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Making College Affordable - How To Save Money On College Tuition
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Making College Affordable  -  How To Save Money on College Tuition

What if I told you I knew of a way to save you 90% tuition cost per credit hour? Would you believe me?

In the rest of this article I will explain just that. Just to be up front you won't be able to save 90% on every credit hour you're required to take to get your degree, but you can save a significant amount of money on the classes this applies to. Read the rest of the article to find out how.

College tuition is downright scary today. Four year degrees at in state public universities can cost over $43,800. In case you're wondering, I did not just pull that number out of thin air.

The University I'm currently attending is University of Hawaii at Manoa. At the time of writing this article their in state resident tuition was $365 per credit hour. Assuming it only takes you 120 credits to graduate that's an astounding $43,800($365 x 120) that you have to come up with whether it's through financial aids, grants, or student loans.

The actual cost is probably higher due to cost of books and fees charged by the school. However, I am a conservative man so I only calculated the cost of tuition.

What This is Article is NOT About

In this article I will not be giving you tips on getting financial aids, grants, or student loans. There's a lot of good information on the internet about them already. More importantly they do not really make college more affordable. Rather they are more of a way to finance college than anything else.

In this article I will be discussing two ways to actually reduce the amount of money you pay in college tuition. To make college affordable you have to change the amount of money that you are paying for tuition and not just increase the period of time in which you have to pay the tuition back.

Resident Tuition

This may seem like a no brainer, but it's important enough for me to mention. Out of state college tuition costs can be staggering. Earlier I mentioned the in state resident tuition costs of UH Manoa was $365 per credit hour. Care to take a guess at the non-resident tuition rate?

$1038 per credit hour ?!?!

Using the same calculations performed earlier in this article that would mean you would pay $124,560 in tuition costs for the same degree! That's 284% more for the privilege of attending college as an out of state resident in Hawaii.

A Background On Residency Requirements

If you want to attend college in a state other than the one you're currently a resident of, then the best thing to do (from a tuition cost point of view) would change your residency to the new state.

However, even this can be tricky. Some states have special residency requirements just for the purpose of college tuition. This means you can be a legal resident of the state according to the IRS and state tax office and yet still be forced to pay non-resident tuition rates.

In the case of Hawaii you have to be a bona fide resident for one year prior to attending college to receive in state resident tuition. During that one year you can only take 5 credits or less in college classes. If you take 6 or more credits they deem you to be in Hawaii for the purpose of going to college and that one year you spent in Hawaii won't count towards residency.

How To Become A Resident

Each state is going to have different requirements for becoming a resident. The best thing for you to do would be to talk to the admissions department of the college that you're attending to find out how to gain residency status FOR TUITION PURPOSES.

Typically this involves registering to vote in the state you want to go to college in, filing tax returns in the state that you'll be going to, moving to that state and registering your car in that state. You are becoming a resident of that sate.

An Awesome Way To Save Money On College Tuition

This is my absolute favorite piece of advice for people looking to save money on college tuition: Take CLEP tests.

In case you've never heard of them CLEP tests are tests that you take that measure your level of knowledge in different subjects. Typically they cover introductory subjects. There are 34 exams and most colleges will grant you credit for at least some of the CLEP tests. UH Manoa grants credit for 15 CLEPs.

You may be thinking that you don't know enough about any subject to pass a test. Well, that may be true, but you can always study for the exams and there are plenty of CLEP study resources.

The Exciting Part

Here is where it gets really exciting. CLEP tests only cost around $100(around $80 for the test, and a $20 sitting fee.) To put that into perspective I was granted 6 credits of what UH Manoa calls "ENG DL" or in layman's terms: English classes. I was granted these credits because I scored a 61 or higher on the Analyzing and Interpreting Literature CLEP.

Would you rather pay $100 for 6 credits or $2190($365 x 6) for six credits? Let's say I was only granted 3 credits for the CLEP. I still would have paid $1095 in tuition costs if I had taken that course at UH Manoa. That's almost 11 times more than the cost of a CLEP.

The Interesting Part

Do you know what CLEP tests are not? Kind of a weird question I know. To answer it, they definitely are not college classes. They are tests. Where am I going with this?

Let's say you really want to attend school in a different state, but they require you to be a resident for a year before granting you resident tuition rates. What you could do is move to that state and not attend college. Rather you just work and have fun for a year while you build up your residency status.

During your free time, you study and take CLEP tests. At the end of that year it is very likely that you will have more college credits than students with a full class schedule and you will have paid 90% less for those same credits.

Wrapping it up

To conclude, making college affordable shouldn't be about financing student loans over the rest of your adult life. It should be about paying 90% less for credits that you don't give a crap about.


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