Posted by: Abby VanDerHeyden, CFP® on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 12:00:00 pm
College is one of the largest expenses you’ll encounter in your lifetime. Aside from attending an in-state university or receiving scholarships, there are other ways to reduce the amount of money spent on college costs. In addition to saving on tuition, students have the ability to minimize other expenses such as books, room and board. Here are five easy ways to save on costs:
File your FAFSA. According to LendEDU, 10% of college students have never heard of FAFSA and 78% of college students did not know that FAFSA stands for: Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is important to file your FAFSA every year, regardless of your family’s income or net worth. While you may not qualify for needs-based aid, in order to be considered for merit-based aid at your college or university, you should file your FAFSA each year.
Create a Budget. After you have filed your FAFSA and receive your financial aid award letter, create a budget. Many times, your financial aid letter will include more money than you actually need to cover your tuition and living expenses. Establishing a budget and only taking out as many loans that are necessary will help reduce the amount of money you will owe after graduation.
Get a Job. Obtaining a job or even better yet, a paid internship on campus is a great way to earn money to cover tuition, room and board, and book expenses. Aside from earning money, your hard work outside the classroom shows initiative to potential full-time employers. Gaining work and internship experience is a great resume add and may lead to attractive job offers in the future.
Minimize Unnecessary Expenses. Many students feel they need to buy the brand new text book from the university bookstore recommended by the professor. Some students choose the most expensive meal plan to ensure they never go hungry. Instead, compare prices of used textbooks and purchase from online retailers. Don’t go for the most comprehensive meal plan right off the bat; you can always change your plan next semester if needed.
Earn Good Grades. One of the easiest ways to save on college costs is to earn good grades and graduate on time! This seems like a no-brainer but according to National Student Clearinghouse, bachelor’s degree earners take 5.1 academic years to graduate, on average. Graduating on-time and avoiding the unnecessary extension of tuition costs is one of the best ways to save yourself or your parents lots of money.