A college education without the crippling debt

Last week, I discussed the cost of a college education and the burden of student loans. Students shouldn't have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for their education. Today, I'm going to give you some options on how to get a college education without spending all the money in the world. 

The first option I am going to give you is usually the most overlooked. Instead of doing all four college years at an expensive school, get all of your core classes out of the way at your local community college. No matter what your major is, you will need to take some core classes - mathematics, science, english, and maybe some others. Take a look at the core requirements for the colleges you want to attend. Most community college credits will transfer to other schools. Take that first year or two to get those requirements out of the way for a fraction of the cost. 

Want to attend an out-of-state college? Students who attend a college outside of their state of residency often pay almost twice as much in tuition as those who attend colleges in their state. One option to get around this is to set up residency in the state of that school. Not everyone can afford to move to a different state before starting college. However, this would be a great time to get those core classes out of the way and get some "real world" experience in the working world. Also, if you already have an off-campus apartment set up, you can probably save on those pesky room-and-board fees.

My final tip is the one that most high school advisors give to their students. If you can find a great in-state public school, go there. Both of the colleges I attended were private. And, as I told you last time, the tuition (plus room-and-board) came out to about $50,000 per year. However, tuition at the main campus of Penn State University this year is approximately $35,000. (If you attend one of the satellite campuses instead, that could be around $30,000 instead.) That is a huge difference! 

I hope that these tips helped you or your children find ways to afford a college education. Next time, I'll be discussing ways to pay for your schooling. There is more out there than just loans on top of loans. College really can be affordable, if you know where to look.