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5 Ways That Might Surprise You to Lower College Costs

Many students are turning to little-known methods and creative solutions for a means to paying for their education with college costs rising every year and creating a tough situation for students that need to pay tuition. If you are a college student or incoming college student, then you have probably given some thought as to some ideas that you could use to pay for college and lower your need for student loans.

Luckily, all hope is not lost. There are definitely some creative methods that you can use to lower college costs and ensure that you are not paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt back for the rest of your life. Here are five ways that might surprise you to lower your college costs.

Work-Study Programs
If it's just a matter of money and you are willing to do whatever it takes, then a work-study program might be the right option for you. Working for an income while you are in school might sound like a no-brainer, but a work-study program takes it a step further. Participating in a work-study program means that you are working with the government or college to connect you with an employer that understands your unique scheduling needs and can even provide you with industry-relevant experience to jumpstart your career right out of college.

Income Share Agreements
Income share agreements are becoming more common each year, but are still relatively unknown. An income share agreement is an agreement signed with your college that forgoes tuition costs in exchange for a commitment from you to provide the college with a portion of your future income. This way, the college gets its funding, and you get to attend college for minimal upfront cost.

Use Community College Credits
A great way to save on your education is to take your general education courses at a community college. Credits at these smaller colleges are typically much more affordable and provide you with some cheap credits that will go towards your bachelor's degree.

Use a 529 Plan
One of the best ways to pay for your education that you might not have been aware of before is a 529 savings plan. A 529 savings plan is a type of investment account that can be started years before you begin your college education that can grow tax-free and be used to pay for college expenses when the time is right. You should talk to your parents about a 529 plan or start one yourself before you head off to college.

"Negotiate" with Your College
Colleges don't negotiate in the way that used car dealers negotiate. However, not many people know that asking for a reassessment from your college is indeed an option. Colleges will sometimes try to make it easier for their students to pay for tuition and could grant you a discount on your tuition if they deem that your circumstances are worthy. Typically, this occurs if the student is going through extreme hardship that is not reflected in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). There's no harm in asking your college if they will reduce college costs based on those facts.