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Ways to save before you get to college

  • Plan ahead with high school classes. Credit for your high school's Advanced Placement classes or credits for community college courses taken while in high school can transfer as college credits. Having to take fewer classes saves on tuition.
  • Consider attending school in-state or take core classes at a community college. They may offer a lower sticker price. Make sure that your prospective college will allow transfer credits.
  • Comparison shop on your living arrangements. Compare on-campus with off-campus with living at home (if that’s possible). An apartment may sound great, but it could add to your living expenses.
  • Ask friends and family for money for your college fund. Instead of gift cards, ask for contributions for your college savings. Even better, see if your college savings plan offers a gifting program where gifts can be contributed directly.
  • Get a part-time job. Every extra dollar you earn is one that you won’t have to borrow for school.
  • Consider using a credit card—wisely. If you need a credit card, look for one that offers cash back rewards, with no annual fee. Always make regular, on-time, monthly payments so you don’t rack up late fees and interest. Using a credit card wisely may help you accumulate some extra cash, and also help you build your credit history.

Enrolling in college level courses while in high school allowed me to earn college credits for free that apply to my degree.

Kaci N., Make College Happen Challenge winner


Ways to save while you’re in college

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Sallie Mae does not provide financial, tax, or legal advice and the information contained herein does not constitute tax, legal, or financial advice. Sallie Mae does not make any claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained herein. Readers should consult their own attorneys or other tax advisors regarding any financial strategies mentioned in this article. These materials are for informational purposes only.