Does College Have to Be So Expensive?

In most places you look, the numbers related to college costs are dismaying, even alarming. For example, CollegeBoard numbers indicate that four-year public university tuition rates in 2021-2022 were $10,740 for in-state students and $27,560 for out-of-state students. And that is just tuition, not room and board and other expenses. Does college have to be so expensive? The short answer is no. Here’s why.

Many Online Schools Are Affordable

A cheap online education can make all the difference. Choose your school wisely and save on room and board and transportation costs altogether. You will have much less to pay upfront (or repay through loans). Top affordable online schools include the following.

  • Great Basin College, $3,248 tuition
  • BYU-Idaho, $4,300 tuition
  • University of Texas Permian Basin, $4.837 tuition
  • Western Governors University, $6,670 tuition

You can also get inexpensive online degrees from schools that have a brick-and-mortar presence. Take these examples.

  • Florida State College at Jacksonville, $3,916 tuition
  • Fayetteville State University, $5,899 tuition
  • University of Missouri – Saint Louis, $9,435 tuition

Do vet online schools before enrolling to make sure they are legitimate. Shady schools still pop up.

Legitimate schools should have a physical address listed and offer services such as counseling and technical support. They usually do not demand payment immediately. Verify that the online schools you are considering are accredited and through what bodies.

You Can Minimize Living Costs and Related Expenses

Online schools definitely have their place, but what if you want to attend in person? You can do that and still save big! Ways to minimize living costs include finding a school in a low cost-of-living area. Get a place with several roommates for even more savings on rent, utilities, internet, and more.

Otherwise, it might not be “cool” per se to live with your parents or other relatives, but it does make your wallet happy. That is especially true if your family charges you no rent or nominal rent. If you are within reasonable commuting distance, you could live at home for a while. Doing that for even one or two years saves a lot of money and gives you plenty of opportunities to meet future roommates.

Other suggestions to cut down on room and board include using food banks. For example, Central Washington University explains that two food banks and pantries in the college’s community of Ellensburg, Washington, are available to students. Community and government resources typically include food banks, clothing closets, and programs such as SNAP.

Several Things Can Make a Big Difference by Themselves or When Combined

Getting your FAFSA in early when the money supply is abundant tends to get you more money than if you submitted it later. Other things to do include graduating on time. Tacking one or two extra years onto your degree means a lot more money. To graduate early, look into taking college classes in high school. You could also attend community college for two years and transfer to a four-year school.

College can be expensive, no doubt. Hopefully, the things listed above have made it feel more feasible for you.

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