An Unconventional Guide to Paying for College

How 3 Students Saved $295,000 in College Costs

 

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This blog is focused on helping you save money on your college costs and find new sources of money for college. To that end, here is a story of 3 students who are absolutely killing it, in saving money on college costs.

http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2011/pf/college/1109/gallery.college_savings_strategies.moneymag/index.html

The three methods used by these students can be considered somewhat unconventional, but I think that in these situations, their ingenuity has definitely paid off. As the title suggests, they have saved over $295,000 with their unconventional techniques and decisions, so it is worth taking a closer look.

Look outside of the country

The first story is about Gesten, who was at first looking to go to the University of Oregon, but her parents could not stomach the $40,000 per year cost.

She took the very unconventional route of going international for her college experience. She took a short leap geographically across Puget Sound to the University of Victoria in british Columbia. For a little over $28,000 per year, she earned her degree in Business.

Her decision to travel outside of the country for a high quality degree saved her roughly $50,000.

Attending college outside of your native country is a radical decision. However, for some people, this might make sense. For example, if you are fluent in a language other than your native tongue, you might consider attending a college which primarily speaks that language. being bi-lingual, is almost always a huge career boost. Here in the U.S. we are very prideful of our conception that our country has the best education system, but that is not always the case. There are many high quality colleges located around the world, and often at a much lower price than an education here in the U.S.

It’s also important to pay close attention to the student visas that you will need to obtain and the associated costs. Studying abroad is a big decision, but it is one that could save you a lot of money in the long run.

Get your college to invest in you

This next story is the most ingenious, and fascinating, money for college story I have ever heard. Matthew Turcotte, the student, founded a business that specializes in designing websites for small businesses. Turcotte reached an agreement with Clarkson University, where Clarkson would own a 10% stake in Turcotte’s company in exchange for a full tuition scholarship to Clarkson.

This is reminiscent of the NBC show Shark Tank, rather instead of getting upgraded production capabilities and a mentor, Turcotte has received a complete college education in exchange for 10% of his company. They value his education at $150,000, which would have his company valued at $1,500,000. Fairly remarkable for a college freshman.

I have never heard of a college offering this type of agreement before. I would imagine this scholarship was provided by a department or small business development incubator  within the college. However it came about, I love the concept. It rewards the entreprenurial spirit, and it also encourages students to pursue their dreams even before they begin their college careers. This student will likely have the support of the college community as his business grows.

This should be a great incentive to start your own business while in high school or in college. You may be able to leverage your business success into a full scholarship or at least into a partial scholarship.

Start at a community college and finish at a university

The final student began her academic career at a community college. She was able to obtain a federal grant to pay all of her tuition and fees, and enrolled in a university transfer program. This program had an agreement with the University of Virginia that they would accept her automatically in their bachelor degree program, once she completed her courses of study at her community college.

Ebonee completed her courses at her community college where she learned how to study, and got acclimated to college life. She then transferred to the University of Virginia to complete her degree, and have her tuition and fees covered again by grants from the university.

Starting at a community college is a very smart decision for a lot of people. It is a lot cheaper, there are smaller classes, there is much greater ease of entry, and many community colleges have transfer programs directly into a major university.

Starting at a community college is a very good decision for many people, which is why our country has seen a dramatic rise in community college enrollment in recent years.

How will you save money on your college costs?

Which of these ideas do you like the best?

Would you consider putting any of these into practice, or perhaps pushing your children to pursue one of these options?

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6 Comments

  1. I like the last one. It seems more accessible to students. Going to a college in another country sounds like a good option, but I thought most college has surcharges for foreign students. I know that’s why our state colleges love foreign students so much.
    retirebyforty recently posted..Occupy Portland Part 2My Profile

    • @RB40 — The school I work at only charges a $15 per semester international student fee. They do pay non-resident rate which is about 60% higher than the resident rate. Colleges try to maintain a good balance between residents (in-state) versus non-residents. But you are right though, the last option does seem the most attainable. Thanks for the insight!
      STRONGside recently posted..How 3 Students Saved $295,000 in College CostsMy Profile

  2. I recommend to my students to start community college and transfer to a state school. No one asks if you went to the school all four years. It is where you graduate that is important.
    krantcents recently posted..Are You Obsessed with Goals?My Profile

    • @Krantcents — You are definitely right on that one. Nobody really cares where you start, its where you finish that really matters. that is excellent advice for any college student

  3. The 28K a year for school up in Canada is for an international student btw, for us Canucks it is much cheaper. I just wanted to point out the difference between American and Canadian institutions. I’m fairly certain there would not be much difference in “quality of education” as well, but I’m putting less and less stock in these reputations anyway.

  4. @University Money — Thanks for your perspective! It’s easy to forget that not everybody lives in the same geographical location as you, so it’s always nice to have a fresh perspective! I think you are right on with the “quality of education”. Seems like this girl got an excellent education at her school in BC.
    STRONGside recently posted..Buy and Sell on Craigslist to Make Extra MoneyMy Profile

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