30 June 2012

Tips For Saving Money In College

As a mom gearing up to pursue my Bachelor's degree this fall, I know the stresses of college costs all too well!  Sure there's your grants, scholarships, and {my not so favorite} student loans, but what else can college students do to cut costs?  For all you other students out there, and those thinking of going back to school, here's some of my tips!

1)  The Obvious - File your FAFSA and apply for as many scholarships as possible.  I have found the best time to get in on as many scholarships as possible is early spring - but start looking right at the beginning of every year and keep your eyes peeled for opportunities through internet search engines for scholarships like Fastweb.com all year long.  They will send you email updates anytime a new opportunity arises!  To explore other financial options to help finance school, you can also check out Wealth Within.

2)  Textbooks Are Expensive - As soon as you can, find out which books will be needed for your upcoming classes and check online through websites like Amazon.com and Ebay.com.  Both are great places to find used copies of textbooks at a discount.  Amazon.com will even buy back the textbooks that your school won't for credit to their website!  There is also the wonderful resource of electronic textbooks and rentals both hard copy and electronic that you can purchase online through many great resources like Kno.com.

3)  While On The Topic Of Textbooks - Textbooks always seem to be coming out with newer versions of the same book.  Twice I took some advice I found online about buying earlier versions that work fine for your classes.  I will tell you that they do work!  I'm not saying go buy the version from 3 or 4 years ago, but if your textbook is available in a previous version - you can pretty much bet it's only been changed by a couple of pages or additions.  The savings by doing this can be huge!

4)   Looking To Complete A Degree Online? - I love distance learning and the whole luxury that comes with online education.  Before you go springing for an online advertised college {no need to drop names here, we have seen them all, right?}, check colleges in your state and take advantage of lower resident tuition rates.  Before finding a great online program here in my home state to get my Bachelor's completely online, I researched plenty online advertised colleges.  Let's just say this:  Paying around $500 per credit is not in my price range!  The online program I found in-state is only going to cost around $225 a credit.  That's more than half off just by sticking with a college in my state!

5)  Commute Wisely! - If you are going to be attending on campus classes, save gas money by carpooling with fellow students or by taking the bus!  Your local bus system is a great option because you can get dropped off right on campus, saving you the hassle of trying to find a parking spot!  The cost of a bus pass compared to how much you could spend on gas from commuting adds up quickly.

Have any tips you would like to add?  Leave a comment!

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