100 Resources to Go to College on the Cheap

While college may be a great investment, for many it’s still hard to come up with the initial funding it takes to get started. Even if you’re broke, college doesn’t have to be something that’s out of your grasp simply because of your lack of finances. There are a number of things you can do to greatly reduce the cost of attending college and help lighten the financial burden that tuition can impose on your wallet. Check out these sites for ideas and advice on how to enjoy a beneficial but much cheaper college experience.

Scholarship Listings One of the easiest ways to cut down on school expenses is to get someone else to pay for them through scholarships. There are thousands of scholarships out there, and these sites can help you find the ones best suited to your needs.

  1. Scholarships.com: Students can find over 2.7 million different scholarships on this site to help them cover every aspect of their college educations. You can search by interest, region or deadline to find the awards that best suit your needs.
  2. FastWeb: One of the most popular scholarship finders, FastWeb has listings for millions of scholarships for every type of student. Simply sign up and create a profile, and you can get customized scholarships sent right to you.
  3. Student Scholarship Search: The Student Loan Network has created this site to help undergraduate and graduate students find ways to fund their educations through scholarships. You’ll find offers for scholarships, grants and even tax breaks for students.
  4. Military Scholarship Finder: If you’re currently in the military or ever have been in the military you’ll likely qualify for a variety of scholarships due to your service. This site can help you determine what kind of funding you’ll be able to get and what scholarships you qualify for.
  5. FastAid: Advertised as the oldest and largest scholarship search of its kind, this site allows students to sign up and look through loads of scholarships to see which best fit their needs.
  6. College Answer Scholarship Search: In partnership with Sallie Mae, a large student loan lender, students can browse through thousands of scholarships on this site.
  7. Scholarship Experts: Created in 2001, this site helps students and their parents find scholarship opportunities that can make the cost of attending college much less of a burden.
  8. Next Student: Next student provides listings of almost 6 million scholarships offered by private organizations, universities and the government.
  9. U.S. News & World Report Scholarship Search: This popular college ranking publication also provides students with the chance to use their services to find financial aid for colleges all over the nation as well.
  10. Nationally Coveted Scholarships: Simply designed, this site lays out scholarships in categories like minority and nursing and lists thousands of available scholarships.
  11. The Scholarship Page!: Find loads of scholarships on this page, designed to be a free and painless way for students to find scholarship money. It’s especially useful to engineering students, as it lists numerous scholarships.
  12. CollegeNET: Here, students can participate in discussions and get nominated to receive up to $5,000 in scholarship money.
  13. Rotary Club Scholarships: Your local Rotary Club likely offers several different scholarships that are usually quite generous. If you’re a community leader looking for a little help with school, these can be ideal for you.
  14. Hispanic Scholarship Fund: Students coming from a Hispanic background can take advantage of this large scholarship fund sponsored by numerous corporations and organizations.
  15. 100 Minority Scholarships: Minority students will find tons of scholarships directed at their needs on this site.
  16. National Merit Scholarships: If you’re at the top of your class and have the grades to prove it, then you may qualify for a National Merit Scholarship. Take a look at their site to see how you can apply.
  17. United Negro College Fund: African American students can take advantage of this large pool of scholarship awards. Students can get awards for both financial need and for academic merit.
  18. Scholarship Coach: Get some advice on finding the best scholarships from Ben Kaplan, owner of this site. It offers free scholarship search, as well as guides and programs you can buy to help you in your quest for funding.
  19. BrokeScholar: Students visiting this site can fill out a profile detailing their interests for college and get a list of scholarships that match.

Financial Aid Resources If you’ve tried for every scholarship out there without much luck you may still be able to get other types of financial aid to help you out. These financial aid sites are dedicated to helping students find a way to finance their college educations.

