Creative options to reduce college costs
Is it too late to start saving for college? Not really! 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 – you earn both high school and college credit for the courses in which you are enrolled – for much less than the standard price of college coursework.
Ask your school counselor about Running Start courses offered through the Community College System of NH (www.ccsnh.edu) and how you can even take two of these courses for free.
Go for 2 First
Begin your college career at a local two-year community college, a less expensive 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. Check out the Community College System of NH (ccsnh.edu) for information on the Dual Admissions and NHTransfer programs that make transferring easier.
Stay local, go public
Attending a public college or university in New Hampshire is a smart financial choice for many students and families. The average cost of tuition and fees at a four-year public university in New England is $25,060 per year, while a private university will cost you $48,510 per year (tuition & fees and room & board according to College Board Trends in College Pricing 2018). This means you can attend roughly four semesters 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 purchasing your textbooks. Check out your college bookstore’s selection of used textbooks. Usually they are in very good condition and sold at a partial discount. You can also try using the Internet to find bargain books. Check out these sites for great deals: eFollett.com, bigwords.com, amazon.com. You can also rent — yes, rent — your textbooks for a huge savings. Take a look on chegg.com, amazon.com, or textbooks.com for more information.
Higher education incentives
Borrowing to pay 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 can go to irs.gov to find out about the American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credit, Tuition and Fees Deduction and Student Loan Interest Deduction.
Local scholarships provide thousands of dollars of aid to high school students. Talk with your school counselor or visit the school website for information about scholarships particular to your high school. Contact the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation at 1-800-464-6641 or go to www.nhcf.org for additional scholarship opportunities for qualified New Hampshire residents. For national searches, consider www.fastweb.com or www.collegeboard.com/pay.
There are opportunities for those who qualify to have their federal student loans canceled or forgiven. Loan forgiveness programs exist for a number of professionals, including teachers, those who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, medical professionals, and individuals working in the nonprofit sector. Take a look at the financial aid section at http://www.nhheaf.orgfor more information.
Courtesy of the Center for College Planning at The NHHEAF Network Organizations