Let’s just face the facts: college is expensive. Of course, statistics show that a college degree is an investment that will pay off in the long run. While there may be no way of getting around the large price tag of a great college education, there are ways to make college a little more affordable. How, you ask? Here are some ideas to reduce the cost of college:
- Go full time.
One of the best ways to not only reduce the cost of your college degree, but also graduate sooner, is to go full time. By going to college full time, you are getting through your program faster, which ultimately means starting your new career—and realizing your earning potential—sooner.
For Minnesota School of Business-Rochester student Neil Doyle, who is planning to graduate in June with his bachelor’s degree in health care management, the goal has always been clear: “We ALL have opportunities waiting for us upon graduation and it is very important to remember why we are getting the degree in the first place.”
- Take advantage of the tiered tuition program.
At Minnesota School of Business, when you take 11 college credits or more, you automatically save $35 per credit! If you do this for your entire program, you’ll save yourself approximately $3,150 for an associate degree, and $6,300 for a bachelor’s degree. That’s a lot of savings!
One student currently realizing these savings is Sounantha Christy Thattanakham, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in health care management. She says that it’s a delicate balance between saving money, graduating as soon as possible, and taking on only what one can manage.
She explains, “My motivation is to finish as soon as possible, but to also allow myself to focus and be enriched by the learning experience; therefore, I have not taken any less than 4 classes per quarter nor any more than what I can handle.”
- Consider taking more than 16 credits per quarter.
Sixteen credits per quarter may create a busy schedule, but it can be doable. Keep in mind that if you are able to take more than 16 college credits in a quarter, you won’t be charged for anything beyond 16. The savings can really add up for those students who feel comfortable taking several classes at a time.
Kelly Derby is earning a paralegal bachelor of science degree. She has used this strategy to save a LOT of money. “Fall quarter, I took 18 credits, which saved me 2 credits [worth of tuition],” she said. “This quarter I am taking 19 credits, which is saving me from paying for three credits. So far I have saved over $2,000!”
Of course, students should exercise caution in taking a large amount of credits. Knowing yourself and your ability to be successful with more than 16 credits is essential. Kelly admits that while it can be a challenge, it’s all about focusing on the end goal.
“Attending full-time has become a lifestyle change for me and I love it,” Kelly said. “My life is CRAZY busy, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
- Don’t withdraw from or fail any college classes.
It probably sounds like a no-brainer, but students who don’t drop or fail classes save money, simply because they do not have to retake classes and therefore REPAY for those classes! Think of it this way: if you have to retake a four-credit class because you didn’t pass or decided to withdraw from it, it’s like adding four credits (which is $1,840!) to the cost of your program.
- Buy used textbooks.
Not all books have a used textbook option through the MSB online bookstore, but many do. Whenever possible, purchase a used book to save a few dollars. Check with friends or other classmates to see if they may have the book you need and make arrangements with them to borrow or buy the book for a reduced cost.
- Consider test-outs.
Several college classes, especially general elective courses, have test-out options. Some students may already have the skills that would be taught in a particular class, and therefore may qualify to take a test-out. If you successfully pass the test-out, you will get college credit for the class, which counts toward your program requirements without having to pay for the class! Every successful test-out could potentially save you over a thousand dollars!
- Pursue scholarship opportunities.
Whether it be one of MSB’s own scholarships, like the Community Service Scholarship, Matching Scholarship, or Business Alliance Scholarship, or an outside scholarship through a local business, organization, individual, or service club, scholarships can help bring down your overall costs for school. Spending a little time researching scholarship options can prove to save you thousands of dollars down the road.