Sure, paying for a college education is challenging. Here are some practical ways to reduce the cost and remove other barriers to getting your degree.
College was already expensive enough. Then last July, interest rates for federal student loans rose to 4.45 percent for undergrads and 6 percent for graduate students. Skyrocketing tuition costs impacts just about everyone. And it’s just one reason why up to 40 percent of low-income students1 who are accepted into college fail to enroll in the fall. Study.com CEO and Co-Founder Adrian Ridner says many students and parents should use a combination of tactics to reduce the cost of college.
“Research2 has shown that it takes an average of 21 years for a student to repay their student loans,” comments Ridner. “Also, students and parents may not immediately realize the various hidden costs of completing a college education including books, housing and other fees.”
The longer it takes to finish a degree, the higher those costs may be. Ridner points out that, “More than 80 percent of students at state universities do not graduate in four years, which means many students are underestimating their college costs by as much as 25 to 50 percent. Factors such as changing majors, being wait-listed for required courses, and juggling work plus family and school, can all push the timeline back. Using some of the following strategies can help lower the total bill for your college education.”
Five proven tactics for saving on college tuition
1. Ask an expert for help with admission applications and with applying for financial aid. “These processes can be cumbersome. Your high school guidance counselor can help you navigate through the forms, keep track of dates, etc.”
2. Don’t get enamored by a college’s name or prestige. “Only about 0.2 percent of college names have the cachet to open doors for you once you’ve graduated. Employers are more concerned about the degree you’ve obtained, so be sure you’re looking at such things as the graduates’ employment rates and salaries. A more expensive school may not necessarily yield a better return on investment.”
3. Consider an ala carte approach to college. “The idea of earning a degree by attending just one college is outdated and is not a fit for today’s college student. Taking courses at a community college is one way to cut costs. Another is to earn college credits by taking competency-based exams to test out of materials, through the College Level Examination Program. And you can take courses on Study.com, pass all quizzes and finals, and earn credits transferable to 2,000 colleges and universities.”
4. Understand that an online college may not save you money. “People commonly believe that online universities are less expensive than brick-and-mortar schools. But they often cost the same, if not more. Instead, taking certain courses online to speed up your path to graduation is the best way to save money on tuition.”
5. Learn how to use online classes to your best advantage. “Study.com is an example of a nontraditional path to a college degree. It’s a subscription-based online platform, used by more than 30 million people each month, which can bring down your cost to under $10,000 for a bachelor’s degree even if you have no preexisting college credit.”
Three ways students are earning college credit on their phone, for a fraction of the cost
Study.com’s subscription- based education is delivered through fun, fast-paced animated videos. These five-minute micro-lessons are taught by subject matter experts and are aligned with state standards to ensure that you cover the necessary materials. Ridner explains how students are making the best of this flexible format.
1. They are satisfying college readiness requirements. “Two out of three new college students aren’t ready. You may need to take remedial courses in such areas as math and English that don’t count toward your degree. That might add on as much as a year to your college before you can even start taking your degree prerequisites and earning credits. An accelerated learning program, available online, makes a college education affordable from the onset.”
2. They are protecting their seats in higher-level classes. “A lot of times, there are core classes that you must complete before getting into the higher-level classes. Taking these core courses online enables you to stay caught up, and avoid being wait-listed for the classes you really need.”
3. They are finding it easier to complete classes while also having busy lives outside of school. “The average college student is no longer 18 years old. Most are older, working, and juggling families and life. The most common barriers to completing a college degree are cost, convenience and competence. Study.com is like community college from your smartphone. Working adults are earning their college degrees in five-minute increments by using their mobile devices during kids’ soccer games. If you were never on a college path, or you’ve been out of school for a while, this flexibility and format lets you testdrive college-level material in a simple-to-understand, non-intimidating way.”
Sample subscription prices
Study.com subscriptions range from just $39.99/ month for its basic plan which includes unlimited access to all video lessons, to $199/month for students wanting to earn transferable college credit. Discounted pricing plans are available to corporations and communities.
To begin a five-day, no obligation free trial, visit www.Study.com.
Biography: Adrian Ridner, co-founder and CEO, Study.com
Adrian Ridner is an expert on personalized learning, college affordability, and how technology is transforming education. His company, Study.com, has one of the largest collections of video lessons and study tools for K-12 and college students. Adrian has made TV appearance on NBC Bay area and Univision, has appeared as a guest on over 20 radio programs and has been quoted in US News and World Report, USA Today, Philly.com and many other publications.