5 Ways to Stay Ahead of the College Tuition Curve


How do you keep up with a 32 percent increase in tuition? Well, you can’t. At least if that hit takes place within one academic year. But that’s the number facing University of California students who see a huge tuition spike taking place this fall due to a depleted state budget.

Higher Education

college studentMost college students won’t face anything near that much of a percentage increase this year, but whatever they are hit with will most likely outstrip the inflation rate and force some students to come up with ways to stay ahead of the curve. Short of a tuition rollback (yeah, right) you may need to develop your own plan to keep pace. To that end we offer to you five ways to help you stay ahead of the college tuition curve:

Tutor or consult. If you are a leader in a particular class, why not offer your services as a tutor? Many colleges arrange for tutors to work with struggling students, but you can also offer your services directly to classmates. Consider using your talents to help out a local company or a business through the web. Offer to consult or provide a flat fee for helping to launch a website or work as a virtual assistant.

Rent textbooks. By now you know that textbooks can be a real budget buster. Private enterprise knows this as well with several companies having gotten into the textbook rental business. Borrow your books for the semester, pay a fee, and then return them when you are done. Save hundreds of dollars annually, perhaps enough money to offset your tuition increase. Businesses renting college textbooks include Chegg, BookRenter.com, eCampus.com and CampusBookRentals.com.

Cut back. You can’t always earn more money to cover your costs. Too much work means too little time for studying although working your way through school is an option more students may want to consider. Realistically review the way you live: do you have a cell phone? A car on campus? Do you plan on visiting Texas, Florida or other warm destination for spring break? You may find that your lifestyle is much more costly than what you can afford. Perhaps you need to evaluate your spending priorities.

Consider a transfer. When you started out at college, did you fully grasp how much it would cost you to go to school? Unfortunately for a lot of students and their families that answer is no. Importantly, do you know what your starting salary will be in your chosen field? If you will be leaving college with tens of thousands of dollars in student debt perhaps switching to a more affordable school makes sense. Elite Private College may be where you are getting your education, but State University may be much more affordable for you, while still providing an excellent education.

Go Navy. Or Army. Or Air Force. Or Marines. One way to cover some of your college costs is to enlist in the military. Think that I’m kidding? No, the federal government offers a generous education package to members of our military. You don’t have to enlist full-time either: reserve or guard duty offers enormous benefits while allowing you to continue with your education.

Get Radical

Some of the ideas suggested here may sound a bit radical to you. And they are. That’s because higher education costs are spiraling out of control and unless you want to go deeply into debt, other options besides student loans, credit card borrowing and poverty should be explored.

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Categories: College Budgeting