College is expensive, we all know this; however, that doesn’t mean it’s completely unaffordable. While it would be great to have enough savings from your high school job to pay for college, as instate tuition costs an average of $10,000 per year, that’s pretty unlikely. Don’t worry; we have some tips to help you out!

Aside from getting a job, here are a few ways to help you offset the cost of your tuition so you don’t buckle under the financial pressure.

Related: 9 Things to Do Before the Semester Starts

Search For Scholarships and Grants

This is the very best way to save money on tuition because you never have to repay scholarships or grants. While it might seem impossible to get a National Merit Scholarship, there are other scholarships, and there’s money for every type of person, you just have to be willing to look for it.

Speak to your advisor, your professors, your high school counselor, your boss, and your parents. They might know of potential scholarships. If not, search, search, search!

Participate in Work-Study

As long as your parents aren’t in the top 1% of earners in the country, there’s a good chance that you qualify for some form of work-study.

Make sure you complete your FAFSA and talk with a financial advisor at your school. Then you just spend a few hours a week sitting at a reception desk on campus or tutoring first-year students in the subject of your choosing. Your “salary” is normally automatically deducted from your tuition, so you don’t even have the chance to waste it on booze and junk food.

Financial Aid

Financial aid can be a huge help, but remember that a lot of the aid they send you is in the form of federal student loans, meaning you’ll begin paying it back once you graduate.

The great thing about financial aid loans is that the interest doesn’t start accruing until after you leave school. With these federal loans, you can benefit from the policies and procedures the current administration is attempting to put in place.

Related: 8 Myths About Financial Aid College Students Need to Know

Take Summer Classes

You can reduce your overall time in college or get the classes you need when you need them if you simply take summer classes. Every school is different, but summer classes are often cheaper than the per-credit fee of fall and spring semesters.

Additionally, instead of paying for a 9th or 10th semester of full-time college, you can throw summer classes in the mix and pay part-time costs without jeopardizing your matriculation or graduation date.

Graduate Early

This is the best way to save money on tuition: stop paying it! The only way to feasibly do that is to graduate early. As noted above, you can do this by taking summer classes, but you can also pack your schedule full of courses, or get credit for summer internships.

Look for those one-credit Independent Study courses that simply require you to write a paper at the end of the term, or get a few extra credits by taking courses that don’t require lots of reading, papers or studying, such as Theater Appreciation. You can score some credits just by attending class and watching a few plays on the weekend. You can also take easy filler courses if you really need a few extra credits; just check out what the less-scholarly athletes are taking and follow suit!


Image: Derrick Collins