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5 Ways to Lower the Cost of College

paying saving May 30, 2019

These days, college comes with a pretty significant price tag. Tuition for a private non-profit four-year institution runs at about $35,780 for the 2018-2019 academic year! How are families affording this?

This hefty price tag doesn’t just produce financial costs, it often leads to stress, depression, and tension among families. In order to make their college dreams a reality, many students and their families are resorting to student loans. This is one thing that most college graduates these days have in common. Together, over 44 million Americans hold nearly $1.6 trillion in student debt!

It’s clear that college can be one of the greatest expenses you incur during your lifetime, but it doesn’t have to be! The time to take control and lower the cost of college is NOW. Keep reading for our top five tips…


5 Ways to Lower the Cost of College


1. Appeal & Negotiate​

For many students, the financial aid package, or scholarship money you receive from the college, can make or break a student’s decision to attend that particular school. Before ruling out a college because of how much they offered, have you ever considered asking for more money?

In a study by NerdWallet, the high school class of 2017 left as much as $2.3 billion for college on the table. Don’t let this money go to waste!  Many people are skeptical or scared to appeal and negotiate with colleges, but it’s a proven tactic to unlock those hidden funds that colleges keep stored away. Before you head over to the financial aid office, check out our appeals and negotiation tactics to strengthen your case.


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2. Avoid Common Financial Mistakes​

Financial mistakes can be easy to make, but hard to recover from. Luckily, many families have gone through this process. Now is your chance to learn from their mistakes! The first step is understanding the most common financial mistakes parents and students make when it comes to college, so you can avoid them in the future.

From not shopping enough for student loans to visiting colleges you can’t afford, there are plenty of situations you can avoid that will save you big bucks in the end. Take a look at our top five costly college mistakes and you’ll be well on your way to lowering that college price tag.


3. Understand College Selectivity​

Most people don’t quite understand what college selectivity is, but let us assure you that it can be a HUGE game-changer in helping you save money during the college planning process.

College selectivity is a measure of how difficult it is for students to get admitted into a particular college. Selectivity is measured by the percentage of students who are admitted versus the number of students that have applied. The lower the percentage, the more selective the school is. The reality is that most colleges are selective to some degree, but not all are as selective as they would lead you to believe. 

Understanding college selectivity is powerful because it can help you narrow down your college list right away, saving time and potentially saving you money. Understanding how selective a college may be, as well as their cost ahead of time, helps you select a college that will be a better financial fit for your situation. For help in understanding where a school lies on the selectivity scale, learn more about SimpliCollege, we can help you break things down.


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4. Find the Most Effective Way to Pay for College​

Loans and scholarships aren’t the only ways to pay for college. Even without scholarships, there are various forms of aid available that can help you tackle the cost. Grants, work-study, and private scholarships are just some of the alternatives you can pursue.

The key is to combine these efforts and creatively leverage these tools to find the most effective way to pay for college. Too many rely on loans and don’t look to other alternatives for paying for college. Taking the first step is learning more about these alternatives and find the most effective way to pay for college. SimpliCollege has a Scholarship Resource with billions of scholarship dollars.


5. Use Your Time Wisely​

Time = money and the college planning process takes up a lot of time from both the student and parent. One of the key challenges in this industry today is the overwhelming amount of resources available. Sorting through the various websites, handbooks and online tools take up time that you could be spending elsewhere, applying for scholarships, researching schools, or completing applications.

There are some other alternatives like hiring a private college consultant, but that also comes with a hefty price tag. To combat this challenge, and save money in the process, it’s important to find a cost-effective resource that you can trust to provide you with the best information in a way that is concise and easy to follow. Saving time, even in small amounts, will help you save money in the long run. Aim to find a tool that holds all of the information you need in one place and can help you stay on track throughout the process.

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