5 Ways to Maximize the ROI on Your College Degree Part 2

2. Lower Your Cost of College

Lower Your Cost of CollegeSound simple? It can be. It’s basic math. The less you pay for college, the less money you need to earn a significant ROI.

Here are some of the best ways to lower your cost of college:

  • Attend a college with lower overall tuition and fees. Simple. Intuitive. The less your overall tuition and fees for college, the less you have to spend.
  • Take advantage of any and all grant and scholarship money you are eligible for. When you apply for Federal Financial Aid through FAFSA5 and your financial aid eligibility scores are sent to your preferred colleges, you will be provided with financial aid options at each school you apply to. When you get your financial aid package, look hard at grant versus loan assistance. Don’t leave grant money on the table. Whether your free money comes in the form of a Federal Pell grant, or an institutional scholarship to encourage you to attend a school – it can make a mighty impact on ROI. Also, if you are a veteran eligible for the Post-911 GI Bill or an employee whose employer offers a Tuition Assistance Program, be sure you maximize the use of your benefits so you don’t have to take on any student loan debt at graduation.
  • If you do have to take out a loan for college, pay the interest while still in school. When you take out a school loan, you don’t have to pay any of it back during your in-school grace period. However, lenders still charge interest on unsubsidized loans during in-school deferment and it’s added to the loan balance, causing how much you owe after graduation to grow even larger than the original loan amount. If you can make partial payments while in school, you can owe less when you graduate, and save significant money over the life of the loan as well as pad your college ROI considerably.
  • Consider starting out a low cost institution and then transferring those college courses for credit at a later date. With the partnership between online colleges and universities such as Assumption College, Western Governors University, and Ashford University, and the revolutionary online college course provider StraighterLine, you can take the basic college courses offered during your first year of college for extremely low costs. Once you complete these online classes for college, you can have them transferred for credit to your StraighterLine partner college of choice. StraighterLine’s unique subscription program allows you to pay only $99/month plus a registration fee of $49 per course. For an even better value, StraighterLine offers a 10-course Freshman Year of College program for $999 total. When it comes to maximizing your ROI, paying under a thousand bucks for your first year of college will go a long way, particularly when you consider that the average yearly cost of tuition and fees at a private 4-year college is $28,500.
  • Reduce the number of semesters you need to attend college. Motivated students have known for a long time that the fewer semesters it takes for you to earn your degree, the higher your ROI, and the quicker you start earning. You can reduce the total number of semesters you attend college by earning college credit before you start. Here’s some of the ways to do just that: take AP courses and pass AP exams (Advanced Placement), take PLA (Prior Learning Assessments) for credit, pass CLEP exams, or by taking college course for credit at online college course providers and having the courses transferred prior to enrolling in a college or university.

5 http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/