Five Ways to Save Money on College Tuition

Starting the college search is a very exciting time and there are many things  to consider, including college tuition. The key questions that are probably on  your mind are how much will it cost and how will you afford it. Don’t wait until  you find a “dream school” to think about this. Here are five things you need to  know now to save money.

  1. Consider starting at a two-year campus. The least expensive tuition can be  found at in-state two-year campuses. If you attend close to home and can live at  home this can be a great way to save money, assuming your parents don’t mind  keeping you around! If you really want to go for a four-year degree, there is  always the option to transfer to a four-year school.
  2. When it comes to public colleges, stick with in-state tuition options. There  are prestigious public colleges in other states, but if you are interested in  these, be ready to pay high tuition. You may even pay more than you would at a  private college, because public schools don’t heavily discount tuition with  merit aid.
  3. Look for private colleges with large merit scholarships. Private colleges  are not always more expensive than public colleges. Almost no one pays the full  sticker price and that isn’t just considering need-based aid. Many private  colleges give out large merit scholarships to lure bright students away from  ivy-league and other prestigious schools.
  4. Get an estimate of your “net price” at various schools. Net price can be  very different than sticker price. You may find that some schools are much more  affordable than you thought. Most schools have a Net Price Calculator located  within the Admissions section of their website. This calculator will use family  financial information to provide an early estimate of your net price. Use this  estimate loosely, because the real net price can differ. This estimate will give  you a starting place to determine a list of potentially affordable schools. The  best Net Price Calculators also ask for student grades and test scores and  project the merit aid your student will receive.
  5. Always file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Many  parents make the mistake of not filing the FAFSA because they assume their  income is too high to get any financial aid. This isn’t always true and every  school is different. You can’t get any aid if you don’t apply! If the family has  more than one child in college at the same time, you will automatically be  eligible for more aid. Also, filing the FAFSA is the only way to obtain a  federal Stafford loan. Stafford loans tend to have much lower interest rates  than private loans.

Wendy Nelson is a first-time college mom who has approached her daughter’s  college search process using her professional background in Project Management.  She hopes to help others through the college choice process by sharing what she  has learned. For more helpful information to guide you in your college choice  process visit

You will find great tools to use in your college search process at

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