College for Less

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Catherine Balibuno pays the atm in the GSC a visit to make sure all of her financial things are still the way they should be. Photo by Shalyn Medeiros

Catherine Balibuno pays the atm in the GSC a visit to make sure all of her financial things are still the way they should be. Photo by Shalyn Medeiros

College is expensive, but through financial planning and thrift, it can be made to cost significantly less.

Scholarships and other financial aid may be the most effective ways to ease the financial burden of college. The key to getting scholarships and financial aid is applying. Apply for any and all scholarships possible; every little bit helps. Apply early to transfer institutions to avoid missing the deadline for scholarships and financial aid.

Student loans are also a good way to pay for college, as long as they are paid off in time. Most student loans have a relatively low or even no interest rate when paid off promptly. After the due date, however, the interest adds up and/or fees are charged, and the student can end up owing much more than the original amount.

Even with scholarships to cover tuition, everything else—food, housing, gas, books—adds up. Following a few simple tips can save you a lot of money on these things.

Buy used books. New textbooks can cost hundreds of dollars, but their used counterparts can usually be found for a small fraction of that price. Check the campus bookstore, Majock Books, or websites like Amazon.com or Chegg.com for discount used copies or borrow or buy books from friends and roommates.

Buy the right amount of food. Buying food in bulk is cheaper, but not if it goes bad before it can be eaten. This just ends up costing more. Splitting bulk purchases with roommates is a good idea.

Be smart with housing. Look around to find the best deal and remember to factor in whether utilities are included or not. Keep in mind other factors such as the distance from campus. If the apartment is close enough, you can save a lot of money on gas by walking to class.

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