  1. FinAid.org: This comprehensive site can give you the lowdown on financial aid topics like grants, scholarships, military aid and other types of aid that can help pay your tuition.
  2. FAFSA: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a must for students applying for any kind of aid. It will let you know how much money you can get through government programs or how much the government thinks you can afford to pay each year for tuition.
  3. U.S. Department of Education Financial Aid: You may be able to get government funds to help you finance your education, and this site can give you information on what kind of resources are out there.
  4. Peterson’s: If you still need help paying for school, this student-centered site can help you find all kinds of financial aid options that are available to you.
  5. Guide to State-Based Grants: While federal grants may be the more well-known sources of financial aid, you can also look to your state of residence for some help as well. This site will give you information on how to find out what grants are available where you live.
  6. Financial Aid Resource Center: This simple site is focused on providing answers to your financial aid questions. You’ll be able to learn how to get loans, how to fill out a FAFSA form and find aid for adult learners.
  7. Financial Aid SuperSite: No matter your grade level, this site can provide you with informative articles and resources on financing your college education.
  8. Academic Info.net: This site provides aid seekers with a simple guide to the numerous resources out there for financial aid. You’ll get links to government, private and corporate resources.
  9. Financial Aid Officer: Find help and advice on financial aid with this useful site. You’ll learn about scholarships and grants and find information about student loans, deadlines and calculating the actual cost of college.
  10. Education USA Financial Aid: This government site provides links to numerous sources of financial aid that can help you reduce your expenditures.
  11. College Planning Network: Plan how you’ll finance your college education and find resources to help you do so with this informative site.
  12. FedMoney.org: The government offers loads of grants and awards to students who are in college, and this site allows students to search through them to find ones they may qualify for.
  13. College Financial Aid Guide: Get advice about scholarships, loans, grants and other forms of financial aid through this site’s articles.

Discount Textbooks Textbooks are one of the biggest expenses most college students have, and saving money on them is crucial to keeping your educational costs under control. Here you’ll find some useful online sites where you can get deals on your textbooks and class materials.

  1. eCampus: You can find all your textbooks on this online bookseller. There are both new and used texts allowing you to save big on gently used books for your classes.
  2. BookByte: BookByte buys and sells college textbooks and can be a great place for students to find bargains on otherwise expensive books.
  3. Affordabook: This site searches through 17 discount retailers to find students the best prices on all their classroom texts and materials.
  4. Textbook Ace: Here you’ll find a wide array of new and used textbooks, novels and teaching materials at prices that are cheaper than college bookstores may offer.
  5. Textbookz: Students can use this eBay-based site to buy used textbooks from other students and sell their old books they no longer need.
  6. BigWords: Check to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your college textbooks with this site. It searches through several retailers online to compare prices and let you know where the best deals are.
  7. Alibris: Find used textbooks and novels on this site at discount prices.
  8. BookFinder4U: A great tool for finding a bargain, this search engine checks 130 stores for the book you’re looking for to deliver the best price to you.
  9. Half.com: A division of eBay, this site is a great place to pick up used textbooks at a significant discount.
  10. Campus Book Swap: This student-run site makes it easy to buy and sell used textbooks online, saving you and your fellow classmates money.
  11. Campusi: Never pay too much for books again with this great online price comparison tool. It searches over 200 stores for the best price and can give you coupons for additional discounts as well.
  12. SwapBooks.com: Avoid the annoying and sometimes costly process of buying and selling your textbooks back at a campus bookstore, and instead trade them in using this simple online store.
  13. Buy.com: While you can buy just about anything for cheap on Buy.com, one thing you can easily find is textbooks, often much more cheaply than in regular bookstores.
  14. Studica: If you don’t only need books but software as well for your classes, you may be able to find it at a significant discount through this site.

College Credit Resources Why pay full price for college credits you already have or can get much cheaper through testing out of them? These sites will help you get all the college credit you can for less.

