Saturday, January 24, 2009

How to Make College Less Expensive


I am not a financial adviser, nor do I have children in college. I am just a woman with A LOT of student loan debt. Hind sight is 20/20. So with the knowledge I now have this is the way I would have saved money on college.

Feel free to pass some of these tips on to anyone you know who is college bound.

Things You Can Do in High School

1. Take A.P. classes
A.P. classes are a great way to get some of your general education classes out of the way (for free). The fewer classes you have to take, the more money you save.

2. Get Good Grades (I did this)
I graduated high school with a B average, with that I was able to get a small grant for my freshman year. Money saved. If I had it to do again I would have really tried for an A average.

3. Go to Summer School (I did this too)
Back in my day (Class of 97) it was very hard to graduate high school early. I think the school got more money if they had a certain amount of students. But if you live some where that they will let you skip a grade and/or graduate early do it. This looks good for colleges and you may get a scholarship. If not (this is if you want to go to an out of state public school), you can move to the state that you want to go to school. After you live in a state for a year you become a resident (unless the rules have changed). Residents get in-state tuition, this can be the difference between $100 a credit and $400 a credit.

Things To Do In College

1. Go to Community College
At most schools the first two years is dedicated to taking general education classes. For a fraction of the cost you can go to community college, take the same classes, and save a lot of money.

2. Go to a Public School
Now days most public universities are just as good as private universities. Unless going to Harvard or Princeton are family traditions (in which your parents can probably can afford to pay for your school anyway) find a good public school and save some money

3. Go to an In-State School
Most states have at least one stand out school (I'm lucky Florida has 5 that I can think of off the top of my head). Find one with the major you are interested in and go to it. If there isn't one in your state, consider moving there for a year and become a resident.

4. Try Not to Take Private Student Loans and/or Take Only What You Need.
This was my down fall. The first time I went to college I had federal loans and I took every cent I could get. Not to bad considering it was a public school. The second time I went to college I went to a private school and had to take out a private student loan. I still took every cent I could get. BIG Mistake.

So, those are my thoughts. Please add any that you may have.


  1. Adding to that, where I went to high school, we had offered to us PSEO, also known as Post Secondary Enrollment Option. You had to meet certain qualifications, but it allowed you to take courses at colleges for credit, and all was paid for by the state. I believe this actual program is just in MN, but they may have other similar programs in other states!

  2. The thing about "AP" courses that screwed me over in the end:

    my guidance counselor told me I looked like a "smart girl"and therefore should be placed in AP classes. I didn't realize in order to use those AP classes as college credit you have to score a certain average on AP tests at the end of the year.

    Needless to say, I didn't score high enough to qualify, and being in AP classes (that were way over my head) actually made me get lower grades than if I were in regular classses. Therefore, I was doubly screwed!

    Lesson - only take AP classes if you are smart enough and/or savvy enough to pass the tests and maintain good grades in the classes.

  3. Lol! Those in debt think alike!

  4. Actually - I have a better idea than the AP classes . The thing about AP classes is that you pay like 300 for the test , but if you dont get minimum of 3 out of 5 then you dont get credit ( and at my school its a minimum of 4 ) . A better option is taking a class or two at the local junior college. I did this because I did not want to do all of the work in the class and honestly I did not feel I could handle it