5 Ways to Lower the Cost of Tuition
By: Caydon Burnett
(1) Two-Step Method
This method involves splitting your studies between two schools. For example, start off at your local community college for all your general, lower-division classes, and then transfer to a university for the upper-division. This is a cheaper alternative to attending all your years at a 4-year university, especially when you realize that the same credits you paid less for transfer to the more expensive university.
(2) Concurrent Credits
If you’re still in high school, consider taking classes that earn college credits, if they are offered. This way, you’re ahead of the game, and your costs are ultimately reduced. If you’re already in college, see if your institution offers summer classes at reduced rates.
(3) Seek Out Scholarships
Scholarships are essentially free money for school. A lot of people don’t bother applying for scholarships because they don’t think it will result in anything, or that they won’t be considered. However, there are TONS of scholarship opportunities that only require you to answer a short questionnaire and/or a short essay on a chosen topic. So, since it doesn’t take much to enter, even if you don’t get selected you got practice in applying and formal writing throughout the process. Overall, even the smallest scholarships, awards, and prizes will add up, thus aiding you in reducing your overall tuition costs. Clarity offers a great scholarship option called the Mary M Jones Scholarship. Named after one of Clarity Credit Union’s visionary board members and faithful supporters, this scholarship is offered once a year and gives students (who are looking to pursue higher education after high school) a chance to win $1,000 to put towards furthering their education.
(4) Location Scout
Geography plays an important role in cost of tuition. In-state, out-of-state, and international locations will ALL have different costs. There are a lot of factors that play into this decision, as many individuals are focused on having the college experience and experiencing life on their own further away from home. Often, those feelings and decisions take precedent over the cost overall, since taking out a loan that you’ll only have to worry about later is always an option (and a popular one). From a financial perspective, in-state is generally the best option, since it’s the most affordable, while there are pros and cons of each, but it is worth understanding how much the location of your desired school will affect your bottom line.
(5) Double Down
Some schools offer an accelerated program, allowing you to complete four-year degrees in three years. That means one less year of tuition for you to pay. This is a good option for people looking to take on more credits in order to finish college quicker, thus shortening your overall time spent there. But bear in mind that this means more classes and a heavier workload squeezed into that shorter time window, potentially eliminating time for a side-job or extracurricular activities. This also may make it difficult to take on an internship towards the end of your degree program unless you obtain one through the university and obtain credits.