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5 College Tuition Tips for a Lower Bill

That big number on the tuition bill is daunting to every college student and parent. However, there are plenty of ways to lower your college costs. Here are just a few.

This blog originally appeared on PrepExpert.com.

Every student attending college and every parent of a future college student worries about the same thing: the bill. Thankfully, there are plenty of college tuition tips you can use to lower the total cost of school. Use these five easy tuition tips to make going to college less expensive.

1. Take Advanced Placement (AP) classes

A common method students use to reduce tuition costs is by taking AP classes in high school. The benefits of doing so include:

  • Getting you ready for college-level coursework
  • Earning transferrable credits

The key to earning those credits is taking and scoring well on the corresponding AP exams. If you put in the hard work and score well, those AP credits will eliminate the need to take various classes early on in college. By skipping those classes, you’ll save money by not having to pay for them.

Related: 6 Ways to Reduce the Cost of College

2. Apply for grants and scholarships

While in high school, two of the best money options available for paying college tuition are grants and scholarships. This “free money” is valuable to every student because, unlike loans, it doesn’t have to be paid back. The more grant and scholarship money you can secure, the less need you’ll have for federal loans. What’s even better is that you can keep looking for free money while you’re in college; there’s no specific cutoff for the process itself. Keep hunting for funds, even if you’re only a year or two away from graduation. Places to look for this money include:

  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Honor societies
  • Churches
  • Corporations
  • And sites like CollegeXpress

3. Don’t pay with credit cards

It’s tempting to put everything on a card during college. The credit card companies count on that temptation. However, you will only put yourself into debt and be hit with ridiculously high interest rates and other fees. Don’t be afraid to use a credit card for minor purchases to build a credit history or in the case of an emergency. Outside of that, keep within your borrowing limit and don’t slap tuition bills on them.

Related: Understanding the Dangers and Benefits of Credit Cards

4. Consider CLEP exams

CLEP (College-Level Examination Program) offers 34 specific exams in various subjects. The idea is that these exams cover many intro-level college course credits. If you take one of these exams and pass it, you’ve basically tested out of having to take the corresponding college course. If you pass a CLEP exam, you can earn at least three college credits at nearly 3,000 corresponding schools. The more credits you can earn before entering college, the less you’ll have to ultimately pay. It’s a win-win situation, especially for subjects you’re already well versed in.

5. Consider community college

Community college is a cost-effective way of earning intro-level credits for a significantly lower price. Many students will complete their first two years at a community college to get those prerequisites. If you want to get into your dream school but don’t want to pay dream school tuition, community college is a great way to shrink that bill.

Related: Top 10 Reasons to Study at a Community College

Thanks to Prep Expert for sharing this blog with us! College costs seem like they’re locked in stone, and there’s nothing you can do about it. But with a little creative thinking, preplanning, and hard work, you can find ways to lower the costs of college while still getting an excellent academic experience.

Read the original blog on PrepExpert.com, and find scholarships to lower your tuition costs with our Scholarship Search tool.

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AP classes college tuition financial aid grants scholarships

About Shaan Patel

Shaan Patel

Shaan Patel is the founder of Prep Expert Test Preparation, a #1 bestselling SAT & ACT prep author, an MD/MBA student at Yale and USC, and the winner of an investment deal with billionaire Mark Cuban on ABC’s Shark Tank. He raised his own SAT score from average to perfect using 100 strategies taught in Prep Expert's SAT and ACT courses.

 

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