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4 Ways to Make College More Affordable

by Martha Simmonds

There’s no doubt that college can be expensive. Between tuition, activity fees, room & board, books, meal plans, and all the other incidentals that come with enrollment, the final bill can be staggeringly high. Luckily, there are ways to help cut down on costs while still getting a quality education. If higher education is on the horizon for you, here are four tips to help make it a financial reality.

1. Explore Tuition-Free Online Courses

Many universities are now offering online courses at a reduced rate. Some may even be offering free online courses. Your chosen school may be part of this trend, so be sure to check the course catalog. For instance, you can find humanities classes online for a fraction of the cost and still be eligible for credit at other universities. If online learning isn’t an option at your school, look into the credit transfer policy. You may be able to earn credit towards your degree by taking courses offered by other schools.

If you can knock out some of your core or prerequisite classes online for free or for a reduced price, you may be able to reduce the number of semesters that you have to pay for. That can add up to thousands of dollars in savings without compromising the quality of your education.

2. Rent Textbooks & Supplies

If you’ve ever spent time on a college campus, chances are that you’re aware of the thriving second-hand market for books and supplies. Full-price new textbooks and supplies can cost hundreds of dollars each semester. Thankfully, there are options to help reduce this cost.

Some websites and bookstores now offer rentable textbooks and supplies. You pay a small fee to have the item for the semester, and then you return it at the end of the course. It not only saves you money, but it can help cut down on the clutter of old books in your dorm room.

3. Purchase Used or Refurbished Electronics

Outside of tuition and books, one of the largest expenses in college are the required electronics. A laptop computer is practically a requirement for success in the modern scholastic world. You could save quite a bit of money by purchasing a used or refurbished device vs a new one.

Many manufacturers offer used or refurbished models for sale in their stores or online. You can trust that each device has been carefully tested and repaired, so you’re still getting a quality device for a fraction of the cost of new. Some devices may also come with guarantees of performance, which will protect you if something goes wrong.

4. Apply for Scholarships & Grants

Scholarships and grants are a great way to help reduce your tuition and other school fees. Your school may offer these in-house, so check with the financial aid department for the list of scholarships and grants that you may qualify for. You can also find thousands of scholarships and grants online through companies, private donors, and more. You don’t have to only apply before you first enroll either- many will let you apply at any time in your collegiate career.

College doesn’t have to be prohibitively expensive. Finding ways to save money here and there can add up to big savings. Explore online courses, opt for rented or used books and devices, and apply for scholarships and grants to help reduce your total bill. All of these may make your college experience more affordable without compromising on quality.

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