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Cutting Back: How to Keep College Costs in Check

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By Claudia Buck

—Be a part-timer: You don’t want to neglect classes, but a part-time job can pay for incidentals, boost a resume, provide some time-management skills. Use your skills, whether it’s babysitting for faculty members, tutoring, teaching guitar or piano, designing websites or dog-walking in local neighborhoods.

—Stay on track: If you change majors or get squeezed out of required classes, graduating in four years can be challenging. But staying on top of graduation requirements can save you from extra semesters that can cost thousands of dollars in extra tuition, rent and other expenses. Check in regularly with your campus advisers to be sure you’re on schedule.

—Find scholarships: Even if your campus didn’t offer you a full ride, don’t give up on college scholarships. Sites like FastWeb.com, Scholarships.com and SallieMae.com let you search by college major, ethnicity, religion, sports or special interests. Don’t laugh: The U.S. Bowling Congress, for instance, offers a $1,000 scholarship to a college student who is an amateur bowler with a GPA of at least 2.5.

—And a final note: Too often, college-bound students buy and bring too much stuff to school. Here’s what Kiplinger’s personal finance magazine says college students don’t need: New textbooks, a high-end computer, a printer, a pricey smartphone plan, cable TV (watch streaming videos on a computer), a car (especially for freshmen), overdraft protection on bank accounts, campus health insurance (assuming coverage under the family’s health plan) and private loans, which carry higher interest rates and less flexible repayment plans than federal loans.

©2013 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)
Distributed by MCT Information Services

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