Try This Technique to Save on College Costs

by Melissa Batai on October 18, 2013

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Student LoanImagine graduating college in 2.5 or 3 years instead of the typical 4 to 6 years that most students take to graduate.  Imagine how much cheaper your college education would be and how many fewer student loans you would have.  Imagine how much more quickly you could get out of student loan debt and on with your financial life.

Sounds like a dream?  It’s not.

If you’ve already graduated, it’s not possible for you, but it is possible for your children.

If you start planning early, in high school, and your child who is nearing college age is not afraid to work hard, it’s a definite possibility.

Of course, the cheapest way to pay for college is often to go to a community college for two years and then transfer to a local, public four year university.  The problem is that often high school students have their minds set on one particular college, which may not be the cheapest option.

If that sums up your child, there are still ways you can help your child with their financial planning and get out of college as quickly as possible.

Take AP classes or community college classes while in high school.

If your child is bright enough and her school offers them, she can take AP (advanced placement) classes.  At the end of the year, she can choose to take the AP test on that particular subject. If she scores well, then when she goes to college, she is exempt from that required class.  For instance, if she took AP English Composition, she would not have to take Freshman Composition in college.  Depending on the college, she’s now saved several hundred to several thousand dollars.

I once worked with a woman whose daughter took so many AP classes that she skipped her entire freshman year in college.  By going to college  in the summers, too, she graduated in 2.5 years, before she was 21!

If your high school doesn’t offer AP classes, the student could always choose to take some classes at the community college before he begins college.  This option isn’t as cheap as high school AP classes, but it is still a cheaper alternative because most community college courses are not that expensive.  This is an attractive option if a high school student graduates early and wants to get a head start on college education before the fall semester begins.

College is expensive and can be time consuming.  However, by carefully planning and taking AP courses before graduating, a student could potential save thousands of dollars on his college education.  Likewise, a slightly more costly option is to take community college classes while in high school or after graduating early.

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