Bargain hunting for colleges: 5 ways to make your education more affordable
If you or your parents are worried about how to afford higher education, you're not alone - millions of Americans are faced with the hefty price tag of college. Whether or not you apply for financial aid, the cost of commuting, living on campus and buying textbooks are an added expenditure. Paying the price for a good education is worth the investment, however, and with a few handy tips, you may be able to cut costs by thousands of dollars.
1. Apply for scholarships: Probably one of the most obvious ways to save money during your two- or four-year degree program is to apply for scholarships or grants. There are hundreds of different awards to choose from, whether you're an ethnic minority, a single mother or pursuing a particular degree. After taking the time to write essays and ask for recommendations, you could go to college at a fraction of the original cost.
2. Save on textbooks: If you decide to get an e-reader for college, you could shave hundreds of dollars. Science and math textbooks are typically very expensive, and you can get an e-book or shop online for used books that are at least 50 percent off the full sales price.
3. Work on campus: If you've applied for financial aid, many colleges and universities require you to take up a work-study job to give you a nice allowance for minor expenditures. You can also use that money to directly fund your education, as many of these programs allocate thousands of dollars per semester.
4. Live off campus: While some schools require freshmen to live in the dorms for at least one year, others let students live off campus. Staying in a dorm is a great way to meet new people, but with an added meal plan and mini fridge rental fees, you may find yourself paying far more than if you lived off campus in an apartment with friends.
5. Graduate early: Want to save thousands of dollars every year? If you take courses online or go to a community college and graduate early, you could easily save money on dormitory fees. By shaving off one year of education, you'll keep a nice sum of money in your wallet.