10 Ways to Save Money on College Tuition


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With the average college tuition increasing at twice the rate of inflation, it may seem impossible to plan for that college-degree future you’ve always dreamed of. But savvy students who are willing to do the research can find ways to save money on college tuition.

1. Fill Out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Form

The FAFSA application is your first step to reduced tuition costs. FAFSA is your avenue to grants, loans, work-study opportunities, and state-based aid. It also provides the colleges you apply to information so they can consider you for institutional scholarships. Regardless of your ability to pay, don’t give up your chance to access a variety of financial aid options.

2. Compare Cost to Attend

In addition to tuition, there can be many expenses associated with attending college. From room and board to fees and books, the costs can add up. And tuition per credit hour can cost more than $1,000 at some colleges. Be sure to look at several schools and consider what they offer at what price. Look for low tuition costs and reduced tuition rates as you advance toward a degree.

3. Consider an Online College

An online college eliminates the cost of on-campus room and board. Did you know that if you attend an in-state public college, room and board can actually cost more than tuition? With an online college degree program, you can keep your current job so you don’t sacrifice earnings and attend classes whenever it is convenient for you. And since you won’t live on campus, there will be no additional room and board; you don’t even need to pay for the cost of the commute because there isn’t one.

4. Leverage Transfer Credits

Do you already have some credits toward a degree? Choose a university that will honor them and transfer them to a degree. Some schools will also give you credit for work experience, military training, certifications you have earned, or national exams that you passed. These might include the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST), Joint Service Transcripts (JST), or Community College of the Air Force (CCAF). Check out the policies of the schools and consider speaking with someone from Admissions before you apply.

5. Start with a Certificate

Before you enroll in a degree program, test the waters with a certificate. Certificates allow you to attain knowledge and check out a career path before committing to a long-term degree and its associated costs. Many colleges offer professional certificates in a variety of disciplines. Just be sure to check that all the credits you earn in a certificate program will be accepted when you apply for an Associate or Bachelor’s degree.

6. Consider the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC)

You can have 100% of your college tuition paid for plus book allowances and stipends if you contract with the Army or other branches of the military at the beginning of your first, second or third year of college. If you choose this ROTC path, you commit to serving in the military for a certain number of years after graduating.

7. Use Your GI Bill Benefits

If you are a Veteran, be sure to find out if you qualify for GI Bill college tuition, housing, and books and supplies benefits. The amount will depend on the length of your active-duty service.

8. Do an Online Search for College Scholarships

You’d be surprised how many scholarships go unused every year because students think it’s not worth the time and effort to apply. Check out sites such as Peterson’s and Scholarships.com that offer extensive lists categorized by your area of interest. Start well in advance of the time you plan to begin college.

9. Research Professional Associations

Many professional associations ranging from the National Shoe Retailers Association to the Garden Club of America to the American Marketing Association offer scholarships for college. Some offer student memberships so joining may increase your chances.

10. Take Advantage of Employer Tuition Benefits

Ask your current employer if they offer tuition reimbursement. Many companies want to encourage your advancement and offer this as an employee benefit. You may need to pay your tuition upfront and then file for reimbursement once you receive an adequate grade, but if your employer offers this perk, take advantage. Find out, though, if the tuition payment means you need to commit to staying with the company for a certain period of time after you get your degree.


At National American University, we offer affordable online degree programs for a variety of career paths. We also have a generous transfer policy and reduced tuition as you progress toward applicable undergraduate degrees. Request more information now to get started on the path to your degree.


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