Even without considering tuition and mandatory fees, college life is expensive. Many students will be relying on their student loans and scholarships to make ends meet. Some students work to get a little extra money, but there’s no way around it: College living is pricey, and most students are cash strapped. Yet there are ways to make your money stretch further and get more money. This list will highlight 50 money-saving tips that students across the USA can implement into their college plans.
One of the issues with college living is that there are some seemingly easy budget solutions that have hidden problems. Paying for everything on a credit card can seem great at the time, but when the debt piles up, that’s just more that a student will have to pay off. Any student who spends a little time researching budget-friendly ways to get through college without adding to their debt will be at an advantage. Just think: the less debt that you graduate with will mean less stress and less compromise when it comes to finding a well paying, fulfilling job.
But what’s also difficult is identifying all of the cost-cutting measures that you could be implementing. As a student, you could end up overpaying on many, many things. This article exists to stop this from happening. It has done the research into college budget living so that you don’t have to. Of course, some parts of the USA are more affordable than others, but many of the tips below should be able to save students thousands of dollars per year, no matter their circumstances.
Many of the budget-saving measures below will work for almost all college students in America. But some students may not want to implement them for certain reasons. This is every student’s choice. But each tip can be adapted to a certain extent. Because of this, this article has listed summaries of how a student can save money with the cost-cutting measures. These have been included so that students have the opportunity to implement the saving measures to either a larger or a smaller extent. Hopefully, it’ll highlight a way of saving money that they hadn’t considered.
To compile this list, we looked at a range of statistics on average student expenses and the alternate options to these expenses. We also looked at a range of articles that suggested money-saving tips and researched just how practical they are in real life.
The full list of articles in the methodology is as follows:
Edmit, How Much Does the Average College Student Spend on Living Expenses? https://www.edmit.me/blog/how-much-does-the-average-college-student-spend-on-living-expenses
College Board, Average Estimated Undergraduate Budgets 2018-19: https://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/average-estimated-undergraduate-budgets-2018-19
Love to know, Amount of Spending Money a College Student Needs: https://college.lovetoknow.com/Amount_of_Spending_Money_a_College_Student_Needs
Forbes, Beyond Tuition: Other Expenses Your Freshman Needs To Budget For: https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertfarrington/2014/08/07/beyond-tuition-other-expenses-your-freshman-needs-to-budget-for/#17c0a5eb5a98
Fastweb, 31 Money Saving Tricks for Students: https://www.fastweb.com/personal-finance/articles/the-31-money-saving-tricks-for-students
Save The Student, 83 practical ways to save money: https://www.savethestudent.org/shopping/the-best-money-saving-tips.html
WikiHow, How to Save Money As a Student: https://www.wikihow.com/Save-Money-As-a-Student
The College Investor, The 50 Best Ways To Save Money In College And Live On A Tight Budget: https://thecollegeinvestor.com/22453/save-money-in-college/
Nerdwallet, 11 Ways to Save on College Expenses: https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/finance/11-ways-to-save-as-a-college-student/
College Ave, Good Ways to Save Money in College: https://www.collegeavestudentloans.com/blog/creative-ways-to-save-money-in-college/
College Raptor, 9 Effective Ways to Save Money as a College Student: https://www.collegeraptor.com/paying-for-college/articles/financial-advice-planning/9-effective-ways-save-money-college-student/
Our list has combined the advice found on these articles and ranked them into the 50 best student money saving tips. Our final tips are ranked by evidence of money that a student can save and the ability to be utilized by most prospective students.
The list, from 50 to one, is here:
50. Grow your own food
Not every student will get a place with a yard, but you’ll still be able to grow something. Some colleges have spaces where students can grow food collaboratively. Or you could always grow your own spices if all you have is a window. You’ll probably be able to get the seeds/pots/soil for growing your food from someone on campus or a community organization. And if not, then buying seeds and soil is very inexpensive. There’s also a lot of joy that comes with eating a meal from food you’ve grown yourself!
49. Keep a close eye on the bills
Late fees are annoying, because they’re completely avoidable. All that you need to do to ensure that you pay your bills on time is to set a recurring alarm on your calendar a couple of days before the bills are due. If paying all your bills at the same time takes too much cash out of your account, then set the recurring alarms on different days, with each day being for a different kind of bill. Be sure to do this from the start of your college experience, as things like late fees can crop up on students when they first move away, as they aren’t used to paying bills yet.
