What’s the Cheapest Way to Go to College?


Lower-cost schools

If you'll be working toward a bachelor's degree, you might consider starting at a two-year community college and then transferring to a four-year school. Community colleges are usually less expensive than four-year schools. (Some four- year schools that are partially funded by local or state taxes can be less expensive as well.) Because attending a community college allows you to live at home, you can save money on room and board.


If you decide to start at a community college, make sure your community college courses will transfer to your four-year college and that they will count toward your bachelor's degree. Discuss any concerns you have about transfer courses and credits with the college registrar.


Work or volunteer opportunities

You can work part-time to pay part of your costs. Be sure your work and school schedules don't conflict and that you save enough time for studying.


Tax breaks

Certain borrowers can take a tax deduction for the interest actually paid on student loans. This benefit applies to all loans used to pay for postsecondary education school expenses. The maximum deduction is $2,500 a year.


Hope tax credit or Lifetime Learning tax credit

You or your parents might also qualify for one or both of these tax credits. See page 15 for additional information about tax credits, deductions and the Internal Revenue Service.