Tips for Reducing Costs

Six Tips for Reducing Costs:

1.     Plan your Path to your career goal

One of the best ways to reduce costs is to lay out a plan to your goal and manage your course work from the start. Decide what you want to do and where you’d like to work before you decide where to go to school. By having a plan, you will avoid paying for classes that don't end up contributing toward your degree, and you'll be able to graduate in less time. Determining your time frame for earning your degree and setting goals based on course offerings will help you stay on track and ensure you pay only for courses that move you closer to your goal. Campus advisors can help you plan ahead.

2.     Research College Programs

College costs can vary significantly and there are many schools with affordable tuition and generous financial assistance. Make sure to research all schools that may work for you considering the credential or degree offered as well as the logistics of the program (distance, scheduling of courses, etc.)

3.     Begin with Community College

Community college offers the most affordable education out there. Begin at a community college and complete a 2-year degree, then transfer to a 4-year school to complete your Bachelor’s Degree. NOTE: It's important that you first make sure the 4-year school you plan to attend will accept your credits from the community college you attended. Some community colleges now partner with 4-year colleges or universities to offer 2+2 programs designed for students to move seamlessly from a 2-yr to a 4-yr school ensuring that all credits transfer.

4.     Get Credit for Prior Learning

You may be able to reduce the number of courses you need to graduate by getting school credit for your prior knowledge or life experiences.

  • Check the college search pages and ask at the schools that interest you to see if they offer credit for prior learning.  Some schools have a process for determining an amount of credits students can earn by demonstrating their prior learning from work experience.
  • Check with the college programs that interest you to see if it’s possible to “test out of” any classes. If you are confident you can pass a test instead of taking a class, the test and credits fees will be less than the cost of a course.

5.     Research School Discounts

Ask at each school of interest if you are eligible for any discounts. Some colleges may offer discounts on tuition if:

  • you are a child of an alumnus or alumna (i.e., if your parent went to the school);
  • more than one family member is enrolled at the school;
  • you are an older student;
  • your family’s main wage earner is unemployed;
  • you or a member of your family works at the school; or
  • you recruit another student

6.     Buy Used Books

Buy used text books. Then when you finish the course, consider selling books you won’t need back to the bookstore, online, or to someone else. Also look online for textbooks. You may find a better deal from an online retailer than from the school bookstore, or you may be able to download a less expensive electronic version to your computer or eReader.