Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florida. ...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Oct 21, 2021

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College costs a lot more than you might think. The expenses required to obtain a 2- or 4-year degree are much more than simple tuition. Rather, student need to think about tuition, books, school supplies, living expenses, transportation, and even entertainment.

When working to calculate college costs, first identify which college you hope to attend. Then find out what sort of academic term that college runs on (semesters or quarters) and how many years you think it will take to acquire the degree of your choosing.

Are there any ways that I can reduce college expenses and get financial assistance?

Consider taking online courses instead of attending classes in person. Online courses tend to be cheaper because they aren’t subject to room and board fees. However, make sure that the coursework is rigorous enough so that you won’t fall behind when you transfer to a four-year university.

Another important thing you can do is search for scholarships before applying to schools. If you have already been accepted and enrolled in a school, then look at the scholarships offered. Most colleges and universities have links on their student portals to scholarship information.

There are also government grants to consider, specifically the Pell Grant, which is offered to most people below a specific income level. Pell Grants alone are often enough to cover the tuition, fees, and book expenses at most community colleges.