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How To Reduce College Costs

"The best guidance you can give your child is a path to a higher education."
~Alvaretta Roberts~

To get a college degree, or more than one, is a great life experience that most people, young or old, rich or poor, want more than anything else. Enrolling in college has become very competitive because there are more and more students graduating from high school every year with an eye on getting a higher education.

With the economy trying to grow out of the latest recession, many states have been forced to cut back on the funding that is needed to keep classrooms open with qualified professors. Tuition has risen substantially over the past few years and this has made getting a college education very expensive.

The average yearly costs for tuition, room and board, and related expenses is $50,000 or more. This adds up to over $250,000 for a four to five year stint in college. Many student find themselves graduating from college owing up to $100,000 or more in student loans and it can cripple the household budgets of their parents who go into long term debt to help pay for their children's college education.

There are ways to help reduce the cost of college. It is a good idea to start looking into ways that will help lower your family's contribution as soon as possible. Listed below are several things you can do help pay for college tuition.

Need Based Aid: This aid is based on several factors starting with the number of people in the family, the the number of children currently in school, how much the school charges for tuition, and your income and household expenses.

The first thing you should do is to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid form (FAFSA). The information on the FAFSA form combined with your income tax statements will help the federal government calculate your expected family contribution.

Grants and Scholarships: Start looking at ways to win grants, scholarships, fellowships, and other financial incentives as soon as possible. Check with employers, churches, clubs, military service organizations, and other social and business entities to find out if they award grants and scholarships and how students can apply for them.

Academic Focus: Many students don't get serious about college until their senior year in high school. A student should be made to understand that college is expensive and the higher his GPA throughout high school, the better it looks when applying for grants and scholarship.

The School: Try to pick a college that will fit your budget. Some schools are much more expensive than others and some will give more financial aid than others. Do your homework. It's great to go to big name, prestigious schools, but if you don't have the financial backing, go to one that you can better afford.

Graduate on Time: The longer it takes you to graduate the more it's going to cost. How you begin your college years will have an impact on how long it will take you to complete the necessary courses to graduate. Many students get caught up in the partying instead of studying. Get serious from the beginning and make graduating your priority. The partying should take a back seat to passing your classes. If at all possible, try to graduate in four year.

Remember, college students are having to bear a much larger share of the expenses. It has been reported that some are graduating with a hundred thousand dollars or more in student loans that they will have to pay back. This is causing many students to have to make a serious choice as to whether to continue going to college or to drop out altogether.

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