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By www.gotcredit.com

Let’s face it: college tuition is through the roof, and it’s only going to get higher. At the same time, many higher level jobs are only available to those with degrees. Add the two together, and college becomes a daunting and expensive task, rather than a chance to learn and grow as a person. Not all hope is lost, however! There are plenty of methods you can use to cut back on costs and get a degree without having to climb a mountain of debt! Methods like…

Scholarships and Grants

This one is a no-brainer, but sometimes it still just feels like a lottery. Don’t be discouraged, though! If you can name one single thing that makes you stand out, you can bet there is a scholarship or grant for it. Are you short? Tall? Boy? Girl? Can you dance? Can you sing? Are you a liberal? Conservative? What career path are you aiming towards? The answers to those questions and more can all, you guessed it, get you some no strings attached cash. Is it worth it? Yes! If you spend three hours applying for dozens of scholarships and grants and even only get a single $500 scholarship, that’s the same as three hours working a $167/hour job!

Get Textbooks Cheap

Textbooks can be one of the hidden costs of college. Altogether, the price to buy all the textbooks you need for a single year might be a thousand bucks or more. Everyone knows that renting is one way to cut down costs, but another tip is to buy the previous edition of the textbook required. Do they want the 4th Edition? Get the 3rd edition. Oftentimes, the information is exactly the same, and if the questions in the book are different, you can always just work with a classmate. If you rent a used book in an older edition on Amazon, it’s entirely possible that you can get it for a single penny, minus shipping and handling. Yes, that’s a true story. How about that?

Online Classes

The best way to make things cheaper is to make them digital, and classes are no exception. If you’re taking a gen-education class or even some specialized classes, why pay full tuition just to sit in a lecture hall and listen to the professor, when you can pay half, sometimes a quarter as much? On top of that, you get more options and features to help you learn, like these online masters in aging interactive study guides and re-playable lecture recordings.

Live Off Campus

Here’s a little fact for you: if you do the math, on-campus housing at some colleges can be very expensive. Would you spend a thousand dollars a month for a place to live and eat? Two thousand? Three? Maybe if you were rich and wanted a condo. But you’re probably not rich, and are definitely going to be plopped into a noisy, smelly dorm. So what to do? Go ahead and live on campus your first year or two, make some friends, and then book it to an apartment or rental house with them! You’ll no longer have the luxury of paying for everything in a single lump sum payment, but you’ll have the advantage of, well, saving a lot of money and having your own place.

So there you have it, not one but four ways to make sure your money stays your money whenever you ship yourself off to college this fall. Use these wisely, and imagine the looks on everyone’s faces a couple years after you graduate, when you tell them you already paid off your loans!

This article was contributed by guest author Lizzie Weakly.