Unconventional Ways to Save on College Tuition

Finding solutions to expensive tuition rates for college may take some legwork, but it is definitely possible to get a degree for less than the conventional rate of tuition. In some cases, you may even get a free education, provided you don’t mind doing a lot of self-study or don’t mind taking a bit longer to finish your degree. Some things to consider when trying to save money on college are:

  • How quickly do you want to get your degree?
  • Are you hoping to go Ivy League, or does it matter?
  • How good are you at studying on your own?
  • Do you have any skills or knowledge that you can apply toward college credit?
  • How much time do you have to invest in your degree?

After answering the questions above this paragraph, you should have an idea of which college saving devices will be most appropriate for you. College tuition saving plans include testing out of subjects; preparing prior-learning packages, using tuition assistance through your employer, making payment plans to your college, and using tax credits.


As you start with your college you can look for a science tutor (click here to find one, or you can start teaching yourself if you are really good. This way you can earn more money and get better grades as well. Getting a science tutor will help you in covering up your course as you work part-time.


Advanced Placement (AP): High School

High schools offer advanced placement classes. These classes are difficult but offer a final test that can be counted as college credit. Depending on the score a student gets on these tests, many colleges will accept credit for the classes taken. There usually is a fee for the test; however, the fee for the test is usually significantly lower than paying for the class at a college. Also, many students can get a waiver that will reduce or even dismiss the fee altogether. Ask the high school guidance counselor about these tests.


The College Level Examination Program has two types of tests that someone can take: general and subject. If you can find a testing center, you can take a CLEP test on almost any subject, and again, depending on your score, you can receive college credit for this test. Anyone can take these tests, though they are 100% free for military members. If you can take free CLEP tests, you should go for it. These tests usually cost the same as only one college credit at a community college or even less. In short, you will only pay about a third of your college costs if you take a CLEP, and if your school is more expensive, you’re saving much, much more! Check into your library, because usually, they have study materials for these tests. Ask colleges if they administer CLEP’s, and if not, your study materials will have information as to where to obtain and take these tests.


DANTES Subject Standardized Tests are similar to CLEP tests. The DSST was originally developed to offer members of the military a way to earn college credit by taking examinations on subjects for which they’ve gained experience or formal military training. Anyone can take one, though, whether you’re in high school, a military member, or a civilian. CLEP and DANTES both have websites where you can find study information as well as testing information.

Other Ways to Save Money

Dual Enrollment: High school students can take advantage of something called “Dual Enrollment.” This means that they are taking high school classes at the college level for college credit. This program usually works in conjunction with local community colleges.

Payment Plans: Your school probably offers a payment plan so that you can pay for your tuition in a monthly payment. The benefit of this is that you bypass the huge student loans and the associated interest on those loans. The plans can be very affordable. So, instead of buying a new (or newer car), get your clunker fixed and make payments toward your education rather than for a car.

Taxes: You can get tax credits for going to college. Depending on which state you live in, your circumstances, and how much money you make, you might even get most of your tuition back to you! It’s a great deal. You should talk to a tax preparer to get information on this one.

Community College: While you won’t bypass college tuition altogether, going to a community college definitely saves you a ton of money. Many community colleges cost almost half of what universities cost. If you’re worried about what future employers will think, don’t. You can still go to a great university when you graduate from community college, just be sure to put your all into your work and get great grades!