The price of tuition is rising sharply, and it’s enough to give anyone a whole lot of anxiety. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to cut costs along the way. Here are a few ways to get you started saving money.
• Look beyond big-ticket scholarships. It’s good to apply for large scholarships, but keep in mind that many smaller scholarships may be less competitive. And they can quickly add up, covering the cost of books and other supplies.
• Understand the real cost of loans. Student loans can be really confusing. Exhaust all options for financial aid, scholarships, and grants before applying for any private loans. And look to low-interest government loans before ever considering a private loan, which will likely have a much higher interest rate and less favorable terms.
• Make a budget. It’s easy to let expenses get out of control when it’s your first time living away from home. Sit down with your parents, high school counselor, or other mentor to get some advice on creating a simple budget to help you stay on track.
• Consider being a resident advisor. At many schools, resident advisors (RAs) get free or reduced fees on housing.
• Look at campus housing. This can often be less expensive than living in a nearby apartment.
• Spend your summer right. Use your time wisely by getting a part-time job or taking extra classes at your local community college to cut down on costs.
• Stay on track. The longer you’re in school, the higher your costs will be. Be sure to ask for help if you run into trouble academically or otherwise. There are lots of resources on campus to help you get through obstacles.