College Degree with no Financial AidThese days it appears to be increasingly difficult to complete a degree program financially unburdened.  With the costs of an education skyrocketing, but the need for a degree still a significant factor in obtaining a good job, many prospective students are stuck between a rock and a hard place.  Besides the typical start saving early, buy used textbooks, and live off of pasta and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, there are other ways in which you may reduce the expenses associated with your education, possibly allowing you to complete your degree work with diminished educational costs.

Extra Credit

If you still have the opportunity, it might be worth investing some time in taking several AP (Advanced Placement) courses in your high school coursework.  While these types of classes will typically require a higher aptitude in certain subject matter, if you excel in subjects such as math, science, English, history, and possibly languages or other subjects, you might find that taking such courses at an AP level could result in college credit, higher placement in college classes or the opting out of certain college courses.

You may also find that you could be eligible to skip ahead in your college coursework by achieving high marks in college placement tests at the onset of your college career.

Such “extra credit” could help you avoid certain courses or shorten the duration of your college degree work, which in turn could lower the amount you must pay during the course of your college career.

Summer Classes

Taking summer classes can be a great way to reduce the costs of your college education and increase the chances of graduating financially unburdened.  Summer classes could be cheaper, especially if you are attending a major university.  By taking such coursework at a smaller college, online or at a community college (as long as you’re sure your credit hours will transfer) over the summer, you could significantly reduce the cost of these classes.

Such summer classes may be more convenient to you, and save you money if you return to live at home over the summer where expenses may be reduced.  Summer courses might also let you to work at the same time, allowing you to earn while you learn.

Online Degree

An online degree could be your route for achieving academic success while remaining relatively debt free.  While an online degree isn’t always cheap, it could be cheaper than completing similar work at a college campus.  Tuition might be less, you may be able to live at home to save money, and with online degree work often offering the possibility of flexible scheduling, you may be free to work while you complete your degree program.


Whether you’re still in high school, already in college, or only feel you have free time available during the summers, working can be a great way to keep your education related debt to a minimum.  Even working part time may help you to keep up with certain college costs.

While jobs are tight in the current economy, many college towns offer part time or seasonal employment, and you might want to check your college or university website for work study and campus-based employment options.  It is important to bear in mind however, that while working can be a great way to complete your degree financially unburdened, letting work get in the way of your education may cost you dearly in the long run.