7 Practical Tips to Reduce Costs of Returning to School

Returning to School - Complete Controller

These days going to college is not just for the young. Many adults over twenty-five choose to go back to school to either attend college for the first time or return to obtain a higher level degree. There are costs involved in returning to school that need to be considered.

  • Tuition
  • Textbooks
  • A Computer
  • General Supplies Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Here are seven practical tips to reduce the costs of going back to school.

  1. Company Tuition Reimbursement

Many corporations promote from within the company. Often when moving to higher positions and management, a degree will be required, so many companies offer full or partial tuition reimbursement if an employee pursues a work-related degree. Some companies will provide some reimbursement of non-related degrees; the important thing is, ask!

  1. Grants and Scholarships

When applying to college during the admissions process, admissions specialists can help you determine grants and scholarships to apply for and give you valuable information on the process. There are also many smaller scholarships and grants you can apply for online. Also, check with the college financial aid office; grants and scholarships should be applied for every year you are in college. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

  1. Community College

Many community colleges offer useful four-year degrees. Even if the degree you seek is specialized, community college is great for getting an associate’s degree and getting the basic required classes out of the way at a lower cost. If you will complete your degree at a state or private college, before beginning community college, ensure your credits will transfer.

  1. Free or Used Textbooks

Besides tuition, textbooks are one of the largest expenses when attending school. To keep textbooks and required reading costs at a minimum, there are a few options.

  • Check availability at the school or local library
  • Search for websites and apps that offer free ebook books and textbooks
  • Share costs with other students taking the same classes
  • Check with the school. Some have textbook and book exchange programs
  • Check used book sites and stores to get the books and textbooks at discounted prices
  • Search for sites or stores that rent books and textbooks Check out America's Best Bookkeepers


  1. Minimizing Computer Costs

Even if you already have a desktop computer, most college students opt for a laptop for school. Laptops have gained popularity due to portability and the ability to use in class for notes and recordings. There are ways to keep the costs of purchasing a laptop to a minimum.

  • Keep it basic; most lower-cost laptops will meet the needs of a student
  • Purchase a refurbished computer; they are often like new and come with limited warranties
  • Look for rebates, student discounts, or back to school sales
  • Shop at a pawn shop or second-hand electronics store


  1. Minimizing the Costs of Supplies

Other school supplies are needed for college students, such as pens, highlighters, notebooks, and other items specific to certain classes, i.e., scientific calculators. Many stores offer discounts to students. You can also look for sales and coupons, and some supplies can be bought used as students may only have needed them for a limited time.

  1. Taking Online Classes and CLEP Testing

Many accredited schools offer online courses. Because overhead is low to conduct these classes, they can be less costly for a student. The only drawback to going to college online is that it is more self-directed, and some students may need the structure of a classroom to excel. Many colleges not only offer online courses but also accept CLEP credits from CLEP testing. CLEP (College-Level Examination Program) tests allow students to test out of many of the courses needed to earn an associate’s degree. Each exam costs under $100, which is significantly less than a semester of school. Check with your school to see if they accept CLEP credits before taking the exams.


These seven cost-saving tips should help any student, young or not so young, keep the costs of returning to school to a manageable amount. If you are contemplating college, don’t let costs keep you from expanding your education.

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