48. Ask for gifts that are college/life essentials
Most people associate birthdays and Christmas as times when you should get something luxurious. But if you ask your family for something that will enhance your studies, then that’s a much more practical way to use these occasions. Just think, you’ve probably had many years of gifts that have been purely for your enjoyment. Now that you’re pursuing a career (which is technically what college is the start of) then you should be using gift giving occassions to help you achieve that goal.
47. If you have a credit card, keep on top of paying it off
This tip ranks low on the list, because of the risk that’s inherent with having a credit card and a low income. Of course, it’s important to have a good credit score, so occasional credit card purchases are a good idea. But you should never make a credit card payment that you can’t currently pay off! Most banks have measures in place to ensure that you can pay off your credit card without racking up debt, such as auto-payments, but due diligence on the part of the spender is still essential.
46. Eat less meat
Only 5% of Americans are vegetarians or vegans. But vegetarians really save a lot of money, because meat is one of the most expensive things in the supermarket. You don’t have to give up meat entirely, but you could decide to eat meat free meals three or four days a week to cut down on your spending. Instead, you can eat meals with the meat replaced by eggs, edamame, black beans, lentils or other low cost, protein rich foods. And another plus side is that this is a healthy choice to make!
45. Quit smoking and other expensive habits
This tip ranks low, as only 13 out of 100 people aged between 18 to 24 smoke. But for those who do, it’s an incredibly expensive habit. In fact, the average smoker spends $2,292 on smoking per year. Luckily, most colleges are more than happy to provide free assistance to their students who want to give up their smoking habits. This tip also applies to excessive alcohol usage and other expensive bad habits. Even if you can’t give up entirely, then reducing your habit will definitely have a positive financial (and personal) effect!
44. Learn how to repair your clothes (or pay someone to do it)
Many colleges have have makerspaces that are stocked with sewing machines and materials. This means that it’s possible for you to repair any clothing items that have broken. So instead of buying something new, you can fix your clothes for no cost! Many of these makerspaces have staff members who will show you how to use the equipment. And if you can’t master sewing, it’s still cheaper to pay someone to repair your clothes than to buy new items of clothing.
43. Instead of flying, take the bus
An incredibly long bus ride can be daunting, especially if you study in New York but live in Atlanta, but sometimes you can get a return bus ticket between these two cities for just $30. Comparatively, a return flight from New York to Atlanta will cost, at best, $120 and usually hundreds of dollars more. This tip doesn’t work for every single journey. New York to Los Angeles, for instance, rarely has buses that are cheaper than the cheapest flying options, so this tip ranks low on the list. But for the right student, bus rides can save money and ensure lots of studying time while traveling.
42. Choose the right student bank account for you
Wallethacks has compiled many of the best bank accounts for students. Perhaps the best of the best is Chase’s, which has no fee for five years as long as there’s $25 in the bank. But there’s also the fact that the bank gives students a $100 bonus for opening an account. However, new student bank account offers are appearing all the time. It could also be that a local bank in your region has an enticing offer, so ask people in your college (students and staff) of what’s available and what’s best for you.
41. Get free haircuts
It’s absolutely possible to get a haircut for no cost whatsoever. All you have to do is look for someone who is training to be a barber. Some hairdressing/barber schools will proactively ask for volunteers so that their students can gain some much needed experience. Other people who are training post on Facebook, Nextdoor or Craigslist. Of course, there’s a chance that you’ll get a bad haircut, but if you want to save money and only want a simple haircut, then this can be an amazing option.
40. Go to the cheapest movie screenings
One of the great things about being a student is that sometimes you’ll have time free in the middle of a weekday. Many movie theaters screen movies at much lower prices during these times. There’s nothing wrong with taking time out of your research hours if you make them up again at another time, like the evening or the weekend. It’ll also pay for you to check out the lowest cost theaters in your city, as one could be much cheaper than another for the exact same quality.
39. Make gifts for your family instead of buying things
You’ll probably have to buy the materials for making a gift, but these should be inexpensive compared to just buying the final products. Obviously, some people will be more skilled at home making gifts than others, but you may be surprised at how much your college can help you out when it comes to this. Many colleges have makerspaces that give students free or low cost materials and access to machinery. For instance, community members at Syracuse University have made unique 3D printed chess sets and engraved glassware. These amazing projects can work as fantastic gifts!
