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Students Have Ways of Cutting Costs When Attending College

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
May 16, 2024

GettyImages-905483980 Student Business Woman Girl Reporting

Millions of undergraduate and graduate students face high interest rates if they take out loans to pay for tuition, CNBC Make It reported, but there are ways to lower costs and reduce the amount borrowed.

The interest rate for direct federal undergraduate student loans disbursed after July 1, 2024 will be 6.53 percent, the Department of Education announced, and new graduate student loans will have an 8.08 percent interest rate and parent PLUS loans will come with a 9.09 percent rate.

One way is to apply for scholarships. There are many different kinds of scholarships available through state and local governments, as well as private and nonprofit organizations. They vary in the amounts offered, but it may be worth the effort of going through the process.

“The more scholarships I applied to, the better applications I was able to submit and ultimately have more success down the line,” Gabriella Carter, a Princeton University graduate told CNBC Make IT.

Students may also consider an alternative path than a four-year college, with all of its costs. Some students start their education a community college or trade school to obtain course credits at a lower cost.

One student, Ethan Nguonly, took additional courses to expedite his education at the University of California at Berkeley, getting his degree in two years. He told CNBC Make It last year that the experience was worth it in the end. “I was able to put my financial goals [first] and really get started on a journey towards financial independence,” he said. “I would make that sacrifice again.”

A third way to shave expenditures is to look for discounts. Examples include waiving certain fees, living off campus or serving as a resident adviser on campus. A student can also buy used books, clothes and furniture, and take advantage of student discounts when shopping in stores or online.