Top Ways to Save Money on College While in High School


High school students focus on grades, extracurricular activities, and maximizing SAT scores. Students also have the opportunity to save money on the cost of a college education before ever graduating from high school, by earning university credits which will transfer upon graduation, allowing some students to shave off an entire year of school.

Here are the top three ways to reduce the cost of college before finishing high school:

AP or Advanced Placement Classes. At the end of each AP course, students can take an exam and earn college credit recognized at most colleges and universities. In 2017 exams cost $93, and can earn from one to eight college credits per course. Schools typically require a score of three or high to qualify. Each university has different thresholds and credit allocations.

Dual Enrollment. Many school systems partner with local community colleges to allow students to take classes at the community college (often at no charge) which count as both high school and college credit. Students spend half a day on the high school campus and the rest taking one or more college courses. It is possible to complete a years’ worth of schooling before completing high school, using this strategy.

Early Enrollment. At the age of sixteen, anyone can enroll in a community college. Even if the local high school does not offer a dual enrollment or AP program, individuals can enroll in evening or summer classes to earn college credits. Students pay a fraction of the cost of attending a university while getting a jump start on their college career.

Earning university credit during high school can reduce the years it takes to earn a degree and save thousands of dollars in student loan balances.