Every year, Kelsey Redmond spends the equivalent of a new Toyota Prius on her education at Miami University in Oxford.
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Tips for saving on college
- Commute. Living off campus can cut living expenses in half, said Amy Barnhart from Wright State University. For instance, basic room and board at Ohio State University is $10,392 a year.
- Take more classes. Most universities charge a flat rate for a full-time student’s tuition, whether that is for 11 credit hours or 18, Barnhart said.
- Find the right fit. Transferring between universities can be expensive if credits don’t translate, Barnhart said. But starting at a community college might be a good choice. Barnhart said this year, Wright State launches a program for students to begin at Sinclair Community College for general education requirements and receive dual advising from both schools. Students only have to apply once, she said.
- Evaluate spending. Take time to review spending, like whether you are under-utilizing your meal plan, and adjust, said John Rogers III, director of orientation at Wright State. Also try renting textbooks instead of buying and developing a personal budget.
- Consider “comfort” needs carefully. Many colleges now offer additional services (like laundry, air conditioner or refrigerator rental) for an additional fee, said Brent Shock, Miami University’s director of student financial assistance. Can you live without these services to save a few dollars?
- Get a job on campus. Minimally working a few hours each week provides you with a chance to build marketable skills and make a few bucks, Shock said.
- Stay on track. Visit with your professors and academic advisors often. Graduating on time not only saves you from an extra semester (or year) of tuition, room and board costs, but also increases your lifetime earning potential. Staying an extra semester or year could result in a year’s worth of lost wages, Shock said.
This newspaper has worked hard to bring you the latest information on trends in higher education, including spending by universities and the cost of tuition.