Tuition Costs Aren’t Always Set in Stone, with the growing Cost of Attendance each year, one way to spend less is through tuition discounts. But most families don’t realize tuition discounting is possible,
College aid experts say. In fact, last year the average tuition price among 411 private colleges was discounted by around 49 percent for the 2017-2018 school year, according to a recent study by the National Association of College and University Business Officers.
Here Are 10 Ways to Get a Tuition Discount
10. Receive a military discount
In addition to being able to use GI Bill benefits, some schools will also cut the price of tuition for student veterans. At the University of Washington, for example, active or reserve members of the U.S. armed forces who are residents can receive up to 50 percent off the in-state rate.
9. See if your school offers a discount on summer courses
Some schools offer reduced tuition prices for attending classes during the summer. Ohio State University—Columbus, for example, offers 25 percent off for attending a class during the 12-week summer term compared with its tuition prices for the spring and fall semesters.
8. Negotiate with the school for a discount
Not all families pay the full sticker price, college admissions experts say. An estimated 78.5 percent of all undergraduates received some form of college aid in 2016-2017 among private colleges, according to a NACUBO study.
7. Check whether the school offers a legacy program
“I’m a big fan of legacy scholarships. Nothing like trading in your college stories for cold, hard cash,” says Orsolini. “I always encourage kids to look at where their parents went.”
The University of Kansas, as an example, offers a legacy discount through its Jayhawk Generations Scholarship. Legacy students with stellar academic records can receive more than $50,000 over four years if a qualifying family member graduated from KU.
6. Apply through a regional exchange program
Cost-conscious families can also save money on tuition through exchange programs. These regional programs, such as the Western Undergraduate Exchange, the Midwest Student Exchange, the New England Regional Student Program and the Academic Common Market in the South, offer qualifying students a tuition break.
“These are programs where colleges and states have agreed to play nice with each other. If you attend one of these schools in another state, it’s up to 150 percent of their in-state rate,” says Orsolini from College Aid Planners. “You get some tremendous value without having to pay the full out-of-state rate.”
5. Qualify for a hardship tuition waiver
If a hardship occurs, such as a parent losing his or her job or there’s a death in the family, college experts recommend asking a school about a hardship tuition waiver. But usually, colleges have certain criteria for these waivers.
At the University of Louisiana—Lafayette, for example, a student must attend full time and be Pell Grant eligible among other criteria to qualify.
4. Work at the school
While work-study is one way to pay for college, there are other jobs on campus that can help reduce the cost. Working as an employee at a prospective school before attending there as a student is another way to offset tuition. Some institutions, experts say, may waive or reduce tuition for an employee who is attending classes.
Working in the public sector in some states may also be enough for a tuition waiver. That’s the case at Florida State University.
3. Obtain a discount through a family member’s workplace
Oftentimes, the spouse, child or grandchild of a university employee will qualify for a tuition discount at some schools. “It’s usually about some organization that is affiliated with some college in some form or another,” says Joseph Orsolini, founder of Chicago-based College Aid Planners.
In some cases, a school will offer discounts to children of federal employees. University of Maryland University College offers a 25 percent “Federal tuition discount” to out-of-state families with a federal employee.
2. Get a tuition waiver based on income level
While families with low income will qualify for federal financial need-based aid, some colleges chip in extra cash in the form of tuition waivers. Princeton University in New Jersey and California’s Stanford University, to name a couple, both offer free tuition to households who fall below a certain income threshold.
To qualify for the waiver at Stanford, as an example, the student’s parents must have less than $125,000 in both income and assets, according to the school’s website.
1. Attend a tuition-free school
There are a handful of schools that offer free tuition to admitted students, but usually, these schools require on-campus work. Students at the College of the Ozarks in Missouri, for example, must work on campus 15 hours a week in addition to two 40-hour work weeks during semester breaks.
Other tuition-free colleges, such as the United States Air Force Academy and the United States Naval Academy, require service in the U.S. armed forces after graduation.