10 Ways To Cut The Cost Of Going Back To College

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Applying for grants and financial aid for school can be daunting but necessary. But did you know that there are other ways to save when going back to college? Learn how to cut costs with these tips.

1. Look for free or discounted tuition based on your age. As a Huffington Post article on older students just noted, a growing number of colleges have juicy tuition deals for students 60 or older.

California’s 23 state universities offer free tuition in their Over 60 Program, for example, and all of Texas’ public colleges and universities have tuition reduction programs for students 55 or older. Check with your state’s department of education to see if there are similar deals near you.

2. Sign up for a free or nearly-free MOOC. That’s the acronym for the popular Massively Open Online Courses, like Coursera, Udacity, EdX and Lynda. Often offered by top-tier universities, like Stanford and Princeton, MOOCs offer cheap ways to learn from their instructors anytime, anywhere.

3. Check with your employer. Under federal law, employers can offer tax-free education assistance of up to $5,250 in 2013. You might not even need to be studying something directly related to your job to take advantage of this benefit.

But you may need to earn a minimum grade or get your manager’s approval for the curriculum to be eligible for this workplace perk, says Mitchell D. Weiss, adjunct professor of finance at the University of Hartford and co-founder of its Center for Personal Financial Responsibility.

Some employers also require you to stay with them for a certain length of time after taking the course or repay the tuition if you leave.

4. Explore community colleges. Their courses usually cost just a few hundred dollars per credit. Especially worth checking out: the American Association of Community Colleges’ Plus 50 Initiative at 18 schools across the country, whose curriculum is designed to help students 50 and older train for new jobs.

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