How Students Can Save on their College Tuition in 2021

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How Students Can Save on their College Tuition in 2021

With so much having changed in the past year, it’s no wonder that many students have had to alter or reconsider their college plans. Some have considered taking half-time semesters, have had to go fully virtual, or even considered taking a gap year during COVID-19. No matter what choices students have had to make, one thing that hasn’t changed is that college is expensive. Some schools have even slipped in higher fees and tuition for virtual courses since many universities have pivoted to online learning. With these costs to keep in mind, here are a few ways students can save a little (or a lot) on their college expenses. 


You’ve probably heard this one a lot, and there’s a reason for that. Scholarships, for the student at least, are essentially free money towards their tuition. All it costs is the time it takes to apply. Apply for as many as you can possibly muster, and seek out new scholarships often. 

There are new scholarships posted every day, especially through various university resources and databases where these applications and opportunities are posted. There’s a scholarship out there for anything (well, almost anything). Are you a redhead? There’s a scholarship for that. Left handed? Yup. If you’re willing to make your prom outfit out of duct tape, there’s a contest and scholarship for that, too. (Seriously.)

In any case, there’s no shortage of scholarships. Apply, and apply often. Spend time each day as you’re getting ready for your next semester to apply to various scholarships. Also, remember a little goes a long way; you don’t need to win a $10,000 scholarship to get what you need. Scholarships come in all shapes and sizes, financially speaking. Applying for lots of smaller scholarships can go just as far, as they’re more readily awarded and a bit less competitive than the doorbuster scholarships everyone guns for. If you’re looking to save as much as you can on tuition and school expenses, be flexible and open minded, and be willing to spend the time to apply to all kinds of scholarship opportunities.

See if You’re Eligible for Grants

Grants can be just as helpful as scholarships, and you don’t have to apply for these. When you fill out your FAFSA each school year, this form helps the school determine what aid you’re eligible for. This doesn’t just come in the form of loans; if you or your parents make below a certain income threshold, you’re eligible for government grants to help pay for your education. 

This is not money you have to pay back; it’s given to you if your circumstances meet the eligibility criteria. Not everyone is eligible, but it’s good to find out and anticipate if grants can help pay for part of (or in some cases, all of) your tuition. 

Consider a Community College for Your Gen Ed Requirements

If you’re on the fence about where to go, or you’re about to embark on your first year of college, consider attending a community college for your first two years. Earning an associate’s degree this way and then transferring to a university later can save you literally thousands in tuition. 

Community colleges offer the same exact accredited courses for as low as a third of the cost that universities do. Some of these colleges, if they’re close to state universities (which they also may be partnered with for direct-connect programs) may even have the same professors teaching the same courses and curriculum at both colleges. The only difference is the school where you earned those credits and the cost. 

Do your research and see if this is an option for you. It’s not necessarily the path for everyone, but it is certainly a cost effective one. 

Ask for Funds Towards Your Tuition in Lieu of Gifts

About to graduate high school? Have a birthday coming up? Ask any loved ones who might purchase gifts for you to offer those presents in the form of aid towards your tuition. Many students do this as a way to offset some of the costs of college, especially for things outside of tuition itself like lab fees and books.

These types of costs can really stack up, even if you or a scholarship has your tuition covered. Don’t hesitate to ask for gifts towards your tuition and educational expenses; many loved ones would be thrilled at the idea of helping you go to college. 

Written by Josh Elledge - CEO, UpMyInfluence

Josh Elledge is U.S. Navy veteran and launched UpMyInfluence to help entrepreneurs like himself attract the perfect audiences and grow their authority and influence. While growing their better-than-PR agency, UpMyInfluence discovered that building 7-figure B2B Sales Systems (with zero paid advertising) for agencies, consultants, coaches, and other high-ticket B2B service providers is actually what they do better than anyone else on the planet.

UpMyInfluence was the natural outgrowth of his first startup, which has grossed more than $6 million in sales with zero paid ads. He did it all through building authority and serving audiences in the media.

Josh is a weekly TV consumer expert in Orlando, writes a syndicated newspaper column to 1.1 million readers, and regularly appears on more than 75 TV stations across the country. All told, Josh has appeared in the media more than 2500 times.

Josh loves living in Orlando, FL with his wife and three children.


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