  1. CLEP Exams: The College Level Examination Program gives you a chance to get college credit for material you already know in over 34 different areas. The test only costs $65, which is a fraction of the cost of a similar college course.
  2. Dantes Subject Standardized Tests: Similar to the CLEP exams, these tests let you test out of college courses, earning up to three credit hours for each test that is passed. It can be a great way to avoid paying to take courses that aren’t really useful to you.
  3. About AP Tests: If you’re still in high school, you can do yourself a favor and take some AP tests to get college credits before even entering college. The cost of taking the test is only a fraction of what a course at a university would run you, so it can help you get ahead and save money.
  4. GRE: Some students that do exceptionally well on the GRE will be given credit towards their educations or allowed to bypass required courses.
  5. Exchange Skills for Tuition: This article suggests one way in which you can get your tuition at a discount: by giving the university something they need in the form of your labor in exchange for something you need in the form of educational experience.
  6. 4 Steps to Earning Credit for Your Life Experience: If you’ve been out of school for awhile and are looking to go back to college, you may be able to get credit for the years you’ve spent working and gaining experience. This article can help give you some advice.
  7. Prove What You Know: Portfolio Credit: Students in fields where portfolios are a requirement may be able to get additional credit for a particularly outstanding portfolio.
  8. Get Credit for Life and Work Experience: Don’t let those years of experience in the business world go to waste. Instead, turn them into college credit to save you money and get you a head start on your learning.
  9. Distance Learning: Transferring Your Credits to a New School: Often taking courses online can be much cheaper than from a local university and a great way to get general education courses out of the way. This article will help you learn how you can transfer these cheaper courses over to a different school.
  10. 7 Ideas to Earn College Credit Cheap: Still looking for ways to build up your college credit without paying full tuition? This article provides several suggestions.

Guides, Advice and Articles Get some helpful advice on keeping college cheap from these articles and guides.

  1. Cheap College Degrees: This blog by author Thomas Nixon is full of articles that can help you think of new ways to make your college education less expensive.
  2. How to Buy Cheap College Textbooks: There’s no need to spend an arm and a leg on college textbooks. This article will help you learn how you can save big on class materials.
  3. Simple Ways to Make College Cheaper: You don’t always have to go out of your way to reduce your college expenses. This article offers some helpful advice on little ways you can save money.
  4. Beat-Tuition.com: This whole website is dedicated to giving you suggestions, links and advice on how to avoid paying full tuition for college.
  5. 7 Alternative Ways to Pay for College: Looking for some more offbeat ways to pay for school? Here you’ll find several suggestions that can shave hundreds of dollars off of your tuition.
  6. Cheap Colleges: Here you’ll find a list of some of the most reasonably priced colleges in the nation, which can be places to consider when looking at starting a degree program.
  7. Top 10 Priciest and Cheapest Colleges: Ever wonder what the cheapest colleges in the country are? This article from MSN will give you the lowdown on bargains in both public and private schools.
  8. 7 Easy Ways to Make College Expenses Cheaper: Sometimes saving money on college is easy, as the tips in this article demonstrate.
  9. How to Find Quality Student Laptops at Budget Prices: Most students entering college will need their own computers and this can be a major expense. This guide provides assistance in finding a bargain computer.
  10. 1001 Ways to Pay for College: This article provides prospective students with a huge array of options to help them cover their college expenses.
  11. Ways to Reduce College Costs: Learn a few ways that you can help bring down the overall cost of your education with this article.
  12. 50 Best Values in Public Colleges: If you’re looking for a true bargain on education, you may find it with one of these value colleges listed by Kiplinger.
  13. Making College Less Expensive: While college certainly isn’t the cheapest way to spend your time, there are numerous ways you can can help make it less of a burden financially with some tips from this article.
  14. The Real Deal on Financial Aid: Think you know all the ins and outs of financial aid? Read over this guide to ensure you’re not getting ripped off and that you’ll have enough to cover your expenses.

Free Courses, Materials and Study Resources There’s no reason to pay for educational materials that are free on the Web. These sites can provide you with study guides and courses that can help you shave a few dollars off of your expenses.

