Yes, you can lower the cost of college in a number of ways.

The primary way to lower the cost of college is to choose a less expensive school. You may find that state or local colleges cost significantly less with little or no impact on the quality of your child’s education. Local colleges also offer the opportunity to live at home, which can reduce room-and-board costs. But living at home may increase transportation costs.

As a creative alternative, your child could enroll in a less expensive institution (e.g., a state or community college) and then transfer to a four-year college as an upperclass student. Your child’s degree would be from the four-year college, but the total cost would be reduced by the two years you spent paying lower tuition and fees.

You can also check to see if the colleges your child is interested in offer accelerated programs, online courses, or credit for advanced high school classes. Accelerated programs offer the chance to graduate in three years, allowing you to save a year’s worth of college expenses. Online courses may cost less than traditional courses, and may allow your child to supplement his or her education and graduate early. Advanced high school classes offer your child the opportunity to earn college credits before entering college, which may allow him or her to shave off a semester or two.

You can also investigate government military programs. Your child’s options include attending a service academy, enlisting in the military first and then attending college under the GI Bill, and training for the military while in school under the ROTC program. Although such programs all offer benefits, each has specific service requirements that you should understand thoroughly.

Your child might also consider studying abroad. Foreign universities are often less expensive than U.S. colleges and offer a cultural experience that can bring lifelong benefits.

Finally, investigate all possible sources of financial aid. Use a net price calculator to research colleges that offer generous grant or scholarship aid, which can significantly reduce your family’s overall out-of-pocket cost.

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