Tips for Lowering the Cost of Higher Education
College tuition has increased at more than twice the rate of inflation over the past several decades, and student debt has increased, both in terms of number of students with loans and how much they borrow. Here are some strategies for lowering the cost of higher education and reducing student debt.
Start saving early
Set up college savings accounts for your children at a young age and watch them grow! And check out the Minnesota College Savings Plan, a qualified tuition program where earnings are tax-free while invested and tax exempt when withdrawn for qualified higher education expenses.
Prepare while in high school
Don't let college or career school "sticker shock" discourage you from applying
- Apply for financial aid by filling out the FAFSA
- Apply for aid even if you think you won't be eligible, you may be eligible for institutional grants and scholarships you don't know exist at the college you are considering; financial need is not limited to low-income families
- Figure out the "net price" (cost after financial aid)
While in college, consider the following money-saving options
- Live at home to lower living and miscellaneous expenses
- Buy used textbooks whenever possible
- Live like a student
- Don't work too much (sometimes it makes more sense to take out a loan if it allows you to graduate sooner)
- Carry a full load of credits as much as possible
- Attend summer school to get ahead