38. Never grocery shop on an empty stomach
When you’re buying food and you’re hungry, it all looks so delicious. The end result is that you’ll end up with too much food. Not only will some of that that food go to waste, but so will the cash that you spent on the food. There’s an easy way to overcome this specific obstacle, however. Just eat a hearty meal before you go pick up your essentials. Almost everyone impulse buys, but that doesn’t mean you have to put yourself in the most vulnerable position for these purchases!
37. Bring a home made lunch to campus
Making your own lunch can use up leftovers that otherwise might have gone to waste. It also allows you to save hundreds of dollars a year. It’s pretty much impossible to buy a filling lunch for less than $5 on any campus, but it’s easy to spend much less than that on the ingredients you use per homemade lunch. There are also other cheap alternatives to making a lunch, such as bringing in instant noodles, which can only cost around 50 cents a cup.
36. Plan days where you don’t spend any money
Most people spend money on something every single day. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Very often, you’ll have a stockpile of activities and resources, meaning that you don’t need to spend extra money to have fun. You can spend a whole day reading a book, watching TV or relaxing in a park without paying anything. You’ve probably got enough groceries in the fridge to eat well for an entire day, anyway. This may seem like an incredibly austere way to live, but if you go one day a week without spending any money, then that’ll mean that you’ve got more money for the other days!
35. Look for ATMs that don’t charge
Using an ATM that charges is so annoying. It’s a charge for a service that you can get for free elsewhere. Luckily, you can ensure that trips to expensive ATMs are kept to a minimum by doing just a little bit of research. Most banks and card companies have tools on their websites that let you search for ATMs that don’t charge. You can also just search for your bank’s ATM machines on Google Maps if you’re in an unfamiliar location and can’t find a free ATM. It only takes a second, and it could save you money!
34. Swap things with friends
If you have friends who have similar tastes in things like clothes, then that could be a golden opportunity for you both to save on some cash. Instead of buying new clothes, just ask to swap some with your friend. The odds are that both of you have some items that you’re bored with, anyway. Even if you’re both different sizes, there could be some clothing items that you can swap, like accessories. This can also apply to things like books and games. Of course, they don’t have to be permanent swaps, if you’re worried you’ll miss the items.
33. Find the cheapest possible prescription and over the counter drugs
Not too many people realize that the costs of drugs in America can vary wildly for a number of reasons. One of them is because name brand drugs are sold at a much higher rate than generic drugs. Also, the costs differ from drugstore to drugstore. Lastly, some government run hospitals offer discounted prescriptions to people who are on low incomes (and a student will technically be on a low income.) Use GoodRX to find the drugstores selling your prescriptions for a low cost.
32. Drink more water, less soda and much less alcohol
If you’re out at a restaurant, then the drinks will be heavily overpriced. Instead of buying a soda or an alcoholic beverage, you can just drink tap water, which is free! Of course, this tip can extend much further than just restaurants. Always bring in a bottle of water to campus, and refill it if you run out. And it should go without saying, but buying bottled water is pointless when you can just refill a bottle as many times as you like!
31. Try the lowest megabyte internet speed to see if it’s good enough
Many places in America only have one internet service provider option. This is annoying, but there’s still a way to make it affordable. You may think that you need internet at a certain speed, but you might be surprised. Sometimes, the lowest speed internet that your provider offers is enough for you to get by without any major delays. You should definitely try these lower cost, lower supply services first, because you can always upgrade later. It’s also worth checking out who provides you home’s internet and whether you can choose between suppliers before you commit to a residence.
30. Buy things far in advance or off season
It’s no surprise that if you want to buy a plane ticket, then the earlier you buy it the better! The trick here is to plan well in advance for your future travels during study. This also applies to buying things off season. If you need a new coat come the winter, then buy one in the middle of the summer! If you’re going to need an AC unit, then buy it in the winter! These are the kinds of things that you will need, but most people pay a premium for them because they waited until the demand was too high.
29. Embrace second hand and thrift store buys
Every student needs to buy clothes. Getting them from department stores can quickly rack up these costs. Thrift stores are filled with clothing at a reduced rate. And pre-owned shopping can stretch beyond just clothing. If you want to save money on electronics, furniture, equipment, tools, jewelry and more then always look for pre-owned items first. Nowadays, students have more opportunities than ever when it comes to finding pre-owned goods. Ebay, Craigslist, Poshmark and many other websites and apps let students find the best priced used items.
