Tips to Trim College Bills

Tuition is expensive — about $8,240 on average for tuition and fees for in-state public college, $28,500 for private1 — so how can you lessen the bite? Try these steps.

Shorten the timeline. Ask your student to work with an academic adviser to plan each semester’s schedule. One reason for longer-than-average college stays: changing majors or adding minors. Early on, students should target courses that apply to several majors. Some students may be able to finish in as little as three years by taking extra courses during the summer.

Consider community college. While the costs for four-year universities increased an average of 5.6% per year from 2001-2012, the average net price of a community college increased by less than 1% between 2007 and 2009!2 Credits are often transferrable to four-year universities and can save you thousands in tuition.3

Negotiate financial aid. Not happy with your student’s financial aid package? Negotiate! Financial aid applications usually don’t take into account large medical bills, loss of a job, supporting a relative, or other unusual but legitimate expenses. If you feel your actual financial situation wasn’t accounted for, appeal for more need-based aid.

  1. “College Costs FAQs,”, viewed September 17, 2012
  2. USA Today, viewed June 13, 2012
  3. Ibid

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