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Remember Mr. Krabs from SpongeBob Square Pants? You know, the big red, loud talking, cheapest of cheapskates under the sea? That’s exactly how you should view your college expenses. The older I get the more Mr. Krabs is becoming my personal money manager. Okay, he’s methods for saving money was a bit unorthodox at times, but he was definitely on to something. I’m not going to tell you about a get rich quick scheme to make more money at The Krusty Krab, instead, I’m going to give you 7 ways to make college less expensive. Buckle in!

Consider both dream schools and realistic choices 

We already established that college can be expensive, but I’m not here to crush your dreams and tell you not to apply to your top choice schools. I’m just asking that you have a backup plan in case your top schools are asking for an arm and a leg. The last thing that we want is for you to be left with a bill you’re unable to pay once you’re enrolled.

Consider a community college 

If you’re not too pressed about the college experience, a community college might be the right choice for you. One great thing about a community college is that it is very affordable. Also, if you want to earn your bachelor’s degree after completing general classes, you’ll be able to transfer most of your classes to your four-year school.

Live with parents or off-campus with friends  

I really enjoyed living on campus because I was close to all of my classes and in the heart of all the campus activities. However, moving to South Carolina as a junior made me realize that living on campus is very expensive. I called my parents nonstop for money. In theory, you’ll end up paying less for your meals and housing if you decide to live with your parents or rent an apartment or house with a group of friends. Before you go to college, research ways to cut costs.

Search for cheaper textbooks 

There are cheaper options when it comes to purchasing books for college. Some campus bookstores will provide options from their book store and price match for other companies. Rule number one, always look for books that you’re able to rent or buy used. You’ll pay a fraction of the price, and in the end, you can save money for other items you might need like a laptop and parking pass. 

Work during the summer and save

The summer is hustle time! The more money you make in the summer, the less you might need to borrow. Summer jobs can help cover your tuition, dorm, and living expenses. Another added benefit is some employers might offer scholarships and tuition reimbursement opportunities while you work there during the summer or seasonally.  

Take advantage of AP and dual-enrollment courses 

Advanced Placement and dual-enrolment courses can be difficult and require a lot of dedication, but they are a great way to shave off time spent in college. Some students cut an entire semester or year off of college before they graduate high school.

Continue to search and apply for Scholarships 

Regardless of your income level, scholarships are the best method possible for you to cover your college expenses. Even when you’re in college you should still apply for scholarships. There are scholarships related to your academics, need-based, college-related, and super silly ones like the Zombie Apocalypse. Check out our free database called ScholarshipQuest which contains over 2,000 Nebraska-based scholarships.