Save More, Borrow Less
Save Before You Start Higher Education
- Maximize college credits during high school. Credit you earn from Advanced Placement or community college classes you take while in high school may transfer as college credits and this will help you save on college tuition.
- Attend an in-state school or take core classes at a community college. Both options may lower the cost of core classes. If you plan to transfer during your college education, make sure that your prospective college will allow transfer credits.
- Shop around for the best options for room and board. Compare the costs of on-campus and off-campus living arrangements. Strongly consider living at home if that is an option. Research the full costs of renting an apartment and explore roommate options.
- Ask friends and family for money for your college fund. Instead of graduation gifts, ask for contributions for your higher education savings. Even better, see if your college savings plan offers a gifting program where gifts can be contributed directly.
- Get a part-time job. Every extra dollar you earn is one that you won’t have to borrow for school, and the experience will serve you well for the future.
Save While You Are Attending School
- Find a part-time job on campus. Many colleges and local organizations offer part-time jobs for students. Think about working at a local business or in some capacity in the field you intend to pursue.
- Choose your classes carefully. Make smart choices for classes and try to graduate in four years or less.
- Buy used books or share. Textbooks can come with a hefty price tag. Look around for discount bookstores or buy used books from your campus bookstore. If you share classes with your roommate or friends, offer to share textbooks.
- Find roommates. Share the cost of housing with other people.
- Ditch your car. Does your campus have public transportation or ridesharing? Leave your car at home to save on parking, gas, insurance and maintenance.
- Eat at the dining hall. You’ll probably have to pay for a meal plan anyway, so use it for daily meals instead of spending additional money on groceries and restaurants.
- Maximize the free fun on campus. Seek out free concerts, lectures, events and other things to do on campus that are free, to reduce your entertainment expenses.
- Workout at your school gym instead of paying for a private gym membership. Many campuses have excellent fitness facilities at no cost. Take advantage of them to reduce your expenses.
- Consider graduating early. Take classes over the summer or add more courses during the year to finish a semester early, which can save you housing costs.