How to Pay Less for College: 6 Ways

When a semester of college can cost more than a parent makes in a year, it is time to look for help. And although the mountain looks immovable, we need to remember that our Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills. If we know we are in His will for our future, He will provide the needed funds. With that in mind, I’d like to share 6 ways to cut that school bill down without taking out student loans. Graduate debt free ! 1. Keep Your Grades Up I earned a full paid scholarship to the local junior college simply for being in the top 10% of my graduating class. My son will transfer from his community college to university for free for carrying a 3.8 grade point average. A high school student needs to ask his guidance counselor for information regarding any opportunities that exist in his local area. Registering with Scholarships.com is another way to discover scholarships. This service will ask a battery of questions regarding extra-curricular activities, parents’ affiliations, area of study, religion and location, and match you up with potential scholarships for which you might qualify. In addition to grades, it is important to be active in the community, have significant adults in your life that can write references like a coach, employer, or youth pastor, and have a polished essay describing your financial need. 2. Apply for Federal Aid Currently the Federal Pell Grant award amount is $5,550. That is more than enough for a student to pay tuition and books at a community college. To apply for the Pell Grant, visit the official website at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ and fill out an application. You will have to have your parents’ current year’s income taxes completed first. It is awarded based on need. If you do not qualify for a Pell Grant, the government has alternative choices like a work/study program. Even if you think you won’t qualify, fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) anyway.  Other scholarship programs will want verification that you did apply for the Pell Grant and will use the information from that application. 3. Dual Enrollment/Early College Our friends have several children that started as university sophomores right out of high school and never paid a dime for their first two years of college. The Early College program is available for high school juniors and seniors that agree to a rigorous program of study in lieu of the mainstream high school curricula. If accepted to this program, the student does not attend their regular high school but moves right into the community college of their choice—for free. According to the Early College website , this program is available in 28 states and District of Columbia. However, many similar programs may be found by doing an Internet search for “early college + state name.” 4. College Level Examination Program For the student proficient in any given field of study, the CLEP test may be a significant way to save some money. Accepted by over 2,900 colleges nationwide, these tests measure what a person may know in a particular area whether from high school study, life experience, or military training. CLEP tests exist for over 30 areas of study such as history and social sciences, composition and literature, science and mathematics, business, and foreign languages. The tests contain mostly multiple choice questions, take 90 minutes to complete, and cost $77. 5. Choose an Alternative Route Rachel Poling graduated from college at the age of 19 with no debt. According to an article on Thriving in the 21 st Century , she used CLEP tests and the coaching service of CollegePlus!™ to help her design her own course of study. In the end, everything transferred to one school which granted her a degree in music. Another option to consider is to enroll in one of the 11 colleges in the United States that offer a free education . These schools obtain their funding through various means and some require a work/study program, but you still end up with the degree. 6. Don’t Go Everyone knows the economy has faltered in the last several years. However, few realize that college grads are some of the hardest hit. Leaving the academic setting with tens of thousands of dollars in debt, last year almost 2 million graduates could not find jobs using their newly earned degrees—or requiring any degree for that matter. Forced to take jobs that require no skill and pay $10/hour or less, many young adults are forced to move back in with their parents just to survive. In light of this information, it makes one question whether a college degree is necessary at all. Before enrolling in a college or university ask yourself a couple questions: Does my chosen field of study require a degree? Is there a demand for employees in my field? Will this career pay enough upon entry to pay back any college debt within a couple years? Is there anything else that I would be happy doing? Wondering how you’re going to pay for your kids’ college education? How do you save money for college ? Take a look at some of these options and see what you think. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. Graduation image from Shutterstock Related Articles: 4 Ways to Maximize College Scholarships and Grants How To Avoid Taking Out Student Loans How To Get More Value Out of Your College Education College Debt & The Student Loan Trap

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How to Pay Less for College: 6 Ways

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