28. Be a paid friend
It may sound potentially sleazy, but Rent A Friend is very clear: people pay you to be their friend for a designated amount of time, and it’s strictly platonic, with the site being strict about this requirement! Becoming a friend on this site means that you could earn up to $50 per hour. It also means that the people that hire you will pay for whatever activities, like concerts or sporting events, they want you to accompany them to. Some people can earn up to $96,000 a year on this site. Of course, when you’re a student, you can’t be a friend full time, but it’s still a good way to not only enjoy free stuff and make friends but also earn cash! Of course, you do need to exercise some caution on this site and ensure that you don’t get into any risky situations with strange people.
27. Warm yourself in ways other than central heating
Many places in America get terribly cold in the winter. But if you do something as simple as wear more layers, you have a $0 way of keeping yourself warm. The same can’t be said about turning on the central heating! In a similar fashion, you can get a thicker duvet, or just sleep under multiple blankets. And lastly, it’s vitally important that you ensure that your home is well insulated. That means blocking draughty doors and closing the curtains.
26. Keep a close eye on expenses
Many people don’t realize how much certain things cost them when added up. And you may have subscriptions to things that you haven’t used in years. Therefore, a budget conscious student needs to spend time looking at their bank statements. It isn’t fun, but you could discover that you’re spending money on something you haven’t used in years or paying more than you thought on a leisure activity. If that’s the case, then cancel the subscriptions, cut costs and save! And if you discover that you’ve spent too much money on dining out one month, then you can stay on top of it by cutting these costs next month. The important thing is to keep an eye on the transactions!
25. Proactively aim to reduce expenses each month
This is like the above goal but a little more ambitious. If you see what you’ve spent on things in one month, then you can aim to spend a little less on the same things next month. You can use many of the other tips in this article to spend less, but setting yourself the goal of proactively saving is an important mindset to get into. For instance, if you work out that you’ve spent lots of money on dining out, then you can aim to spend a couple more days dining at home (or you can look for coupons, a la the next tip.)
24. Look for all the money saving offers out there
We all know that Groupon has so many offers, some of them amazing, some of them less than amazing. Of course, students can really make use of the good deals on that site, especially when they want to treat themselves on a budget. But there are other apps that have similar yet different functions to Groupon that allow you to have nice things at a lower cost. There’s Living Social, which is a lot like Groupon; Rakuten, which gives you cash back from a range of stores; or Restaurant.com, which gives you gift cards for restaurants at low prices. Just make sure you don’t get addicted to looking on these apps too much, or you could end up spending more money because you’re accessing too many offers on things you don’t really want or need.
23. Avoid marketing emails and other company sent temptations
This is kind of like the last part of the above tip. While it can be good to keep an eye out for sales, some people cannot avoid the temptation to buy things that, deep down, they know they don’t need. If that’s the case with you, then you can take steps to avoid temptation. Many people subscribe to store newsletters, get text messages on offers and have similar notifications, like saved searches on Ebay. If you unsubscribe from these sources, then you may never know that there was something for you to buy in the first place. Just think, you can re-subscribe to these newsletters when you’re in your dream job!
22. Buy food that lasts longer
This doesn’t have to mean that you only buy tinned goods. Anyone who has ever worked in a supermarket will tell you that employees put fresher food and drink behind the older food and drink. Therefore, if you want something that lasts longer before going bad, dig into the back of the stack. It might annoy the managers of the supermarket, but there’s no law saying you have to get the items at the front of the shelves! Things like the freshest dairy, vegetables and meat are always worth searching for.
21. Buy and cook groceries with roommates
If you live with people you’re social with, you can save lots of money by pooling together the grocery budget. If you all like certain meals, then buy the ingredients in bulk and split the costs. And you can turn this cost cutting measure into a social activity by cooking and eating meals together. If one of your roommates or friends wants to make a dish none of you have ever tried before, then if you split the food costs, it’ll still work out to less than a restaurant meal, even if you use gourmet ingredients.
20. Sell things when you’re done with them
If you had a textbook in your first year that you don’t need in the second year, then why not sell it to a student in the year below you? Both of you will be getting a deal, as you’re making money, and the next student is getting the book for a cut price. This doesn’t just apply to textbooks, though. If you’ve grown bored of a sport, then sell on the equipment. If you get a new phone, then you can sell your old phone, even if it’s broken.
19. Don’t get cable
With the internet, students have so many more ways to access entertainment. Some students can be just as content watching YouTube as TV. And if you do want to get TV, consider an option that’s cheaper than cable, such as Sling, which can get you dozens of TV channels for just $15 to $25 per month. An even cheaper option is to get one streaming service, like Hulu or Netflix. Hulu’s plans start at $5.99 a month and allow a customer to access thousands of shows and movies. Netflix is a little more pricey, at $8.99 per month, but the advantage is that there are no commercials!
