Student debt is one of the top preoccupations for most college students these days. The numbers on student debt are staggering, with the total debt incurred by American students reaching 1.2 trillion in 2015, the highest in history.

So what can middle-class Americans do to afford the cost of ever rising tuition fees? Well, in this article, we’re going to give you five ways that the average student can cut the cost of tuition.

1. Consider No Tuition Colleges

No tuition colleges are institutions that cover the cost of tuition for students that meet their admission requirements. For instance, the Curtis Institute of Music allows students that pass their audition a chance to attend their school tuition free. If you feel like a career in the military is for you, the Navy and Army also allows recruits to attend college for free.

2. Get a Discount

Many people are unaware of the fact that you can get discounts on your tuition, especially if you’re applying at a private college. These discounts usually come in the form of grants and scholarships, but are available in other forms as well.

These are usually given based on merit, so if you believe your academic results warrant it, you can always try to apply for one of these grants.

3. Do your Degree Online

These days, most degrees can be obtained online from various prestigious organizations. Online degrees are being more and more recognized by top institutions and the cost for tuition is usually significantly lower.

For instance, Rutgers University Online offers MSW online programs that can be taken almost entirely online. Their online masters of social work is as valid as any other social work degree you would get at a traditional college, only for a fraction of the price.

4. Go Overseas

An ever increasing number of Americans are deciding to study abroad. While some do it to broaden their horizons, others do it solely so they can save a few bucks on tuition. At the time of writing, more than 46,000 Americans are studying abroad and the numbers keep increasing.

As a matter of fact, many countries such as Norway, Germany and France offer free tuition to students, including Americans. So that’s definitely an option you should consider.

5. Go to a Work College

This is a little known fact, but there are a few federally recognized schools that offer work programs to their students that allow them to pay for tuition in exchange for labor time. And we’re not talking about full-time work either; labor requirements are usually between 10-15 hours per week, which is perfect for students who can’t find employment and still want to concentrate on their studies. It also give students the opportunity to work near campus.

All of these methods can be used by budget conscious students who want to significantly cut their tuition costs. If you feel like some of these options are for you, don’t hesitate to do your research and see which ones would be more suited to your situation.

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