  1. Test Prep Review: Don’t pay for study guides and test preparation materials when you can get them from this site for free. Whether you’re studying for the SAT or the LSAT, you’ll find helpful guides here.
  2. Take Any College Class for Free: This list from OEDB provides links to over 236 courses you can take for free online. You won’t get credit, but you will gain a valuable edge over your classmates and may even be able to test out of courses.
  3. Study Guide Zone: Get access to all kinds of helpful study guides at no cost to you on this site.
  4. BBC Foreign Language Courses: Need to brush up on your foreign language studies? You can get free courses in languages that range from Mandarin Chinese to French.
  5. CollegeRuled: Keep track of your schedule using this great online tool. It allows you to create and print weekly schedules, track assignments and much more.
  6. Schoolr: This site puts together tons of search tools like Google, dictionary, thesaurus, citation help and a translation service all in one easy-to-use place.
  7. Guide to Grammar and Writing: Don’t let poor grammar and writing skills get you bad grades or make your admissions essays look bad. Get free advice instead from this informative site.
  8. JSTOR: Students enrolled at most major colleges and universities will have access to this site. Students can find millions of articles and research materials that they can print out and use for free.
  9. SparkNotes: Similar to Cliff Notes, SparkNotes give students a little assistance in their understanding of great works of literature. Better yet, most of them are available for free.
  10. NoteMesh: Working similarly to Wikipedia, NoteMesh allows you to combine notes from your class with other students, creating a definitive source for lecture notes.
  11. College-Cram.com: Study online with other students and get valuable materials for free with this innovative new site.
  12. MIT OpenCourseWare: While you may not be able to get into MIT, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy taking courses from MIT. You’ll get a high quality education at no cost, and the free courses may even help you test out of numerous courses at your own university.
  13. Free Online Education: Why pay for what you can get for free? Whether you’re trying to learn a new language or just how to balance your checkbook, this site offers free educational resources.

Room and Board At many colleges, the cost of room and board is close to the cost of tuition. You can help reduce your living expenses with useful housing and food suggestions from these sites.

  1. College Dorm Room Necessities: You don’t need to bring everything with you to your college dorm room. This article will give you insight as to what the bare necessities are so you don’t waste money on things you won’t need or use.
  2. Cheap Dorm Room Decorating Ideas: Decorating your dorm room can be fun and cheap if you choose for it to be. Here you’ll get some helpful suggestions.
  3. 10 Cheap Foods and Drinks for the College Student: Most college students don’t have big budgets for food, and this article will give you some advice on keeping eating cheap.
  4. College Cooking on a Cheap Budget: If you’re a college student you likely can’t afford, nor do you have the time, to cook elaborate meals. This site will give you some ideas on cooking frugally and simply.
  5. How to Find a Cheap College Apartment: Depending on where you’re attending school, rent can be a major expense. You can help keep costs down with a little assistance from this article.
  6. Abandoning Pricey Dorms for Cheap Co-Op Housing: Dorms aren’t the only way to go, as this article discusses the alternative of co-op housing.
  7. Cheap Tricks for Your Dorm Room: You can have the coolest room in your dorm without spending a fortune with some tricks from this site.
  8. CampusRent.com: Students looking for an apartment to rent during their college years will get a little assistance from this apartment search site geared towards students.
  9. Cheap Dorm Room Furniture Ideas: Here you’ll learn how to turn cheap furniture or other items into cool dorm room design.
  10. Room and Board Options: Discover your options for room and board on this informative site.
  11. Six Best Cheap College Foods: Wanna know what foods will help you stretch your food budget the furthest? This article can tell you.
  12. What to Bring to College: Only bring the necessities with some guidance from this article.

Miscellaneous Still looking for small ways to save? Check out these varied resources.

  1. Cheap College Student Health Insurance: Almost all colleges require that students carry some form of health insurance. Here students will find a low-cost alternative to coverage.
  2. Firefox Campus Edition: Students can enjoy this open source and free version of Firefox that has additional features preloaded in to give them assistance in saving money, talking with friends and studying.
  3. How to Use Your Student Discounts to Save Money: That student ID can be a valuable money saving tool if you use it right. This article will discuss how to best use your student discounts.
  4. Tax Breaks for Students: If you’re a student, it’s likely that you can get some sort of break on your taxes for money that you’ve spent on college expenses. This site will give you the basics of these tax breaks.
  5. College Savings Calculator: Not sure how much your college is really going to run you? Use this calculator to find out.

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