Looking for colleges you can afford? Not sure if such a college exists? If you’re shocked by the cost of college, you’re not alone. However, there are affordable colleges out there. It’s just a matter of finding a college that wants you enough to give you a great financial aid package or finding scholarships, grants and opportunities that will reduce costs.
The following are all ways to find affordable college options:
Community college classes cost much less than traditional college courses. Take the first year or two of courses at a community college and then transfer to the college of your choice. You’ll save a bundle.
Work-Study or Coop Programs
Look into work-study programs or co-op programs where you can work one semester, then goes to college for a semester, and the place of employment covers all or some of your tuition. If you can’t find a co-op program, check into part time work opportunities at your college. Many of these will also give you valuable experience that will help you find a job upon graduation.
AP Classes (or Other Test-Out Options)
If you still in high school, take as many AP (advanced placement) courses as possible or pay to test out of college courses. You will have to pay for the tests, but this is significantly cheaper than paying full-price for college tuition.
Small Colleges With a Specific Focus
Look into what sorts of students smaller colleges are trying to attract to see if you can get a scholarship or grants related to filling a certain niche need. Small colleges are known for offering generous scholarships or grants to students who fit their diversity, athletic or specific-talent requirements. This is where playing the oboe instead of the flute may give you an edge!
Need-based Grants and Scholarships
If your parents don’t make a lot of money, you may qualify for a need-based scholarship. Be sure to fill out the FAFSA form to see if you qualify for a grant or scholarship. Beware that you will need to qualify for financial aid every year, so you may lose this aid if your parents get better jobs or start making more money.
Merit-Based Grants and Scholarships
If you are especially talented or bright, you might qualify for an academic or talent-related scholarship, especially if you are looking at smaller colleges who need to offer good financial packages to get attention.
Not all online colleges are a bargain, but some of them charge significantly less than typical colleges. If you can take up to half of your classes through a low-cost online college, you can then finish college at the college of your choice. This will save you a lot of money for those first two years of college.
Combine Strategies to Find a College You Can Afford
You may need to use several of these strategies in succession in order to afford college, but the education will pay off in the end. College-educated adults are more likely to find employment and usually make more money than their uneducated peers.