Save 50% on College Tuition

One way to slice half your tuition bill is to enter college with 2 years of credits under your belt. Here are some ways:

  1. Take Advanced Placement (AP) courses and ace the AP exams
  2. Enroll in Dual Enrollment: your high school district would pay for you to take community college courses while in high school
  3. Pass CLEP exams: pay a small exam fee and take these any time, to earn college credits
  4. Take online college courses from EDx (Global Freshman Academy): pay only if you pass the class
  5. Overload your college courses: many colleges charge a maximum amount per semester, so classes over the full load are “free”

If you’re worried about missing out on 2 years of social experience (partying) in college, you can always stay for Graduate School :dizzy_face:


So how do you save 50% on grad school. :wink:


Save 100% by planning far enough ahead to look poor and get grants for tuition :). Maybe get your kid adopted by your broke relatives in advance of the FAFSA application?

Go for a graduate degree in something science related and they pay you (not much admittedly), rather than the other way around. Of course if you want to drink your way through a business school degree, that’s going to cost full fare.


I did a few of these while in High School some caveats

  • It’s difficult to squeeze in all these additional classes into an already busy high school junior/senior year. It’s the same time your worrying about SATs, ACTs, college applications, and those can arguably be more worthwhile to focus on should you be able to get a substantial scholarship.
  • Certain College Now / AP classes are going to be more useful than others depending on your major. If you’re unsure of your major, AP Calculus or Statistics is generally a safe bet if your planning to do any STEM as you would probably need a semester of it in most related majors anyways.
  • Once in college be mindful of how many credits you need for graduation and how many credits you need for your major. After I added in the credits I needed for my major and credits I had from High School I had more than enough for graduation, but still needed to fulfill Liberal Arts requirements.
  • +1 on the trying to overload the maximum courses, for me all it took was visiting the student scholastic department every semester and asking, if your GPA is above average they usually have no problem. Leverage your ability to withdrawal from classes here to be able to easily trial courses.

This one is doubly good–you get the extra classes for ‘free,’ and you stay more focused and less distracted. When I would carry 18 units I’d pull in a 4.0. If I dropped that to 12 I’d end up with one B, at 9 units I’d probably have goofed off so much I would have paid for it with bad grades.

One more caveat – make sure that the AP you’re taking is accepted by the colleges you plan to attend.

What do you mean “additional?” You take AP instead of non-AP, not in addition to.

The best part of this post talks about dual enrollment. I graduated high school earlier this year with an associate degree from a regional university and transferred into a top 10 school.

Just a word of advice: focus more on the bullshit gen ed courses than anything having to do with your inteneed major. The courses taught by a community college or regional university are not going to be of the same caliber as an actual, good university.

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So no mention of community college yet. My first two years were roughly 30% of my second two years at a private university. Factoring room and board could easily widen that gap.

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If you want to save money on college tuition, why not let Navy or Air Force pay for your college?

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Not all colleges give you actual credit for AP/IB classes anymore. Others cap the number of credits you can get.

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Any way to go to law school for free at 51?


Much of this is dependent on major/program. I found that liberal arts programs and some basic sciences are often ok with bringing in your base credits from somewhere else. Engineering and architecture programs often have a very tight prerequisite structure that limits your pace. Graduating a semester early is possible, two would be a stretch. In many of these programs, two years early would be impossible.

My oldest son got free tuition…
Plan ahead, take rigorous high school courses, including AP. Study your butt off and get straight A’s.
Score a perfect 36 on your ACT
= full tuition (including room & board) offers from 3 out 5 colleges applied to.

Apply early to the colleges you want (only 2 or 3 top personal choices), grants and scholarships are usually given “first come, first served”.
(My middle son received $15k in scholarships by doing this)

Almost-free accredited online College of the People:

(by the way, the college $ we had saved for oldest son will be used for a down payment on a house when he decides to buy one)

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Colleges usually accept 6-8 AP credits; while Universities will usually take all.

In MN, there is PSEO (Post Secondary Education Opportunity) of taking college classes while in high school (for free). Those college credits don’t always transfer (to other colleges/universities).

EDIT to clarify: “Colleges” are generally private institutions, while “Universities” are public.

I think these are all good ideas. I took AP in high school and got credits for a full quarter worth of college. I know theres ore opportunity to do that stuff nowadays.
But …
How feasible is it to do all this and actually accumulate 2 full years of college credits?? What degree? Which college? How about in engineering?

Sorry but any advice that includes scoring in the top 1% of college bound kids is not really practical advice.


But it is good advice to try taking the ACT. Some students will do better on it and that could help improve your chances.

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Free-quent Flyer at Saverocity recently did a story on this: You can go to college for free (but you won't) - Independently Financed

The BA in four weeks strategy gives you a regionally accredited degree by taking DANTES and CLEP exams in literally four weeks (plus the amount of time to study). If you just need a degree to fulfill a requirement (i.e. advancement in an existing job) this would work. Also there’s the method of working at Starbucks and getting free tuition at ASU online. and are discussion forums regarding reputable online institutions.

For graduate school, you can get a AACSB MBA for instate tuition rate ($430 a unit) online at North Dakota. Or Western New Mexico University and their master’s in interdisciplinary studies or MBA for about $12,000 all in (provided you only take 6 units a semester).


This doesn’t make any sense. Universities are usually a collection of colleges, but there are plenty of “universities” that aren’t – the definitions aren’t very distinct.


This may be a regional thing.

In my experience college and university are mostly used interchangeably. My university had many colleges within it.
But maybe some other places have a clear distinction between a college and a university ?