Financial Tips

College Is Expensive. Start Thinking About Money For School Now.

If you’re a high school student just starting to research college costs, you’ll find they range from “Yikes!” to “OMG!”

The College Board estimates the annual average in-state tuition cost for public four-year colleges and universities is in the range of $10,000. If you leave the state for school or go to a private college, you can multiply that times two or three. None of those costs include room and board.

So how are you going to afford it? While student loans are an option, maybe a given, there are things you can start doing as a high school student.

Here are some ways that can at least make a dent in what you’ll owe:

  • Get a part- or full-time job and put that money into a savings account. Do the same with money you get as a gift. Ask your financial institution about accounts, such as CD’s, that might have higher interest rates so you can earn money on your savings.
  • Look for scholarships or grants. Sites such as Student Aid or Scholarships can help you find ways to apply for ‘free’ money to reduce costs and not have to repay those funds. Your school counselor or advisor can help with those searches. This money could be based on grades, skills or financial need.
  • Plan to start your higher education at a community college and take basic classes that will transfer to a university. Tuition at these schools is often far cheaper.
  • Take advanced placement classes if possible. AP classes are a way to get college credits while in high school, cutting the number of hours you’ll need to take later.
  • Learn how to control your spending now. Keep a budget of how much money you have and how much you spend. Spend less than you have and always look for ways to reduce your costs.

Don’t get frustrated when you realize it can be next to impossible to cover all your college costs. Whatever you can save will help reduce the amount you might need to borrow in student loans or how much your parents might be able to kick in.

Learning how to save money and cover some expenses while you’re young will be an education in itself.