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College Hacks from the ChooseFI Community | Ep 230

What You’ll Get Out Of Today’s Show

  • With the rising cost of college, what tips and tricks can help lower the cost of higher education? The community weighs in.
  • Because Austin’s company paid up to $8,000 a year in tuition, he chose to attend Western Governor’s University, where tuition costs a little over $6,000 no matter how many credits are taken. He doubled up on his credits, taking advantage of the school’s competency-based model and his work experience, to speed through classes at his own pace.
  • The US service academies provide world-class tuition-free educations. Not only is room and board included, but cadets and midshipmen also earn a monthly stipend of approximately $1,000 a month. Graduates do incur a five-year service commitment, but it includes substantial pay, housing, and food allowances and potentially additional free education.
  • Alternatives to the service academies are ROTC scholarships, which pay for tuition as well as provide stipends for uniforms and books. These scholarships also incur a service commitment.
  • Joe received two bachelor’s degrees, two master’s degrees, and his doctorate without taking out any student loans. With high standardized test scores, he received tuition, room, and board from a smaller school looking to increase enrollment and prestige to compete with larger schools. He was also able to earn living stipends as a teaching assistant at his own school and for teaching adjunct courses at nearby schools. Not only did he graduate debt-free, but he had a little money in the bank.
  • Look for unique cohort group scholarships, such as the caddy and firefighter scholarships mentioned in previous episodes.
  • Rachel took advantage of the Kentucky Governor’s School program for high school students in the summer between her junior and senior years. This program earned her automatic scholarships to Kentucky’s colleges and universities.
  • Rob offers tips on how to negotiate the cost of college directly with the admissions office. This Fall may be an especially good time to test out negotiating as colleges and universities worry over how many students will attend in this COVID era.
  • Sherry wrote in advising community college students to search for scholarships specific to their community college.
  • Listener Jonathan discovered his union offers a free college degree program available to union members and their families.
  • Renata’s daughter spent a summer studying for and practicing the ACT, raising her score from a 27 to a 32. That effort resulted in a full-tuition scholarship to a four-year university. Between the scholarship and the 40 dual enrollment credits earned in high school, Renata’s daughter will graduate college in just two years debt-free and still have two years of scholarship remaining for a master’s program.
  • Entering college with credits earned in high school can potentially save on fees. ChooseFI Chief Content Officer, MK shared how she had enough credits to enter college as a sophomore and was able to opt-out of the more expensive freshman meal plan saving her thousands of dollars.
  • Nicole wrote in to provide a couple of links to websites offering free open-source textbooks. Searching for courses taught by professors using free books can save $800 or more a semester.
  • Austin attended immunity college for two years on a full-ride scholarship and was a resident advisor to cover his dorm costs. He then applied for and received a Phi Theta Kappa scholarship and transferred to a four-year university.
  • Millie’s daughter works as a barista at Starbucks. Employees who work on average 20 hours per week can attend Arizona State University online without an obligation to continue working at Starbucks. They will even provide prep classes to employees who don’t qualify for acceptance as ASU.
  • Michelle went to a college that offered co-ops. She graduated a year early by taking college credits while in high school and was offered a job upon graduation from her co-op.

Resources Mentioned In Today’s Conversation

The Simple Startup book preview image

The Simple Startup: A Beginners Guide to Starting a Business

This is a guidebook for teachers, parents, and students interested in starting student businesses - but aren't sure where to start or how to move forward. You'll learn everything you need to know to help students take their ideas and turn them into profitable businesses.

Choose FI has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Choose FI and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. American Express is a ChooseFI advertiser. Disclosures.
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