Saturday, May 06, 2006

Cut college tuition costs in half

Cut college tuition cost in half

A lot of parents are concerned about the rising costs of college and being able to pay for their child's college tuition. Your child could always get a student loan to help pay for college but frankly the idea of my kid starting out in life in debt is not that compelling to me. I have been working aggressively over that last tens year to pay off all my debt, why would I want my kid to start off in debt.

So what's the big tip on how to you cut your students tuition in half. Ok here it comes and it might not sound glamorous, have your student attend a community college for the first two years. I went to a community college my first two years and then transferred to a four year university. I think it cost me about $800 per year to attend vs. the cost of the university which went up to $5000/year. During interviews with prospective companies no one ever asked why I went to a community college first they only looked at where my 4 year degree was from.

So where does the savings come from if you attend community college.

  1. Lower Tuition costs: Most community colleges have very competitive tuition costs. For examples I attended St. Clair Community College which today has an annual tuition cost of $2,164 per year. Compared to the four year universities like Oakland University (which is where I finished my degree) at $4,424, Western Michigan University at $4,933, Michigan State University at $6,454, Baker - Port Huron at $7,440. In most of the examples above you are cutting the tuition costs by more than half and in sometimes it is a third of the cost. Pretty good in my book. Another big advantage of going to a community college for the first two years is that you are more likely to get into the college of your choice when you transfer in as a 3rd year student. Watch out though for the shocker of the level of intensity in going from a community college to a university. I found in the engineering program going from the community college to the university was like going from high school to the community college. Significantly higher work load and competition in all of my classes.
  2. Reduce room and board cost: The above examples do not consider the cost of room and board. Most of the time if your child is attending a community college the room and board cost will be zero or free since they are probably still living at home. Sometimes this is good for the kid if they are not that mature yet to live on there own or in a university setting. Lots of distractions at a university. However, the commuting cost of driving back and forth to school will be higher. This can be reduced by car pooling with other students or paying attention to when you are taking a classes and getting your class schedule down to 3 or even 2 days per week. So let's take an example and I will pick on Oakland University, if your student lives in the student housing or dorms the cost per year is $6080. Wow, more than the cost of tuition. Remember the tuition for Oakland was $4,424 so the total cost to attend Oakland University per year is just over a whopping $10,000. Remember the community college cost of $2,164 per year and the kids comes home every night and eats dinner out of the fridge. Another tip here on living on campus. If you can and feel your student is mature enough don't even bother with living in student housing or the dorms. It was kinda like living in a prison when I went. I shared a room with cement walls and one window with another guy and shared a bathroom with a total of 3 other guys. Finally I wised up and moved into an apartment. I think the rent in the apartment was $125 per month. A lot cheaper than the dorm. I didn't know how to cook so I ate a lot of mac and cheese, sandwiches, soup, and easy stuff like that but I didn't go hungry. Oh and beer as well.
  3. More time to save for university: So if you goto a community college for two years and then go to Oakland in the above example you saved just under $16,000 in the first two years. Wow! Which means you only need $4000 more to pay for the last two years at the university. The $16K you saved plus $4k equals $20k and your done. Additionally, since you are attending the community college which is lower costs, you have more time time to save for the university costs. Like two more years to save up the rest of the money.

Things to watch for when attending a community college:

  1. Figure out where you want to go next: Ok so now you are at the community college, before you enroll in class figure out 2 or 3 or 4 colleges that you would like to attend after the community college. This becomes really important when you get to item 2 below.
  2. Make sure you focus on courses that will transfer: The most important thing you can do in the community college is meet with your counselor and determine which courses will transfer to the school you will attend next. Each university has different requirements and standards so not all of the classes will transfer.
  3. Consider if you want the associates degree or not: You also need to determine if you are going to pursue an associates degree or just focus on classes that will transfer. I did not get an associates degree when I went to community college I just worked on classes that would transfer. It is entirely your choice, sometimes you will have to take a few more classes to get the associates degree but it that is your choice it fine. The associates degree is good if there is a chance that you will end up not actually getting your bachelors degree. If you are confident that you will get the bachelor degree you may not have to worry about the associates.

Tags: investing, retirement, get rich,

Related links:

Thanks for visiting please check out my other blogs and websites:

If you enjoyed this post please Subscribe to Strategies for Life. If you would like to tag this post at click here.

No comments: