, loan forgiveness , and work-study, there are less traditional methods of saving college money. Tailor a unique schedule or program at your school, and it is possible to pay far less. By being as flexible as possible, you just might avoid the highest price tag on today’s college education.