Tips for Late College Savers
These are some of the many money-saving options available to parents and students preparing to pay for college. For more information and assistance, talk with your high school guidance officer or college financial aid officer.
Maintain good grades and develop extracurricular activities that will help secure scholarship funds. Many colleges also grant merit aid to "special" students with strong grades, community service or a particular talent such as music, athletics, writing, debate, etc.
Search aggressively for scholarship money. Seek out funds from colleges, employers, community groups, civic, professional or religious groups, and private foundations. Ask for help from high school and college counselors, librarians, acquaintances, local merchants, etc., in locating sources of aid. Conduct a free online search at wiredscholar.com (Remember: Avoid scholarship search services that require you to pay a fee.)
Save on tuition by attending a less expensive community college for 2 years and then transferring to a 4-year college.
Take Advanced Placement courses and/or exams while still in high school. A grade of 4-5 or higher can earn you college credit in a certain subject (in lieu of taking the actual course); passing scores on several AP exams can save you up to a year in college tuition (or 15 or so credit hours).
Enroll in a college that offers a co-operative education program which alternates academic and paid work semesters.
Apply to one of the United States service academies (applicants must be nominated, usually by a senator or congressman). Students usually pay only a $1,500 entrance fee; tuition, room, board and a stipend are covered by the government in exchange for your service commitment.
Talk with high school guidance officers or local recruiting offices about Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) which pay partial college costs in exchange for active duty after graduation.
Enroll in either an accelerated college program (3 years or less) or take 4-6 years to finish with time off to work.
Apply for Resident Assistant positions in your dormitory (free room and board), administrative support positions (reduced expenses) at your college, or seek out private employers offering room and board in exchange for babysitting or maintenance work.
Volunteer with Americorps, the federal community service program. Volunteers receive living allowances and contributions for college costs for 1,700 hours of annual service. Call 800-942-2677 for more information.