18. Shop around for cheaper providers of essentials
Everyone in the 21st century needs a cell phone plan. But many people in America are overspending on their plans. Instead of spending $40 a month, they could be spending $15 a month for unlimited talk, text and data with Good2Go Mobile. The only catches are that the data becomes slow after one gigabyte of 4G LTE usage per month and that to get the offer this cheap, you need to sign up for auto payments. You may be able to find similar deals on insurance, internet, electricity, banking and so many more essential services.
17. Proactively look for student discounts
You may not realize all of the places that offer student discounts or student extras. Here are a few amazing discounts available to all students: Apple has a wide range of student pricing options (and free Beats headphones with many student purchases.) Greyhound has a student discount card that saves 10% on fares. Amazon Prime has a student plan that’s free for six months and then just $6.49 per month (this includes its streaming service.) Fedex gives students between 20% to 30% off shipping. And this is just what large companies are offering. Whenever you’re purchasing anything, ask if there’s a student discount!
16. Use free software
Many students buy Microsoft Office, the Adobe Creative Suite and other software for professional and personal usage. But many of these applications have free alternatives that can do the job just as well. Instead of Microsoft Office, Open Office has basically everything that a student could need. Instead of Adobe Photoshop, there is GIMP. Instead of Norton Antivirus, there are many other anti virus options that are recommended by respectable websites. The message is clear: before you buy an expensive software, look for and try out a free alternative.
15. Do what you can to keep utility bills low
It can be hard to live without an AC system in your home, but you can still be selective about how much you use it. Some people keep it running all day and night. The end result of this is that you’ll end up paying hundreds of dollars a month for a cool apartment and damage the environment. Instead, you can use your AC in other ways. If you set the temperature a little higher than room temperature, say 77 degrees, then you’ll get a relatively cool home with less energy consumption. And this tip stretches far beyond just AC systems. If your laptop has a full battery, then unplug it for a few hours, for example.
14. Only get used textbooks (or just check them out of the library/find them in digital form)
Textbooks are an essential part of every single college degree. While it can seem easier to just buy a new edition at the store, you should also look for used ones on Ebay, Amazon, Google Shopping or even in used book stores. Some textbooks won’t be needed for the long term, so you can probably get them from the college’s library (or just a normal library!) And last but certainly not least, ebooks are an amazing resource that you may not have considered. Some places online will offer ebooks either for free or for a fraction of the price of a physical copy. You don’t need an ereader for these. Just use your laptop.
13. Look for free stuff
If you’re going to attend college in a big city, then there’s a good chance that you can get lots of the stuff you need for free. Craigslist has a section where people post their unwanted items that they want to be rid of fast (Just make sure to always pick up free stuff on Craigslist with a friend present to be safe.) For people who attend college in more rural areas, then they can always see what’s on freestuff.com, which does exactly what its name says, i.e it gives you free stuff. And some colleges will give students things for free, if they ask for them. Look out for college events that say that they’re giving away free things to really make the most of this!
12. Discover all of the free or low cost things on offer on campus
Every college in America, even the smallest, has free things on offer. Not all of it will appeal to you, but it could be that you’ve been paying for something unnecessarily. Many colleges will give their students free yoga, free entertainment, free gym memberships, free outdoor equipment, free counseling and more. Just remember this: the money for these free college activities and resources comes from your tuition payments, so you’ve already paid for them. Why wouldn’t you use something you’ve paid for?
11. Attend free events
Many places across America have free entertainment options. Whether its a concert or a movie screening, there will always be something available. In addition to this, most museums have “pay what you wish” days, which give access to the premises for as much as a student wants to pay (which can be $0.) You should also look into any events that your city’s parks are organizing. And last but not least, college societies in particular love to show free movies and host performances for no money at all.
10. If you need a healthcare procedure, then look for the cheapest option
Everyone knows that American healthcare is ludicrously expensive, even if you have health insurance. But there are ways of lowering the costs. If you need a procedure or operation, you can ask different hospitals what they charge. A government run hospital may even offer the procedure at no cost at all. Of course, in an emergency, you should prioritize your health above expense, but if it’s an issue that is non-urgent, then it makes sense to find the best deal.
