Save on College Costs
Students – You’ve saved, submitted your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and applied for grants and scholarships.
But the full cost of college isn’t just tuition and fees. It includes supplies, school-related electronics, food (pizza!), travel, laundry, entertainment, and more.
Whether you’re buying textbooks, traveling home for the weekend, dining out, or shopping online, Upromise® by Sallie Mae® can help you earn more cash back for future college expenses – and it’s free to join.
Tips for reducing college expenses
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. These institutions may offer a lower sticker price. Make sure that your prospective college will allow transfer credits.
Ask friends and family for money for your college fund. Instead of traditional money or 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.
Ask for electronics for high school graduation gifts. You’ll need some essentials to help you get through college. Computers, TVs, microwaves, and other electronic needs for freshman year add up.
Find a part-time job on campus. Many colleges and local organizations offer part-time jobs for students. Think about working at local shops, restaurants, or libraries to earn some income.
Work closely with an advisor. Make smart choices for classes and make sure you graduate in four years or less.
Buy used books or share. Textbooks can come with a hefty price tag. Look around for discount bookstores or buy used books from your campus bookstore. If you share classes with your roommate or friends, offer to share textbooks to save costs.
Share the housing expenses. Having a roommate and splitting the rent is a no-brainer.
Eat at the dining hall. You’ll probably have to pay for a meal plan anyway, so use this low-cost way to get daily meals instead of spending additional money on groceries and eating out.
Become a Resident Assistant in your dorm. They get free room and board (and get to be in charge).
Use your school gym instead of paying for a private gym membership. Use the resources available to you on campus. It’s a great way to keep expenses down and meet other students at the same time.
Don’t bring your car to school. Insurance, gas, and parking mean expenses, and many schools don’t let freshmen bring their cars to campus anyway.
Consider graduating early. Take classes over the summer or add more courses during the year to finish a semester early, which can save you housing costs.
Start paying off your student loans early. It’s never too soon to start. Some loan providers like Sallie Mae® offer products that let you start paying small amounts during college. By paying while you’re in school, you’ll have less interest to pay, and a smaller overall amount to repay after graduation.
Skip a take-out meal each month. Pass on one pizza or takeout night a month, and you could save enough to pay for expenses while in college.
Shop at discount stores. Thrift stores and discount retailers are a great way to save. Bring your friends and make an adventure out of it. You never know what you’ll find.
Use your student ID for other discounts. Many local restaurants, theaters, and museums offer discounted tickets for students.
Scan your local papers for free or low-cost activities. Many local and regional newspapers and TV stations publicize free or low-cost community events. They can make great group outings.
Buy in bulk. Split your purchases with your roommate(s) for a better value.
Do laundry at home. If you live nearby, your parents will likely be happy to help.
Stream movies. With theaters charging $10+ for a movie, save a few bucks by renting or streaming a movie in your dorm.
Trade your skills. Can you cut hair? Fix a computer? Have friends with skills, too? Help each other so you don’t have to pay a professional.
Was this page useful?
Tell us more