College degree debt is the newest big debt trend that sinks people after mortgage debt, vehicle debt, & credit card debt. In the past the debt ratio to return on investment was lower then it is today. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure so looking for way to prevent college debt is better than trying to pay off the debt…
There are two basic ways to pay less to get a college degree. The first is to get someone to pay for it or get it on sale.
I want to look at the other way to reduce costs by getting an education “on sale”. Getting something on sale is to get the same item for a cheaper price. College is sold by courses and credits. If you pay cheaper for an education on the front end of your career the ROI of your education is increased.
One way to cut the costs of college is to test out on courses where the costs of the test is one tenth the cost of attending the costs at the college. This means you would be able to take 10 tests and have the credit for 10 courses for the price of one. (This doesn’t even address the additional costs associated with some colleges such as policies of paying for living in expensive dorms the first year of school, athletic fees, etc.)
Another way to cut down the costs on a four year degree is to start your education in a 2 year school first. The ability to transfer credits from the 2 year school to the 4 year school can save you big bucks when a community college may cost $9,000 a year compared to a four year school up up to $60,000 a year.
Testing out of courses can be done with by a 14 year old who wants to use this method to have a 4 year degree by 18. I was going to write about the details of the test taking but, I feel the 14 year old does a better job as he is in the middle of the process. Bachelors by 18 is his blog. He is a frequent listener on the Radical Personal Finance Podcast and he asks great questions of the host giving the show good synergy. (here and here )
Online degrees are also becoming a way to reduce the cost of an education beyond the bachelors degree. Recently Georgia Tech made an online Master’s degree more affordable: Georgia Tech Masters Computer Degree.
I expect more online degrees in the future which reduce the cost of an education which will transform the world similarly the way public libraries did in the previous century.