Did you know that you can save on the cost of your education when you attend college in your home state? Many colleges charge a set rate per credit hour or semester hour, and a typical undergraduate class is worth three credits. It might cost $1,000 or more for each class that you take, which doesn’t include the cost of books or any other costs that you face. Most colleges charge a rate based on whether you are an in state student or a student from another state. You’ll also find other ways that you can reduce your overall costs.

Average Cost of College

According to the National Center for Education Services , the average cost of attending a four-year private college in 2011 was $33,716 per year. The cost of attending a four-year public university dropped to $16,789, and the cost of attending a two-year community college was even lower at $8,561. Most community colleges offer lower costs on everything from textbooks to tuition. The cost of attending certain private colleges and Ivy League institutions is even higher the reported average cost and can cost $40,000 or more each year.

In State vs. Out of State Tuition

Most colleges today charge separate rates for those attending school in their home state and those moving to a new state for college. Schools do this to increase the number of opportunities available to students living nearby. If a school charges $20,000 a year for tuition, those living in the state can usually enjoy lower rates of $18,000 down to $15,000 a year. Some schools will also offer students other benefits if they live in state including discounted rates at local restaurants, move theaters and other discounts at local businesses.

How to Get In State Tuition

To qualify for in-state tuition, you typically need to show that you have a permanent residence in that state. Some schools today also partner with campuses in other states to create a school block or regional block. Any student living in that region qualifies for in state tuition at any of the schools in that group. Some schools will only give you in state tuition if you can show that you lived in the state for a specific period of time and that you graduated from high school in the state. Students can also qualify for the discounted tuition prices if they can show that they are emancipated from their parents, live on their own and plan to move to the state for school.

Other Ways to Save

Community college is one of the best ways to save on your tuition costs. These colleges charge half or less of what the major schools charge, and you can transfer the classes you took and credits you earned to a four-year school. Make sure that you check with your employer as well. Some companies offer tuition assistance or tuition reimbursement to employees. You can also save even more on your total costs when you purchase your textbooks online or rent your textbooks rather than buying those books from the college bookstore.

Going to school in the same state where you live lets you save thousands of dollars off the cost of your tuition every year. In addition to attending college in your home state, you can also save with tuition reimbursement and with textbooks you rent or buy online.

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