How Adult Students Can Save Money When Going Back To College

Many colleges offer discounts from their full-price tuition. This discount can range from 5 to 95 percent of the posted cost. These discounts can be given as scholarships, merit awards or to particular groups of students. Adult learners are often eligible for tuition discounts at schools.

A tuition discount is a reduced price of the posted tuition. At some colleges, more than half of the students receive discounts. Traditional students generally must be enrolled full time to receive a discount, but adult students typically can be enrolled part time and be eligible for a discount.

Many discount opportunities exist that adults can take advantage of. Some schools have agreements with individual corporations to provide a discount for their employees. These employees often can also take advantage of tuition reimbursement from the corporation, to reduce the cost of school even further. Also, many four-year colleges and universities have articulation agreements with community colleges that provide a tuition discount for those transferring to the four-year school. Also, there are often discounts for military veterans. Finally, some schools include an across-the-board discount for specialized programs for adult learners. Because these students do not use many of the facilities on campus, such as student centers, athletic facilities, and so on, the colleges pass this savings on to the adult student.

If you are an adult going back to college, be sure to inquire about any discount programs when filling out the application to a school. Also, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is crucial to receiving any aid from a school or the government, so be sure to complete that application as well. Then check with the college's financial aid office to find out if any other materials are needed to be considered for a discount. 

Also, make certain that all previously earned credits are transferred to the college or university. Paying twice for a class is an unnecessary expense. Also, adult students should investigate how to obtain credit from life experience, such as through CLEP tests and through Portfolio Programs. An academic adviser or admissions counselor should be able to provide information on these programs. Gaining credit for life experience is one of the best ways for adults to reduce the overall cost of earning a degree.

The posted tuition rate may not reflect the true cost of attending a college because there are often discounts available off the full price. Adult students can take advantage of many discount programs, and they should inquire about discounts when applying to any school. The first place to seek information may be through an employer's human resources office, in case agreements exist between the company and local colleges.

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