How to cut your college costs

Don’t let your dream school’s advertised tuition cost deter you from applying.  Yes, college is an investment, but just because it’s an investment doesn’t mean you can’t get a good deal. There are plenty of ways to cut the cost of college education and be smart about your investment. We have a few tips here to help you out.

1. Financial Aid and Student Loans.

There are lots of options to apply for financial aid and student loans to assist you with that hefty tuition bill. Upon acceptance, you can see what types of aid you qualify for by going directly through the school’s financial aid office or check into other popular types of government aid such as FAFSA, Federal Student Aid, or StudentLoans.gov.

Be cautious though because while financial aid is the most basic and most frequent means of making sure that tuition bill gets paid, it is also the number one cause of student debt. Why? Any loans or aid you take, you must pay back, plus interest. Forbes estimates that it costs about $2 to pay back every $1 borrowed in student loans, so it’s important to keep that in mind when applying for Financial Aid and looking over your package. Forbes recommends looking at the net price (the cost of the school subtracting only scholarship and gift aid) so you can have a better sense of what you might need to borrow.

2. Scholarships and Grants.

There are more scholarships out there than you might think. Your family history, ethnicity, or even a passion for fly fishing could land you some free cash, so there is no reason to not put in the extra leg work. Check out this list of unique scholarships from College Prowler.

3. Crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding is a collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations. So how can this help you? GoEnnounce is a crowdfunding site just for students! You can create a “Mission” to fundraise for any school related expenses (including tuition) and also share your accomplishments and goals as a student with potential donors. The best part about fundraising with GoEnnounce is the ability for you to stay connected with donors after your fundraiser is complete by continuing to share educational updates.

This way you maintain a relationship with the people who care and want to support you (even donate to a future fundraising “Mission”!) along the way

When considering crowdfunding options, remember, GoEnnounce specializes in educational crowdfunding.  The site gives you instant access to every $ donated and charges one of the lowest crowdfunding fees out there – deducting only 3.5% from each donation as it comes in.

Still don’t feel like it’s affordable? Try investigating tuition free options.

There are several schools out there that upon acceptance have no tuition cost and students only pay for room and board, books, supplies and personal expenses, and even better some even offer scholarships to help you pay for those too.  Some examples are Cooper Union, in New York City, and Alice Lloyd College, in Kentucky (a tuition-free for students in the Central Appalachian service area) US News created a top 12 list of tuition free institutions including several work and learn schools.

But most importantly, make a budget.

Find out what makes up the tuition bill each semester at the school you want to attend, and make a list of the average cost of things you will need. Ask students how much their average book bill costs when you are on a tour. Get a sense of what the school’s holiday break schedule is like and how often you will be coming home. Greek life, club sports and other campus clubs are a great way to meet people and get involved on campus, but some have annual or semester dues, which is something to include in your budget. Bonus hint: it is cheaper to eat with your meal plan than it is to order take out every night.

Good luck.

Meghan & Melissa from GoEnnounce

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