Regardless of your income or the results of your Student Aid Report, every family can benefit from strategies that will help cut the cost of going to college. And the best part is that you can do many of these without buying an insurance or investment product.
One thing to consider is that the average student completes a Bachelor’s degree in more than four years. It is closer to five years. So if you’re thinking that paying for college for four years is bad enough, try adding another year of tuition and see how you’re feeling.
So one way to save on the cost of college is to reduce the time in college.
Think of it this way, for every three-credit course you can get out of the way you can possibly save yourself $1,000 to $2,500.
Strategy 1: Get College Credit Through Exams
When I attended the University of Lowell (way back when it was known as University of Lowell), I had received credit for English because of my grades on an Advanced Placement (AP) test. Your kids can easily do the same thing.
There are more than 1,400 higher education schools that accept AP test scores and give college credit toward their curriculum. There are at least thirty-seven exams covering 22 subject areas.
Most AP tests cost $100 or less. Compare that to the cost of one three-credit college course.
Looking for an additional incentive besides saving money? College admissions officers like students who show they are academically challenging themselves.
For additional information, check out the College Board website (www.collegeboard.com).
College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
Another option to get college credits at more than 2,900 colleges is the self-study CLEP. A student can prepare for the ninety-minute multiple choice exam and by obtaining a passing score of fifty can save thousands in tuition as well as time.
This is a proprietary self-study offering credit in about thirty-seven different areas. To find the list of the 1,900 different colleges and universities that accept the exam for college credit, go to www.getcollegecredit.com.
According to the 2009 CAEL & Lumina Foundation for Education Survey, “students who participate in Prior Learning Assessment (such as DSST exams) are more likely to graduate. And graduate faster.”
International Baccalaureate (IB)
Looking for an international focus to your student’s studies? Consider the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. This two-year self-study program is available for students between the ages of sixteen and nineteen. It is recognized for high academic standards and transfer credits are available to nearly five hundred schools in the US.
Check out the IB website for more information: www.ibo.org.