Save Money on College by Graduating Early

Rapidly rising college costs have many parents looking for ways to cut the cost of attending school. One of the most overlooked ways is to encourage your child to complete their degree in four years or less. While the cost of an education rises, so is the time it takes to finish. Instead of the majority of students completing an education quickly, colleges have extended the qualification of graduating on time to six years. Today only approximately 1/3 of students graduate in four years, where 60% take six years to complete a Bachelor’s degree. Those additional two years can add up to over $50,000 in additional costs.

Three ways to graduate in four years or less:

  1. Pay attention to scheduling. Class schedules are a big culprit. You have pre-requisites, to consider and schools do not offer every required class every semester. Deliberate scheduling can save you semesters. Map out your four-year plan as a first-year student, when meeting with your counselor.
  2. Consider summer school. The local community college is a good resource for inexpensive classes and can offer pre-requisites or core classes needed. To use this strategy, check with a school counselor to ensure the class will transfer back to the university.
  3. Stick with your major. Changing majors will quickly add time to your schooling. By your sophomore year, establish a major and begin classes within your specialty. Multiple minors, double majors, or changing focus adds time to the graduation timetable.

With the majority of students taking longer to complete school, you go against the flow by finishing in four years. However, doing so will not only save you thousands of dollars in educational costs, but will lower student loan balances and give you additional years of work experience than most of your peers.