Alternatives to College Financing: 10 Ideas You May Never Have Considered

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The incredible costs of a college education has every parent and student concerned for their future plans. The following is a list of 10 methods to cut college costs. The list is provided by www.bankrate.com and it could provide help to those people looking for any room to breathe.

1. Get College Credit in High School: Students can take AP college credited classes, with the help of a knowledgeable counselor, which will help to cut down on the number of courses need to graduate from college. Most AP courses are paid for by the high schools so as not to deter students from enrolling.

2. Junior Colleges: If you can convince your student, spending the first year or two in college at a JC is a huge cost savings. In many cases, students have yet to declare a major. In these cases, general education requirements can be fulfilled at a JC. The cost savings in tuition, books, supplies, housing, food, and travel may give a student and parent a head start on costs for graduate tuitions.

3. Cash in on Tax Credits: “What students need to know is that there’s the Hope and the Lifetime Learning tax credits,” says Joseph M. Re, author of “Financial Aid Financer: Expert Answers to College Financing Questions.”

“If you play those right, you can pick up $7,000 from Uncle Sam (over a four-year period) to pay for college. The Hope credit provides a $1,500 tax credit for each student for the first two years of college, as long as you are the one paying for college — rather than the federal government or private financial aid. (Parents who claim the student as a dependent on their tax return would be eligible for the credit.) The key to taking advantage of this credit, Re says, is to plan ahead and be aware of the stipulations.”

4. Rewards for Public Service: Some organizations like Americorps, the Peace Corps and Teach for America all offer educational service awards to students seeking cash for college.

5. Work for the College: According to Susan Hall her job with the University of Richmond (VA) comes with the “school’s tuition remission program which allows her, her spouse, and any of her dependents to attend the university for free, provided that they have the grades and test scores to make it into the school.” The benefits are obvious.

6. Pay Lower Out of State Tuition: Due to the complexity of this strategy, I am quoting www.bankrate.com :

“Get an out-of-state education, pay an in-state price. That’s the beauty of the Academic Common Market. Designed for students who can’t find their desired program of study in-state, the Academic Common Market allows students from any of the 16 member states to enroll in an institution in another member state without footing an out-of-state tuition bill. Reciprocity agreements such as the Academic Common Market, the National Student Exchange, and the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (which allows students to attend out-of-state public schools in member states at 150 percent the cost of in-state public school tuition or offers a ten percent discount at out-of-state private schools in member states) are some of the best-kept secrets of the financial aid world. If you’ve got your eye on an esoteric program of study (18th century French architecture?) or are set on a certain out-of-state school, taking advantage of a reciprocity agreement can save you money.”

7. Refinance Your Home: The home is normally the greatest asset a parent can count on for quick cash. A cash out refinance can provide the majority of funds needed to get a student through to their degree.

8. Qualify Student as “Independent”: “If you qualify as an independent and your income is very low, you probably would be eligible for a Pell grant which would be for $4,100 and you would probably be eligible for an FSEOG grant which would be another $4,000,” says Joseph Re. An independent student therefore would have a much easier time qualifying for grant monies than a family with an income in excess of $50,000 per year.

* Consult your tax accountant or attorney on all of the strategies outlined here but especially this one.

9. Attend a “Work College” : Work Colleges allow a student to work a part time job at the university between 10-20 hours per week. The becomes an employee of the college and as such earn a sizable reduction in tuition costs. Check out the Work College Consortium.

10. Establish Residency in the State of your College choice: “If you really want to pay in-state prices, the best way to do that is simply to live in-state before you enroll in school. To establish residency, independent students or families (when students are dependent) must show proof of living in state for at least one year prior to enrolling in school. Remember to throughly check and investigate the requirements of each state/college in regards to residency. Check out The College Board’s Web site.

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