College is expensive. And, it is getting more expensive each semester. In fact, in many cases, inflation of the cost of college is outpacing inflation of household incomes. College is still the best path to a solid and fulfilling career though. Use these tips and tools to save A TON of money on college. Some have saved $10,000 or more!
- CLEP testing
College Level Examination Program, or CLEP, is hosted by College Board and can give college credit to courses just by taking and passing an exam. You don’t have to pay to take the course at your college; you can simply just take the test and get the credit saving you a TON of time and money! Whether you already know the material well enough or want to learn the course on your own, either way you can take the test when you are ready.
There are 33 CLEP courses available and are accepted by 2900 colleges and universities. Check on the College Board website to learn more about CLEP testing. Check with your college or university to determine if CLEP credit is accepted.
- Work study
Work study is an excellent way to save money while you are taking courses at college. Work study programs offer either pay for jobs around campus or paid tuition. Look on your school’s website or ask personnel on campus to find out how to sign up for a work study program. PRO TIP: Find a job on campus that will allow you to do your schoolwork while working such as working at the front desk of a dorm building. Now, you are getting paid to do your homework!
- Tuition Reimbursement
Tuition reimbursement is a special program that many employers (outside of the university) will offer to their employees. Typically, the company will offer a certain amount of tuition dollars per semester or year for the employee to earn a degree or take classes that are applicable to the work/industry of the company.
Tuition reimbursement option can be a great option if you are already working and cannot afford to take off work to go to school full time. It may take you longer in the end to earn a degree, but you can save a TON of money! Even if you are fresh out of high school and not working, you can find a job with an employer that offers a tuition reimbursement program to fund your way to college. Many companies now offer this for their hourly employees; a quick Google search will help you find one in your neighborhood!
- Specialized Scholarships
If you are looking to go to college soon or are already in college, look for scholarship opportunities that are very specialized. You have a better chance of getting scholarships that are limited to people with certain characteristics if you qualify. It seems there are scholarships for just about anything… from learning styles to first family member to attend college are applicable.
Look on the local, state, and national level including local, state, and federal government opportunities. Be keen on things that may apply to you personally that will not apply to the majority of people currently going to college. If you fit the bill, apply for the scholarship and save a TON of money!
- Core Classes at Community or Local College
This option is available to most everyone planning on going to a costly public or private college! To save a TON of money, take the majority of your core classes at a community or local college. Usually, the tuition for these classes will be much cheaper at the local school than the larger private or public school. After completing the core classes, transfer your credits to the school of your choice and finish your degree there. Make sure that the school of your choice will accept your credits at the local school first though!
The Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) program is established to serve western states of the US. The program offers reduced tuition for universities participating in the program. According to the WICHE.EDU website, ‘Students who are residents of WICHE states are eligible to request a reduced tuition rate of 150% of resident tuition at participating two- and four-year college programs outside of their home state.’ Check out the WUE program if you live in the western part of the US to see if you and your University are eligible to participate.
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