You Can Control The Cost Of College

Barry Lenson

Cut The Cost Of College

At state schools, tuition continues to rise. It does at exclusive private colleges too – the schools with immense endowments. Dartmouth College, for example, had a $3.9 billion endowment in 2012. Tuition there hovers at $45,000. Dartmouth also gives financial aid to 57% of its students, according to data on

Instead of quoting a hefty tuition fee and then requiring only 43% of students to pay it, why doesn’t a school like Dartmouth simply lower tuition for everybody? That would make more sense than what they are doing, right? Yet there are good reasons why colleges won’t do that.

For one thing, a certain number of college students come from families that are able, maybe even eager, to pay full tuition. Then there’s the fact that the funds that make up a college’s endowment are often earmarked for specific purposes like athletics or a new building, and therefore can’t be used for academics or financial aid. You can read a good explanation of that in “Why college endowments don't cover tuition,” a post that Kate Davidson wrote for on August 23rd.

Colleges Won’t Lower Tuition, but You Can

Most colleges are limited in their ability to cut tuition. But you aren’t. You have a lot more options to cut costs, like these . . .

  • Take low-cost college courses online and transfer the credits you earn to the college of your choice. Some smart students use this strategy to save as much as one year of college costs.
  • Attend a top online university and take just a few courses at a time. Granted, this strategy might not slash the number of tuition dollars that you’ll pay eventually. But it does let you control how much you are spending on college ever year. If you’re on a budget, it’s a strategy that’s worth thinking about.
  • Use MOOCs to study the subjects that will help you learn and advance your career. As we’ve noted on this blog in the past, it is generally difficult to obtain college credits for the courses you study. But if you’re more concerned with beefing up you knowledge in a specific area of study, you could find what you’re looking for.
  • Opt for a bundle of specific college courses that address the career that you’d like to pursue. Here at StraighterLine, we offer specific course bundles for social entrepreneurship, business, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) courses, and even nursing courses.

Flexing Your Flexible Power of Choice

Colleges might not be able to do enough to trim what you pay in tuition. But you can. In today’s fast-changing world of distance education, it’s important to remember that you have more options than ever before.

how to cut the cost of college
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