Tuition costs for high school graduates entering college have gone through the roof, and there are no signs that this will change any time soon. What can you do to save hundreds if not thousands on college credit hours and give yourself or your kid a head start in graduating early? Below, I will discuss the numerous benefits to high school students who participate in earning college credit hours (also known as Transfer credit, credit transfer or advanced standing) and how you can go about enrolling yourself or your kids in a similar program at your local high school. Moreover, I will provide some other tips to keep the cost of college tuition as low as possible.
Before we get started, let’s look at exactly how fast tuition costs are rising with these staggering facts from finaid.org:
“A good rule of thumb is that tuition rates will increase at about twice the general inflation rate. During any 17-year period from 1958 to 2001, the average annual tuition inflation rate was between 6% and 9%, ranging from 1.2 times general inflation to 2.1 times general inflation. On average, tuition tends to increase about 8% per year. An 8% college inflation rate means that the cost of college doubles every nine years. For a baby born today, this means that college costs will be more than three times current rates when the child matriculates in college.”
By participating in the high school college credit courses you can gain college credit hours for the courses you already have to complete while in high school. There’s typically no additional work! However, some of the courses offered are Advanced Placement courses. When I was in high school I was able to earn 15 college credit hours through basic level courses that were a required part of my high school curriculum, thus saving a couple thousand dollars. Not to mention, that’s over a semester head start. Instead of taking 4 or more years to graduate, you can graduate college in 3 to 3 and half years. The cost of the courses are typically half the cost of the University or College, and many are free.Not to mention, you don’t have to pay for books!
It helps to know which school you or your child will attend in the future to make certain they will accept your coursework. The high school guidance counselor should be able to help you or son or daughter lay out a simple plan that’s best for them. In addition, you should consider dual enrollment in which they can attend the community college or local University in conjunction with their high school classes to earn additional college credits. You could potentially knock off a year or more of college! If you’re having trouble getting help from the high school counselor, go to the University or college they believe they will attend in the future, the admissions department should be able to help.
Along the same lines, students should seriously consider the savings to be had in attending a local community college for their liberal arts studies. In essence, with a four year degree, the first two years (associate degree) are dedicated to basic studies across all areas (to make a more well rounded individual), it really doesn’t make sense to waste money at a prestigious school with hiked tuition rates to take basic level courses. Instead, get your basic course requirements fulfilled for half or even a quarter of the cost at larger universities. Then take your major and minor related courses at the bigger and more well known Universities. One of the major perks to attending community college is the chance to try it out, so many people waste a ton of money going to school for a year, just to quit. State Universities offer significant value as compared to the private Universities. Think of it this way, if you’re going to go to some private Ivy league school on the East Coast, and move back to the Midwest to work after school, many people won’t know or care that you spent 5 to 10 times on your education, only that you have the degree needed for the position. On the other hand, if you’re going to stay around the area you went to school, it may make sense to pay for the “better known” name and schooling.