College is a daunting experience. Today, with the constantly rising price tag on tuition, it can be an extremely costly one as well. While a degree will see a significant improvement to the number of high-paying careers available to you, paying your way through four years of classes can be a difficult enterprise. There are a few ways to try and cut down on college costs that can mean the difference between Ramen diets and having enough extra for fun weekend plans.

5-ways-to-save-on-college-costImage Credit

Preparation

This is probably one of the hardest things to do just because the best preparation begins years before you ever head to college. Having a college fund set aside can make a huge difference, even if it only started in high school from a part-time job. The other major college prep is taking AP or college classes while still in high school. College courses are covered by state programs for high school students, and knocking out a few general classes early can save you thousands in tuition. AP courses are nationally accepted, and most College in the Schools courses will transfer credits to whatever schools you apply to.


Stay Close to Home

It may be appealing to travel across the country, but costs are almost always going to be higher at an out of state university. States subsidize tuition costs for in-state residents, so by attending the state university you stand to save thousands of dollars over the course of four years. On top of that you don’t have to deal with plane flights, shipping all of your possessions, and hotel costs for visiting family members.

Another thing to look at is online courses, where a number of reputable organizations like the University of Arizona have started offering masters in public health online. It may not be as glamorous as studying in Palm Beach, but you could get a master of public health and roll straight into a career from anywhere in the country.


Scholarships

Some of them may be fiercely competitive, but each year millions of dollars in scholarships are awarded to tens of thousands of students. Take some time to check out local scholarships that may not be as competitive to apply for, as well as looking through the internal offerings of the college you will be attending.


Get a Part-Time Job

It might not quite jive with the freedom that you were expecting from moving out for college, but it will help keep a roof over your head and food in your fridge. Even if you have managed to cover all of your collegiate expenses through scholarships and grants, working just ten hours a week will give you a decent amount of pocket money for exploring campus and going out on the weekends.

Also see: 20 Ways Students Can Earn Money Online


The decision to attend college is a huge one whether you’re coming straight from high school or are returning to the educational system after years away. Making sure you have an idea of the program that you want to enter will be invaluable, as will applying to multiple universities that provide it.