Part of the college application process should be
to think of ways you can help cut the high cost of education. Yes,
it will take some extra effort, but it will be worth it. Here are
some strategies for minimizing tuition.
|Did you know
|Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics|
Learn faster: Accelerated
classes cram a semester's worth of material into six- or eight-week sessions.
The classes, while intense, can really help to move up your graduation date. You
land the degree you want at a much lower price.
an accelerated degree program at some schools runs about half the cost of their
traditional degree programs. And many schools offer bachelor's degree programs
in three years instead of four.
An accelerated degree program
is a great option for a student with a clear career goal. If you're ready to work
hard, why not put your college education on the fast track?
flipside of this, of course, is to make sure you earn enough credits to be graduated
in four years. Failing to take a full load of credits can mean you get charged
the full-time student tuition rate, but it will take you longer to graduate. The
sad truth is that the average graduate takes more than four years to finish, driving
up overall costs.
Start small, move up:
In many cases, credits earned at a less-expensive college or university
can be transferred and applied toward a degree from a pricey, elite school. You
could earn a prestigious diploma at a fraction of the price.
why not attend a community college for a couple of years and then transfer to
your dream college? It's not as if the fancy diploma you'll hang on your wall
will say "Transfer student." Besides, taking the transfer-student route
will save you some serious cash.
Every credit earned at a
low-cost community college could save you hundreds of dollars in tuition. Also,
by bunking at your parent's house, you could knock down your room-and-board charges
The first step is learning about articulation agreements
at your dream university and nearby two-year colleges. An articulation agreement
specifies which community college course credits will be accepted toward a bachelor's
degree at the four-year college or university. It also outlines scholarship requirements
and specifies what kind of grades a student must achieve to transfer to the four-year
school as a junior.
Go where you're wanted:
Somewhere out there is a college or university that's dying to have you as a student.
Find that school, fire off an application and watch the cost of your college education
Every student can be a star at some college, and star
students get deep discounts for their education. A college that really wants you
will find the aid and scholarships to keep you. The trick is finding the school
that considers you a star.
Study college guides. Do your grades
and SAT scores match or exceed the average marks of the current student body?
Does the college offer the courses you want? If so, this could be the school that
rolls out the red carpet for you.
Look for a college where
you fit in the top 25 to 30 percent of a class -- the higher you are, the more
the school wants you and the better position you're in. Not sure where to start
your college search? Begin by checking out smaller, regional colleges in your
area. An excellent but less-known college may be searching for a student just
Choose a tuition-free school:
Overwhelmed by tuition prices and the prospect of paying massive student loans
after you graduate? Why not attend a tuition-free school? You get the college
education you want without the hefty price tag. The catch? You may have to work.
Some schools require students to work 10 to 15 hours a week
on campus and in jobs related to their majors. Tuition-free colleges include The
Cooper Union in New York, N.Y.; Webb Institute in Glen Cove, N.Y.; Berea College
in Berea, Ky.; College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Mo.; and Alice Lloyd College
in Pippa Passes, Ky.
Lock in tuition:
Can't stand the way college tuition keeps shooting up? Consider locking in a single-tuition
rate for four years.
The tuition rate you pay as a wet-behind-the-ears
freshman is guaranteed until you graduate. No more losing sleep over skyrocketing
Colleges with locked-in tuition programs include
Anna Maria College in Paxton, Mass.; Baylor University in Waco, Texas; Centenary
College of Louisiana in Shreveport, La.; Concordia University in River Forest,
Ill.; Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas; Urbana University in Urbana,
Ohio; the University of Charleston in Charleston, W.Va.; and New York's Pace University.
Some schools offer guaranteed-tuition programs for free. Others
charge fees. Be sure to check.
little help from your friends: How's this for a graduation gift idea? Ask
family and friends for help with those dreaded student loans. In lieu of birthday
and holiday gifts, why not ask for help with heavy student loan payments? If you
can find a way to ask for cool, hard cash without ruffling any feathers, why not
give it a go? That way your family and friends won't have to pay a hefty fee to
the middleman. And you'll be able to write a monstrous check for your next student