3 Ways to Reduce the Cost of College

Friday, August 30th, 2019

By: Peter Vander Ploeg, CFP®

As I mentioned in the previous blog, “The Danger of Delaying College Savings,” tuition rates are becoming more and more expensive.  When it comes to paying for college, many parents shudder at the cost.  But lesser-known ways to reduce the cost of college exist.  Check out these exciting options for families in Colorado.

The Colorado College Opportunity Fund

The State of Colorado created a fund that provides a stipend to eligible undergraduate students to help offset the costs of tuition.  To receive the stipend of $94 per credit hour for a public college or $47 per credit hour for a private college, the undergraduate student must apply, be admitted and enroll in classes at a participating college.  Additional requirements can be found on the website.  You can find more detail at https://cof.college-assist.org/Home/Faq.

The Western Undergraduate Exchange

The Western Undergraduate Exchange (Woo-Wee) program is part of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).  If you are a resident of a WICHE state, you have an opportunity to participate in the WUE program.  The WUE program offers tuition at out-of-state schools at a reduced rate.  With WUE, out-of-state students pay no more than 150% of the in-state tuition rates of participating schools.  Savings through the program averages about $9,400/year.  You can find more information at https://www.wiche.edu/wue.

Grants and Scholarships

Grants and scholarships are the classic ways to get assistance with college tuition, and unlike loans, you don’t need to repay them.  The U.S. Department of Education website has great resources regarding grants, scholarships, and other types of aid available to prospective students.

Getting aid takes patience.  No matter where you look for college tuition assistance, you need to be prepared to spend the time necessary to submit the required information.  Local and less well-known aid opportunities are often your best opportunity to obtain aid.  Stack a few of those together, and you have the chance to make a big dent in the overall cost of college.