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Most RA applications at colleges are competitive and require students to apply up to a year in advance. Credit Hour Overload Students who can balance several classes should consider credit hour overload at their school. Depending on the college, credit hour overload provides students the option to take more classes per term than an average full-time student takes. For instance, at the University of Virginia, students can request permission to take between credit hours per semester, which is above the standard 15 credits per semester.

If students consistently overload their schedules, they might be able to graduate in three years instead of four. Textbook Rentals Tuition isn't the only expensive part of school: textbook prices are also rising quickly. To mitigate that cost, companies like Amazon and Chegg offer textbook rentals to provide temporary reading materials to students at a fraction of the sticker price.

Make and Live on a Budget Living on a budget develops healthy spending skills and teaches students to manage their finances. Students are encouraged to track of their major daily expenses such as food and transportation and stay abreast of their finances. Take advantage of student discounts and coupons, and identify restaurants and stores that offer good deals.

Budgeting isn't always easy, but it can lead to fun, creative ways to spend your free time and get to know your surroundings.

The Debt-Free Degree

Below are some tips and tricks for budgeting in college. Scholarships help students pay for college, and can be awarded to students for a variety of reasons. There are different eligibility requirements between scholarships, allowing students from all backgrounds to apply for awards that match their academic or extracurricular skills.

The deadlines for scholarship applications vary, but are often due several months in advance of the school start date. Many applications require students to write an essay, provide letters of recommendation, and fill out financial aid information. It can be a lengthy process and you should approach it with the same seriousness you brought to applying to colleges or jobs. Receiving a scholarship can reduce or eliminate your dependence on loans.

College Guides

Grants provide need-based funding to students. While scholarships are usually awarded on merit, grants are doled out as-needed to students for a specific purpose. Some grants, such as the TEACH Grant , require students to complete certain classes, maintain a predetermined level of academic achievement, and hold a specific job to prevent the grant from turning into a loan. Many grants are offered first-come, first-serve. Deadlines vary and applications are accepted throughout the year, depending on the organization.

To ensure there is enough funding and that all money is allocated correctly, organizations often require students to apply up to a year in advance. Look for grants through your school, or on online grant databases, such as the Foundation Center. Work study jobs are offered through a federally funded program.

This program helps students earn financial funding through part-time work at their college. All students with demonstrable financial need are eligible. The various work study offerings provide opportunities for students to develop relevant professional experience while limiting their debt. Check with your school's financial aid office to find out if your school offers work study positions, and how you can apply. Often, schools offer work study jobs alongside campus employment opportunities. Outside organizations also may have agreements with your school to offer work study jobs; ask your school's financial aid office for a list of partnering organizations.

Working over the summer can help students save money when they are too busy to work during the school year. Below is a list of industries that hire seasonal summer employees.

How To Get Through College Debt-Free - Whiteboard Wednesday: Episode 76

Employers with a tuition reimbursement program pay for some or all of their employee's tuition for coursework or training. Depending on the company, part-time and and full-time employees may both be eligible to apply. Most companies require workers to apply to the tuition reimbursement program before they have been accepted into their program of study, and after they have worked with the company for a certain amount of time. The application typically requires workers to demonstrate the relevance of the intended coursework and training to their prospective role within the company.

Some programs may alter the amount of funding provided depending on GPA, number of credits taken per term, and whether or not the courses are taken online or in-person. Two-year schools are significantly less expensive, and they allow students the opportunity to complete nearly all degree prerequisites. Rising tuition costs have made online programs, which generally feature lower tuition prices and fewer secondary costs, more enticing for traditional students.

Schools with on-campus and distance learning options often offer online courses for a lower price. Even if tuition is the same price, students can save on expenses by living at home. As online colleges become increasingly popular, more and more schools are putting their programs online, expanding the availability of degree programs in a variety of subjects.

The Debt-Free Graduate by Murray Baker

Most colleges with these programs still allow students to take out loans, but at a significantly lower rate than most other loan structures. At some schools, students in no-loan programs are required to contribute to their tuition in the form of part-time student employment. In either case, the no-loan programs provide feasible funding and help reduce student debt. Taking measures to save money before starting college is crucial for students who plan on graduating without debt.

Arrangements for college savings and prior learning assessments should be made as soon as possible; the further in advance high school students plan, the more they can maximize their savings upon entering college. College Savings Options Qualified tuition plans within the U. Securities and Exchange Commission's plans provide financial savings opportunities to help people set aside future tuition money. There are two types of plans: prepaid tuition plans and college savings plans, and every state supports at least one of these options. State officials can also be members of the College Savings Plans Network to promote legislation that will positively impact plans, ensuring that students can viably pay for college.

Another college savings option is to create an Education Savings Account , which allows contributors to save money for college tax-free. Across the board, the per-credit cost is significantly cheaper through these programs, which ultimately reduces the amount of time you need to spend in college. Dual Enrollment Programs Dual enrollment programs allow high school students to take college-level courses for credit.


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Most students eligible to enroll in dual enrollment programs are high school upperclassmen. Many students who commit to these programs attend class at their local community college alongside their high school courses. Ask your school counselor if any colleges offer dual enrollment programs at your school. Students in these programs often pay less than half the cost of tuition, and sometimes pay no fee at all.

Students usually can transfer their credits and can earn up to two years of college credit the equivalent of an associate degree , giving them the option of graduating from a four-year university two years early. Set Yourself Up for Success Setting yourself up for success in high school can benefit you not only academically, but also financially.

Students with good grades and a history of participating in extracurricular activities are often rewarded with better merit grants and are viewed as competitive scholarship applicants. Programs, such as the National Merit Scholarship , provide college scholarships to high school students based on standardized test scores, GPA, extracurricular activities, leadership experience, and letters of recommendation. Proactively applying for these scholarships not only enhances your college applications, but also provides you secured funding for college a year or two in advance.

You shouldn't stop trying to cut costs once you reach school. Below, you'll find several practical solutions to help reduce college expenses. As you try to save money, make sure you know your limits; school should remain your biggest priority and you should not cut corners just to save money. This part-time job often comes with free housing and a college meal plan. At most colleges, RAs live with other students and can plan activities in their dorm, fostering a fun and welcoming environment.

The job isn't for everyone, but many who work as an RA find it a productive way to save money while gaining work and leadership experience. Most RA applications at colleges are competitive and require students to apply up to a year in advance. Credit Hour Overload Students who can balance several classes should consider credit hour overload at their school. Depending on the college, credit hour overload provides students the option to take more classes per term than an average full-time student takes. For instance, at the University of Virginia, students can request permission to take between credit hours per semester, which is above the standard 15 credits per semester.

If students consistently overload their schedules, they might be able to graduate in three years instead of four.

Textbook Rentals Tuition isn't the only expensive part of school: textbook prices are also rising quickly. To mitigate that cost, companies like Amazon and Chegg offer textbook rentals to provide temporary reading materials to students at a fraction of the sticker price. You can find help with creating a budget here.

Adopting a frugal lifestyle early on will serve as a huge benefit to you. Save on shopping, eating out, and even try out couponing for basic everyday items to save a lot of cash in the long run. If my 16 year old can do it, any teen can. Many times, you see students who work their tails off during high school and think that they can slack a little during college. If you think this way, you need to rethink your theory.

Slacking off in college will cost you a lot of money. Failing a class will mean you need to retake it to get your degree, which means forking over hundreds of dollars to retake that class. So, my advice to you is that you pass every single class the first time you take it.