** UPDATED ** info with more ideas at the end of this thread
Okay, so none of us can afford college... What are some options? I've listed some below to get us started...
Our state schools used to be very low in tuition, but have jumped over 250% in rates across the board in just the past 12 years -- partly due to our state being among the worst hit by the housing bubble burst. Our state is broke and has no more money to fund education, so the universities have raised tuition drastically to cover those costs -- literally doubled tuition in just 4 years. So the new reality for us is $10,000/year (and continuing to go up every year) for in-state tuition. Did we save for our DSs college? Yes. Starting when each was born, we've saved out of every paycheck. Each DS has about $15,000 for college, which I thought that was pretty good, considering we are a one-income family with no debt (other than the mortgage), so I could be a SAHM and homeschooler, and DH has a very middle class job.
So, that means we have to be creative in figuring out how this college thing is going to work. I've been doing some research, and here are some options I'd like to share with you all, to help kick off some out-of-the-box thinking. Please use this thread to jump in and add more ideas so we can help one another out!
Remember, alternatives have advantages and disadvantages -- and as some people mentioned in that original cautionary tale thread, you have to be willing to let go of your expectations about the college experience, costs, and results. And when we ARE willing to let go of expectations... that can open up a whole lot of possibilities! So here's to making lemonade with the current college cost lemons! Warmest regards, Lori D.
- Live at home; use public transportation to commute
Most universities and community colleges have special semester bus passes. (Our DS has to travel 50 minutes one way by bus to the CC every day -- and it is 90 minutes when we don't drive him to the transfer bus stop 4 miles away. BONUS -- he gets a lot of reading and studying done on the bus! )
- Live with a family/older retired couple while at college
If going to an institution that is away from home, line up living with a family or an older retired couple and trade room & board for a few hours/week of child care, house cleaning, yard work, handi-work, pet care, etc. Find a reputable family through homeschooling contacts, church, campus ministries, etc.
- Use the money you saved for DC's college and buy a house
The housing market is still depressed in many areas and interest rates are low. Take a chunk of the money set aside for college, use it as a down payment on a house within a few miles of the university and near public transportation, and have your DC live there and be the landlord (does the house work, yard work, painting, minor repairs in exchange for their own rent). Then rent out the other bedrooms to other students at a rate that pays for the house payment and utilities. Resell at the end of college days and use the accrued equity to pay down college loans, or as a gift/loan to DC for a down payment on a house near the DC's work.
- Go to Community College for 2 years, and Transfer
Cuts down two years of university costs.
- Delay College: Get a 2-year degree; Work/Save; and then Go to College
Depending on what you get the degree in, a student can earn $30,000-45,000 a year with some 2-year Associate's Degrees. So a student could spend 2 years getting the degree, then work 2 years, living at home, and come out after 4 years with (after taxes) $50,000 to $75,000 for college.
- Go to a Tuition-Free College
Be willing to not go to your first-choice college and get a degree from a full-scholarship institution.
- Go to College Abroad for much less, maybe even free!
Not only does it reduce tuition, but think about the incredible additional culture and life experiences you get! Pay for some of the costs of getting there and living there by working as an au pair, teaching English, temp work, etc. See some of the Gap Year websites for great ideas and links on jobs, travel, etc.
- Work on Campus while a student: Work Study
Check out the work study program at the school.
- Work on Campus while a student: Tutoring
Once you've taken some entry-level courses, earned As or Bs, you can apply to be a tutor at the university or CC's tutor program, often getting paid to just be available during the tutoring hours -- and getting to study your own work when no one needs your services. This is especially great if you come into a university or CC already having credits in Foreign Language, Writing 101/102, or entry-level sciences -- you can apply to be a tutor as a Freshman!
- Work full-time on Campus: get reduced tuition rates
My neighbor just got a full-time bookkeeping job in one of the departments at the local public university; now she is working towards finishing her 4-year degree one class per semester at a big discount on tuition, and her high-school aged DC will get that same break when they are ready for college.
Delay entry into college and volunteer with Americorps -- sometimes referred to as the "domestic Peace Corps". Americorps provides you with approximately $200/week for your room and board during your service, and you provide the full-time volunteer labor for 10 months. At the end of that time, Americorps provides you with a Segal Americorps Educational Award of $5500 to be used on college tuition.
Edited by Lori D., 24 September 2017 - 07:02 PM.