Getting into college is an exciting time for high school students but a scary time for their parents. So Bankrate.com looked into some nontraditional ways for you to save some money and breathe easier come fall.
Todd Martin, Director of Financial Aid, Palm Beach Atlantic University
"There are a lot of short cuts, and a lot of ways to save money just in regards to how you approach your education and being savvy in that area can pay off for a lot of people."
Living off campus and buying your books on Amazon.com are examples of some traditional ways to save money each year.
"To me the very first place you want to look is at your high school, the reason for that is they have the best opportunities for local community scholarships that are going to have a smaller pool of applicants."
Other ways to look for scholarships are through websites. Fastweb.com and Nextstudent.com allows you to sign up for free.
"There are scholarships out there that are specific to help single mothers, or to help someone of a certain nationality background in this specific area. And these search engines will take your whole profile in and do a search for you."
Another factor to consider is your major, coming in as a freshman undecided could cost you money.
"What happens a lot, a student will shift three majors, rather than taking a good hard look at what they enjoy."
"Switching majors even one time can mean a whole semester or another year of having to pay."
Have a friend looking into school? If you refer them to your college ... you might be eligible for a discount.
And some colleges offer a two for one deal or a discounted tuition rate if twins or siblings close in age attend the same college. Check with your university to see if you qualify.
Also look into AP courses at your high school ... most colleges offer credits for these courses that you're taking for free.
"Yeah every college is doing that now. To get some of those courses at a lower cost maybe even in some cases your whole freshman year done ahead of time."
Groupon is a new and unconventional way for students to save. Started last fall at a university in Chicago, a 60% discount was offered for an introduction teaching course. If this type of savings catches on more schools might offer discounts through merchant sites like Groupon.
"Every aspect of every university and college meets a need of a student out there."
"The important thing is to do your research as a junior and as a senior in high school for what is best for you."
By doing your research ahead of time ... you could save thousands a year on schooling. For more information on college savings check out the college finance tab on Bankrate.com. I'm Theresa Heintz.