Tips for Low-Income Students to Cut College Costs
By Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS
Access to a college education should not be based on how much money you have, but the harsh reality is that college can be extremely expensive. This reality can place many low-income students in high debt. While a student who earns a large income (or comes from a wealthy family) may be able to pay for their college costs up front, most students are not so lucky. There are ways for students to cut college costs, and some of the tips below can help students incur less debt throughout their college career.
- Spend plenty of time searching for scholarships, and apply for every single one.
Even if you do not feel you are qualified, there is no harm in applying. Sure, this can be time consuming. But it is absolutely worth it. There are also grants, such as the Pell Grant, that are used specifically for low-income students. Take advantage of every scholarship and grant that you can. There are so many scholarships out there, and most students do not want to put in the time and effort to find them and apply for them.
- Research universities to see what will best fit your lifestyle.
Online universities are an excellent way to pursue a college education while cutting out expenses and fees that come with traditional schools. For example, you will not have to pay for on-campus housing, on-campus food plans, or traveling back to forth to campus (for commuters).
- Look beyond tuition cost.
Sure, the cost of tuition should be a major factor when determining which school you want to attend, but it should not be the be-all-end-all. There are many other factors to look at, such as financial aid availability, graduation rates (higher graduation rates shows that a college is successful in getting its students to graduate), prestige of the university, and cultural offerings.
- Cut down on unnecessary personal costs.
If you want to be successful in college, you are going to have to make some sacrifices. Every penny you save helps, so if you can cut your personal spending by $100 a month, you could save enough to pay for an entire class each year. Spread that out over four years and you could save enough to pay for an entire semester’s worth of classes. As always, budgeting and making financially savvy decisions are the best way to cut down on personal costs.
Just because you are a low-income student does not mean that you cannot be successful in college while also accumulating a small amount of debt. There are many ways that a college student can cut down on their debt, and there are quite a few programs that cater to low-income students. Putting in the effort to find ways to cut costs is most of the battle!