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How to reduce the cost of college without Financial Aid or Scholarships

Not all students are eligible for Financial Aid or Scholarships.  However, there are still ways to keep the cost of college down.  Below is a discussion of such means:

Serve in AmeriCorps

AmeriCorps is a domestic service organization in which thousands of young men and women are working in community service projects around the country in exchange for a living allowance averaging $7,500 per year; health care; child care when needed; and an education award of $4,725 per year for paying back a student loan or for financing postsecondary education. Under some circumstances a person can serve part time and receive an education award of $2,362 per year.  There are many different points in a person's educational career when participation in AmeriCorps is an option: right after high school; during or after college; and during or after graduate school or occupational training. AmeriCorps members are recruited locally and nationally. To find out more about AmeriCorps, call the AmeriCorps Hotline free of charge at 1-800-94-ACORPS (1-800-942-2677) or TDD 1-800-833-3722. You may also visit the AmeriCorps web site at:

Take Advanced Placement (AP) Courses and Exams in High School

AP courses are college-level courses that help students prepare for college-level work. After taking AP courses, students can take AP exams offered in the same subjects as the AP courses. If students score a grade of 3 or higher on an AP exam, they can often receive college credit. Students with high grades on AP exams in many different subjects are sometimes granted a full year of course credit at the colleges where they enroll. The receipt of course credit can result in savings in college costs. These savings can be quite large if it means that a student is able to enter into a college as a second-year student; such a student might save the cost of tuition and fees for a whole year of college.

Participate in a Career-Focused Educational Program such as "Tech-Prep" or "School-to-Career"

Some high schools offer career-focused educational programs that provide students with a set of high school courses that are formally linked to courses offered at local community or technical colleges. These "tech-prep" or "school-to-career" programs, as they are often called, offer students the opportunity to go through a sequence of career-focused courses in high school that prepares them for an apprenticeship program or for a specialized sequence of college courses in a particular occupational field. Thus, students who master certain technical and occupational skills and knowledge in high school do not need to repeat the same courses when they enter college or an apprenticeship. In some of these programs, students who take the specialized sequence of courses in high school can sometimes be awarded college credit or advanced standing in the occupational program at the college level. This can save students time and money. It also means that students can gain access to more advanced college courses much earlier in their college careers.

Enroll in a Two-Year College; Then Transfer to a Four-Year College

Local community colleges are usually the least expensive. In addition to charging low tuition, usually it is possible to save money by having the student live at home and commute to campus.  After completing an associate's degree or certificate in a two-year college, students often can transfer to a four-year college and work toward a bachelor's degree.  Certain community college courses may not be transferable to a four-year institution. Community college admissions officers can explain transfer terms and opportunities.

Work Part Time

Some students choose to work part time and attend college part time.  You should make sure that work, classes, and time for studying do not conflict.  Some institutions offer programs that enable students to combine work and classes. Although going to school part time is a good option for many students, it usually takes longer for part-time students to earn their degrees.

Take Advantage of Armed Forces Education Programs

The armed forces offer educational programs during or after active duty. If you prefer to work toward a college degree immediately after high school, attending one of the military academies or attending a civilian school and enrolling in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program are options. If you want to join the armed forces before attending college full time, he or she can attend college after military service by taking advantage of the Montgomery GI Bill or by obtaining college credit for some of the military training you will receive.