Meet Cost

Reduce College Costs

To return to tools, click here

— 10 Tips to Reduce Costs —

We have assembled 10 tips that can help reduce your college costs. Some of these tips may help in your situation.

  1. Search all available scholarships

    There are thousands of scholarships that go unawarded because students don't think to research and make an application. Many of these scholarships only offer minimal sums, but they do add up to help reduce college expense.

    Some scholarships to consider:
  2. Start your 1st and 2nd year at a less expensive place

    Look into community college programs for many of the "basic courses" that you have to take. After the 2nd year, transfer those credits to another school of your choice to pursue your undergraduate degree.

    Community colleges are less expensive than regular 4-year schools. Make sure that credits earned at community colleges can be transferred to your school of choice

    search for community colleges

    Another option for the "basic courses" is online schools. You can pace yourself respectively for required courses and work part-time. Again, make sure credit earned can be transferred.

    search for online programs

  3. Check your school for tuition reduction plans

    Some schools offer tuition discounts for some of the following students. See if you may qualify:
    • children of alumni
    • students who have other family members attending
    • students who have family members employed by the school
    • older students who attend
    • students who are student government leaders
    • students who work in the editorial or yearbook departments
    • students who recruit another student to the school
    • other: check your school financial aid office

  4. Look into housing reduction plans

    Some schools and private housing units will waive or reduce housing costs if you become a residential manager of the dorm or housing unit. You will be required to work a set number of hours each week.

    Another option is to live at home and commute to school. You can save around $6,000 per year in room and board.

  5. Check your school's employment office

    Many schools have on-campus employment positions that are not part of the work-study program. Some of these positions offer tuition discounts and pay for your service.

  6. Get through as many credit as possible to speed up graduation

    Most schools charge one price regardless of the number of credit you have. Take advantage of single pricing and load up as many credit possible to speed up your requirements to reduce college attendance.

    Another way to reduce college costs is to take advantage of proficency examination programs. Ask your school about the Advanced Placement Program (APP), the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), and the Provenience Examination Program (PEP). If you score high enough on the examination under a specified program, you can receive college credit.

    Some colleges give credit for life experiences. Students should check with the college for further information.

    check with the Distance Education and Training Council for information

    Some schools offer accelerated degree programs where students can earn their degree in quick time, thus saving on future educational expenses.

  7. Don't forget the service academies

    Some students sign up for ROTC or enroll into the service academies to help pay for school.

    The Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) Scholarship Program pays all tuition fees, and textbook costs, as well as providing a monthly living stipend. But students should be aware that there is a service commitment following your graduation.

    Other military services have tuition reimbursement plans in exchange for your service commitment.

  8. Look at in-state schools and private matching programs

    Most public state schools offer reduced tuition for in-state residents. You should seriously consider an in-state program for part of your education to help keep costs down.

    Some private colleges will match the tuition of out-of-state institutions for certain students. Check with your college to determine whether you qualify for this option.

  9. Check your college for other aid options

    Some schools offer reduced tuition rates to families if the major wage earner is unemployed.

    Some colleges and universities have special funds set aside for families who do not qualify for federal or state funding.

  10. Manage your funds

    Manage your money smartly. Buy used textbooks, keep play at a minimum, walk to school whenever possible, don't go on spending binges, etc.

    see our topic on managing student funds