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College Tuition – How to Save 40% at a Big University

All college graduates have three things in common. They have a degree, are looking for a job and have just spent a LOT of money on their education, even if they had scholarships or financial aid. For the overwhelming majority of them, it means that they need to get a job to start paying off student loans. But there is a way to enter the work world without as much financial pressure: like 40% less debt because you spent 40% less paying for college.

A Degree From Absolutely Any University at 40% Discount

Think about a big name school, such as Northwestern University or the University of Michigan, which charge around $40,000 per year in tuition. There are two ways to get the same degree; one costs $160,000 for four years and the other will cost you about $90,000. Both options have you walking across the same platform in the same cap and gown with the same leather bound folder with your degree. The difference is $70,000 in savings!

The way to achieve this is by completing all of the general education requirements during the first two years at a local community college and then transferring to the big name university for your junior and senior years. Your degree will be from the big name university, but you will have saved about 40% in tuition.

But Is the Education Quality the Same?

Absolutely. Unless you are majoring in a technical field, such as engineering, most all degree programs have the same basic general education requirements: English, Math, Social Sciences, etc. At the big schools, these freshman level courses are generally taught by teaching assistants and/or have a lecture class format. A lecture class format means that 200 to 300 students sit in a lecture hall and listen to a professor 2 days a week and then, if it is a science class, for instance, they break up into smaller groups for a “lab” that is supervised by a teaching assistant. Teaching assistants may be upperclassmen or graduate students. The fact is that the general education classes are all pretty much the same, regardless of the school. Introduction to Psychology is Introduction to Psychology whether you are at Yale or the Community College of DuPage.

Don’t Make a Big Mistake….

It is not always as easy as just taking a freshman English class at a community college and automatically getting granted transfer credit from the big name university. The courses have to be the same. What generally happens is that the school you wish to transfer to will examine your transcripts and look up the course descriptions for the classes you took. Only if the course descriptions match the required courses at their school will they consider that you fulfilled the requirement. An English Composition class is NOT the same as an English Literature class.

For this reason, it is absolutely imperative that you get the actual course descriptions of all the required general education classes from the school you wish to attend and compare them with the course descriptions at the community college. A phone call to an admissions counselor is also a good idea!

One Last Thing

Finally, make sure that you investigate the school’s admission requirements for transfer students. You will need to keep a very high GPA to transfer into the more prestigious universities, and their admissions guidelines may also be such that involvement in extra-curricular activities will be required. Investigate what is required and then make a plan to fulfill those requirements. By “beginning with the end in mind” you can fulfill the general education requirements at about a tenth the cost of the university that you will graduate from.