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Parents Best Ideas: 5 Proven Ways to Reduce the Cost of College


Can I have a new Barbie mom?


Drip. Drip.

Can I get a membership to Club Penguin?


Drip. Drip. Drip.

But I need a new cell phone!


Open the spout – college and everything tied to college.


Money!  We all feel we don’t have enough.  Costs for everything keep going up, especially college costs.   Between 2000 and 2010, college costs have gone up 31%  which is much faster than the increases in most parents  paychecks.


Faced with that statistic what’s a parent to do?


Fight Back


Not literally of course but the following ideas were submitted by parents on ways they’ve successfully reduced the cost of college over the past 10 years.


Below are 5 effective ways to reduce the cost of college.


  1. Advanced Placement (AP) –  The College Board created a program that offers high school students a college-level curriculum and series of tests designed to earn college credits.  By placing high enough on the tests, high school students can receive college credit prior than enrollment in their first freshman class.  Coming into college with college credits  can save considerable money on college costs.
  2. Work as a Resident Assistant  (RA)– Another way to save money on college is work as a resident assistant.  At University of California Irvine, room and board your freshman year is estimated at approximately $12,000.  By being a RA, students can save their families up to $36,000 if their child worked as a RA for 3 years while completing their degree.
  3.  Enroll in college courses while in high school – If completing your degree as cost effectively as possible is your goal, consider having your student enroll in college courses while they are in high school.  In Minnesota, the name of the state-wide program is Post  Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) and many other states and high schools have similar programs in place. The most important factor when considering a PSEO program is checking that the courses you are considering taking will be accepted your college.
  4.   Accelerated degree program – One of the ways to ensure all of your courses are accepted is to take them all at one college.  Accelerated degree programs are increasing at colleges across the United States as students and their families look to graduate with a coveted degree in shorter and shorter time periods.
  6. If your college does not offer an accelerated degree program, my niece worked with her college advisor to plan out her schedule so she was able to graduate in 3 years rather than the traditional 4 or 5 years.   Her accelerated pursuit of a degree saved her family the $30,000 cost of attendance at her college.
  7.  Peace Corps –  This option is a long term way to save money on college because it can’t be considered used until after your student has graduated from college.  If your student was one of the millions who graduated with student loan debt and is service minded, a 27 month committment in the Peace Corps can translate to part of your federal student loans debt being forgiven.  Unfortunately, it’ up to each individual private lender if they extend similar benefits to your private student loans.


There are huge benefits to taking that can save your family when paying for college.  Any of these ideas can help save you money when paying for college be themselves or in combination.


If you’re a parent that saved money when paying for college, please leave a comment telling us what worked for you and you may find it incorporated into our next list of college saving ideas.

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