The cost of college tuition is typically not a fixed price and can increase an average of 2-4% a year. In addition to maximizing grants, scholarships and free financial aid, here are other tips to help keep tuition costs in check.
1. Inquire about state and regional tuition discounts.
Many states have programs that enable residents to attend a college out-of-state without paying out-of-state tuition. Check with your state or the college(s) you are interested in to determine if they participate in a tuition exchange or reciprocity program.
2. Enroll in community college classes.
Tuition at a community college is typically lower than a 4-year institution. Enrolling in classes during the summer or starting off at a community college and then transferring to a 4-year institution can help reduce tuition costs.
3. Maximize the number of college credits you can take each semester.
Some colleges do not charge for more than the 12-credit load, even if you take 15 credits a semester. Check with your college regarding their policy.
4. Try not to switch majors.
When you switch majors, you could end up paying for classes that don't contribute to your degree.
5. Maximize scholarship opportunities.
Begin searching for scholarships the summer before your senior year in high school. Search 3 million scholarships worth more than $18 billion using our Free Scholarship Search.
6. Check for sibling discounts
Your college may offer a tuition discount if multiple siblings attend the same college.
7. Try living at home.
Commuting from home can save on room and board expenses.
8. Consider an accelerated degree program.
Some schools offer 3-year programs, allowing students to take all the necessary courses for graduation in 3-years versus 4-years.
9. Ask about fixed rate tuition plans.
Some schools have introduced programs that lock in the tuition costs for an undergraduate program. Be sure to check with your school's financial aid office about program availability and any eligibility requirements.
10. Research availability of co-op programs.
These programs allow you to work as part of your education and any earnings you make do not affect your financial aid eligibility.