Three Different Ways to Earn a College Degree and Reduce Tuition Costs

A college degree is practically a necessity in today’s job market. However, the cost of attendance at some private schools is now $60,000 a year.

This means a bachelor’s degree could conceivably cost $240,000 if you manage to graduate on time, something less than 40 percent of beginning freshman will accomplish.

Fortunately, there are several ways to lower the cost of your overall education, before you ever set foot on campus.

Here are some ideas you might want to consider.

Dual Enrollment to Earn Extra Credits

Many teens are able to earn high school and college credits at the same time. They attend a university or college part of the day, where they are considered regular students.

Tuition is usually greatly reduced, and, in some cases, may even be free.

I’ve heard from a reliable source that oftentimes, the very best professors are selected to teach this younger group of students, as this is their very first introduction to college life.

Some dual-enrollment programs are publicly funded to help low-income students earn a degree. There is a caveat, though. Some selective schools do not accept credits from a community college, if that’s where you attend to earn early credits. But many institutions do.

CLEP Exams Can Give You a Head Start

These relative short (usually 90 minutes) exams are administered by College Board, the same body that produces and scores the SAT tests.

CLEP exams are designed to test your knowledge in a wide range of subjects, such as biology, algebra, marketing and English literature, to name a few.

Each test currently costs $80, and, if you pass, many colleges count it as three credits towards your degree. When I visited College Board’s site, an advertisement for Miami Dade College said it would accept up to 45 credits in all 33 available subjects.

CLEP tests can be taken at many college campuses, as well as at special testing centers. You can also purchase booklets to brush up on your subject matter.

Life Experience

Many well-respected universities now give credits for life experience. For instance, if you had a key role in someone’s political campaign, it’s possible some of this could be applied toward political science courses.

Some schools have even been known to give a full-year’s credit for life experience.

However, you will also have to prove yourself, and that you learned this material well. Be prepared to write a lengthy essay that outlines and describes the knowledge you’ve gleaned.

Additional Resources

One of the best books I’ve ever read on financing a college education is written by Lynn O’Shaughnessy and it is called The College Solution. The author is a nationally recognized expert on the college admissions process.

Morguefile photo on thumbnail by dhester