4 ways to cut college costs

Forward: We're all about bringing you the best offers in student discounts... but we want to be more than your go-to place to save money. We also want to help you make more informed financial decisions in the future. That's why we're teaming up with finance & loan experts CommonBond to help you decipher the (sometimes) scary world of finance and what it means for YOU as a college student.

College is a hugely important part of your life, but unfortunately, it can also come with a huge price tag. The bills add up fast. Even if you’ve (sort of) figured out how to pay for the college, it never hurts to cut down on expenses and put some extra cash in your pockets. Here are 4 ways to do it:

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Choose the Right Lender

Filling out the FAFSA will tell you how much money you’re entitled to receive in federal student loans, but in many cases, what the government lends you won’t be enough to cover all of your expenses. For the remainder, there are private lenders, and picking the right lender can make a huge difference in the amount you ultimately pay for college.

Competitive interest rates are important, but there are other things you should consider, like finding a lender that makes the cosigning process simple and secure, one with a support team that can answer all your questions (preventing mistakes that will cost you money), and one with programs that will allow you to delay payment in the event of financial hardship. It’s impossible to predict what will happen in the years after graduation, but a trustworthy lender can be a safety net.

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Scholarships - You May Be Missing Out

The best way to save money for college is through scholarships, financial awards you don’t have to repay. The two main types are need-based and merit-based. Need-based scholarships are typically given out by a university depending on financial need. Merit-based scholarships are awarded to students deemed deserving based on set criteria, but anyone can apply for them regardless of their financial situation.

There are tons of scholarships available, and they’re all worth applying to if you qualify. They take work - most scholarships require filling out forms and writing essays, but you expected that. :) Niche is a great tool to check out what you’re eligible for. Show me the money!

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Work-Study (Yup, You Can Survive Doing Both)

As part of the Federal Work-Study program, students with a proven financial need can apply for part-time jobs that help subsidize their college expenses. These jobs can be on or off campus, and they typically involve some component of community/civic service or a relation to your chosen course of study. You can apply for work-study by answering the dedicated question on your FAFSA, and while the opportunity has passed for the 2018-2019 year, you’ll be filling out the form again next year.

Income from work-study jobs is usually paid to you directly, but if you prefer, you can have it go directly towards your tuition. Just make sure to set it up with your financial aid officer.

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Graduate Early (Whaaa???)

As part of programs such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and the College Level Examination Program, high school students across the country are able to study college-level material across a variety of disciplines. If your high school offers these courses and if your college accepts the credits, you can get a head start to graduating!

Taking summer classes is another great way to save time, and by extension, money. Even if your school has a flat price per credit that doesn’t change over the summer, shaving time off the end of your education can save you money in room and board.

Good luck! And if you need more information, check out CommonBond

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