Creative ways to reduce college costs

Yes, you can make college more affordable



Do you think it’s too late to start saving for college? It isn’t.

The truth is even if you are in high school and haven’t started saving there are still things you can do to make college more affordable.

Get college credit early

Many high schools offer advanced placement (AP) courses that allow students who test at a certain level to earn college credit. In addition, check to see if colleges in your area offer concurrent enrollment, which means you would be taking college courses for high school and college credit at the same time and for little or no extra money.

Go for 2 first

Begin your college career at a local two-year community college, a cheaper alternative that will offer you many of the same experiences of a four-year university. After taking core courses, you can transfer to a four-year school and save a lot of cash while still moving toward your undergraduate degree.

Stay local, go public

Attending college at a public college or university in New Hampshire is a smart financial choice for many students and families. The average cost of attending a four-year public university in New England is $9,391 per year, while a private university will cost you $32,857 per year *(In-state tuition and fees according to College Board). That means you can attend more than three years at a public university for the same cost of one year at a private school.

Utilize your savings

As your high school career winds down, make a concerted effort to save as much as possible from your part-time or summer employment. These savings can be used to purchase books, supplies and class materials. You may also need money during your first week of school to pay for parking passes, phone and cable setup. If you are able to save a considerable amount of money, you can either use this for spending money throughout the semester, or use it to help pay a portion of the tuition costs.

 Look for deals on textbooks

You have options when it comes to textbooks. Check out your college bookstore’s selection of used textbooks first. Usually they are in very good condition and sold at a discount. Try using the Internet to find great deals. Check out these sites for great deals and bargain books: www.eFollett.com, www.bigwords.com, www.amazon.com, www.half.com. You can also rent, yes, rent your textbooks, for a huge savings. Take a look on www.chegg.com to get more information. Check in advance for your textbook requirements for your upcoming classes -- this will give you more time to shop around.

Higher education incentives

Borrowing to pay for tuition can be a little nerve-wracking for families, but you should know there are some benefits associated with paying college costs. Families and students should go to www.irs.gov to find out about the American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credit, Tuition and Fees Deduction and Student Loan Interest Deduction.

Outside scholarships

Search within your school counseling office or website for local scholarships. Also contact the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation at 1-800-464-6641 or go to www.nhcf.org for additional scholarship opportunities. For national searches, consider www.fastweb.com.

Loan forgiveness opportunities

There are opportunities for those who qualify to have their federal loans canceled or forgiven. Loan forgiveness programs exist for a number of professionals including teachers, those that serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, medical professionals, or for those work in the nonprofit sector. Take a look at the financial aid section of www.nhheaf.org for more information.

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