How to gain a college education without paying the full price

By: Lisa Garrison, January 18, 2022

College can be rewarding in the education that you are able to take from it. But going to school should not cause you to be $55,000 in debt (guilty). Toward the end of my bachelor’s degree, was when I found there had to be ways to save on the education I was receiving. So I started to do some research. I found some really inexpensive to almost free to free ways to obtain the needed credits for my bachelor’s degree. I am so glad I did, I was able to finish my degree faster, saved money doing so and found myself having fun finding the ways to save the money. The excitement has pushed me to tell all of you the list of ideas that I have used to save money gaining your college education.

  • Write papers to prove experience or education on a certain topic. For example, you could explain how being a parent has prepared you to have leadership skills. Or say you were a volunteer grief counselor at your church and have the training from that and it has helped prepare you to be a counselor.
  • Take CLEP Tests at national testing centers to earn the credits
  • Take courses through alternative platforms like,, and Straigherline
  • Work on campus- I did this
  • Work with a company that offers tuition reimbursement- some of the top companies that do this are Amazon, Chick-fil-a, Home Depot, Target
  • Apply for scholarships on sites like (my favorite), and are the top two, but there are others out there and also check with your school for any scholarships they may have
  • Rent your books if possible-This could be from Amazon,,,,,,, or
  • Live with others or family (especially when just starting college)
  • Once you have received your associate-level degree, you can be considered an Alumni and most colleges have a discount program for their Alumni
  • Work at a job specifically to pay for school
  • Attend a school that is tuition-free
  • Attend 100% demonstrated needs based school
  • Make sure to fill out your FAFSA to get the most grant money based on your income (or your parents if you are just starting college)
  • Work on your grades, earning higher grades can also help you with merit based incentives
  • Study abroad if given the opportunity

Personally, I find it unfair that those choosing to expand ones knowledge beyond high school and earn a degree are causing one to be indebted in doing so. Accourding to the research US News did, the average cost to earn a bachelor’s degree is $43,775 as of 2022. That is more than the cost of a mid-sized car, which averages about $25,000 in 2022 (according to 

What I am cautioning is that you need to be really careful when wanting to get your education outside of high school. That $43,775 if not paid back right after leaving school will accrue interest, and for most can double very quickly. Be smart, borrow smart, find alternatives to pay or earn credits and do your homework to be informed before attending. 

Get your very own Financial Worksheets to help you with your finances. To be able to use these worksheet to help prevent money mistakes from happening. Use them to keep track of where your money is going, being saved and help for those just starting out. 

The Financial Worksheets packet includes:

  1. Monthly Budget Worksheet
  2. Investment Planner
  3. Bill Payment Log
  4. Worksheet to help you Save $1378 in 52 weeks
  5. Budget for Moving out Worksheet 
  6. First Apartment Checklist 

Get your planners here:

First Apartment Checklist
Bill Payment Log
Investment Planner
Save $1378 in 52 Weeks Challenge
Monthly Budget

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