9. Be aware of all the scholarships and grants available to you
Many students think that scholarships and grant money can only be awarded before enrolling in college. This isn’t true. In fact, many colleges have systems in place that reward students financially for good grades, volunteering, being an active part of the college town community and many other things. And you can also look outside of your college for funding opportunities. Nerd Wallet reports that in 2017 alone, students missed out on $2.3 billion of federal grant funding! The key to getting these grants is knowing about them. Always look to see what kind of grants and scholarships your college offers before you apply, and if you can qualify for a federal grant or scholarship, then be sure to apply for it!
8. Don’t drive – Use public transportation instead
Many colleges in America provide students with passes that allow them to access their city’s public transportation entirely for free. If a student goes to a college that does this, then they will literally save thousands on getting around, if they use it! Even if you go to a college where you will have to pay to use public transportation, then that’s still cheaper than buying, maintaining and running a car. WikiHow states that in 2012, the average yearly cost of owning a car was $8,946. This has only risen since.
7. Bike places
A wide range of American colleges are encouraging students use bikes instead of cars. They’re so much cheaper and great for the environment. The best colleges sell bikes to students for incredibly low rates and have bike repair shops on campus that offer free tune ups and low cost repairs. On top of this, many colleges participate in bike sharing schemes, allowing students to access their city’s bikeshare programs at a reduced cost. This can be great to use to supplement a public transportation led college lifestyle.
6. See how much your parents (and extended family) can help you out
Even if you’re a first generation student with parents who don’t understand the point of college, it’s worth trying to see how your family can help out. You may need to outline how the college degree will let you have the career of your dreams, and that to do that, you need some financial help. Hopefully, you can convince your parents to provide assistance in some way. It may be that they will buy you furnishings, give you some cash or just agree to fund you if you run low on cash. And if you have extended family, then you may be able to do the same thing with them.
5. Have roommates
If you aren’t going to be living in a dorm, then you have options for where you’ll live. One thing will always save you money when it comes to renting in college, however: splitting the bills with roommates. Some people choose to live alone, but that comes at a high price. A single person living in a studio apartment will almost always be more expensive than someone splitting a two bedroom apartment with another housemate. Another added advantage of having roommates is that you may be able to live in a property that’s closer to college, the town or wherever you ideally want to live, as the shared bills will keep the costs down.
4. Work, either part time or through the gig economy
If (non-loan) money is coming into your bank, then of course you’ll save more money. You may not want to work during college, because it has the potential to distract you from your studies, but there are ways to make work work for you. There are now tons of opportunities on gig economy apps that allow students to work as much or as little as they want and change their schedules accordingly. TaskRabbit, for example, lets people earn money at the last minute by allowing them to take on tasks like furniture assembly, cleaning, standing in line and so much more. If you find yourself needing to pay for something but don’t want to drain your bank balance, then the gig economy can really work for you! And for people who crave a stable income, then there are usually many part time opportunities.
3. Complete your degree in the minimum time
Most bachelor’s degrees in America are structured around four years of study. But many students, for various reasons, take five, six or even more years to finish their degrees. And, of course, every year of study is another year of expenses added. It’s much easier to say “complete your degree in four years” than to actually do it, but there are ways to help ensure that you achieve this! Arm yourself with research that proves the college is right for your specific needs (this very site, for example, is filled with extensive college comparison research;) see if your college has any measures in place to ensure that students can complete their degrees on time; and make sure that your study takes precedence over your social life.
2. Attend college in a low cost city
A student who studies in San Francisco or New York City is bound to end up spending more. Most things in those cities cost more than other places in the US. Niche states that in 2019, Fort Wayne is the city with the lowest cost of living in America. Luckily, the city also has some pretty good colleges. University of Saint Francis, for instance, has many success stories. Huntington University is located just outside of Fort Wayne, and its student body is given over $12 million in grants and scholarships every year. And those are just two of the options in one of the many affordable US cities.
1. Attend a state college in your state
It can seem like there’s no getting around the high cost of a college education. And it’s true that for most students, tuition is by far the largest expense when attending university. But many American states have colleges that offer huge discounts for people who have been residing in the state for a year or more. New York State residents who attend a State University of New York System college, for instance, pay $7,070 in tuition per year. Even better is the cost of one of the California State University System’s colleges. These charge California residents just $5,742 per year. Even the smaller and more sparsely populated states have colleges that charge lower amounts for their residents. Idaho State University, for instance, charges an Idaho resident $7,872 per year.
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