Ten Ways to Reduce the Cost of Finishing College

money saving for education in the glass bottle for money concept.

If the thought of paying for college may seem overwhelming, we have some great tips to help you cut your college costs along the way. If you are a student currently enrolled at Coastline College, then you have already made one of the smartest decisions to reduce the cost of your college education. This 2019 academic year more than 20 million students are attending colleges nationwide. The average total cost of public colleges per year is $25,290 (in-state) $40,940 (out-of-state) and for private colleges: $50,900. Let’s find out how to knock down that price tag…

Enroll at a less expensive college – Community College

The average cost of attending a two-year college is much less than that of a four-year institution. Coastline College is one of the nation’s most innovative colleges that is deeply committed to academic excellence and student success. Coastline delivers flexible courses with complete pathways leading to the attainment of associate degrees, certificates, and transfer to four-year colleges/universities, to ensure that students are prepared to enter California’s competitive workforce.

But what makes the choice of attending Coastline College even better is the fact that according to the Department of Education, tuition at public two-year colleges during the 2018 – 2019 academic year was an average $3,660. According to this report, California community colleges were the lowest in the nation, and our tuition was only $1,150, which means the cost of attending college at Coastline is less than half the cost nationwide for two- year education!

Get College Credit while you are in High School

If you are reading this blog, are still in high school, then take Advanced Placement (AP) or College Level Examination Program (CLEP) while in high school to earn college credit before you enroll in college. Advanced Placement (AP) classes taken during high school with passing test scores can allow students to receive college credit for specific general education courses required of most college students. The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) allows students to receive credit for material they already know and each 90-minute exam costs only $80. These subject examinations can help students reduce both time and money off their degrees. Some states promote dual enrollment programs by offering high school students the opportunity to get dual high school/college credit for courses taken at colleges while in high school.

Apply for Financial Aid

File for the Free Application for Federal student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible. Students who file the FAFSA during their first three months get twice as many grants than students who file later. The Financial Aid department is always available to assist you with your FAFSA or Dream Act application. Financial Aid is designed to help students pay for college expenses including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous costs. There are also low-interest Federal Loans available.

Search for Scholarships and Grants

There are various websites such as Scholarships.com, Fastweb.com, and Collegenet.com. Apply for every scholarship for which you may be eligible. Check out AB 19, The California College Promise Program Grant. California will now provide free tuition for the first two years of community college. AB 19 provides state funding to eligible students to cover tuition, books, supplies, and transportation.

Enroll as a Full Time Student

Many colleges consider students who take 12 credits a semester to be enrolled full-time. The average grant aid and tax benefits provided to full-time students at public two-year institutions is about $4,050, which means the net tuition and fees to attend these schools is -$390. For Coastline and California community colleges, the net cost may be even less.

Work Part-Time During the School Year and Full-Time During the Summer.

Look for a job in the field of your academic endeavor. Research internships that pay. Working full time during the summer will not only give you extra money to pay for college costs, but the experience you gain will make you more valuable to potential employers after you graduate. Find Work Study or Student Assistant jobs at Coastline College.

Claim Credit for Tuition and Textbooks on Your Tax Returns

The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), is a credit for qualified education expenses paid for an eligible student for the first four years of higher education. It provides a tax credit worth up to $2,500 on your federal income tax return, based on amounts you spent on tuition and textbooks. You can claim this credit my completed IRS Form 8863 and attach it to your personal income tax return.

Take Advantage of Income Tax Savings for College

A 529 Plan and Coverdell Education Savings Account are college savings plans that allows your contributions to grow tax-free, if the savings are used for college costs. There are two types of 529 plans available: a prepaid tuition plan, and a college savings plan. A Coverdell ESA can be used for pre-college and college expenses.

Utilize Military College and Veteran Benefits

For those military veterans who have served at least 36 months of active duty, they are entitled to financial assistance including 36 months of undergraduate or graduate tuition and fees, a housing allowance, and a stipend for books and supplies. Please check the Coastline College Veterans Resource Center (VRC) which was established to help our incoming veteran students transition from soldiers to academic environment.

Plan a Proper Pathway from Enrollment in College to Graduation

Planning is essential here. Time is money and the longer it takes, the more the cost. By completing your college degree sooner than later, you are saving time and money. The best strategy for reducing your cost of college education is to graduate on time.

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