My Secret to Saving Thousands on School Tuition

I'm sure I don't have to tell you how ridiculously expensive colleges are nowadays.

Dozens of colleges, like George Washington University in Washington, D.C., have the gall to charge more than $55,000 per year for tuition.

Consider that according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the average household income is just $67,565. So you'd have spent more than 80% of a year's income on one year of college.

George Washington isn't alone. The eight Ivy League schools all charge at least $47,000 for tuition and fees.

The average tuition at private universities as of 2017 was $34,740. Public schools, of course, tend to charge a lot less, especially for in-state residents. It's an average of $9,970 versus $25,620 for out-of-state, according to the nonprofit College Board.

And costs are only going to increase. According to the American Institute for Economic Research, college tuition costs rose a whopping 1,100% between 1980 and 2015. That's 400% higher than the growth rate of wages and inflation.

The worst part is, there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason for the massive price hikes. And there's no accountability if anyone breathing can get an $80,000-a-year loan for college. I don't know any 18-year-olds with solid concepts of the cost of money...

It's just another example of how greed has permeated our society at the expense of honest, hardworking Americans like you and me.

But after a little investigative work, I found a way to get thousands off your regular tuition price.

In fact, several of my close colleagues have taken advantage of this secret, too, and saved thousands on expensive tuition costs.

This has nothing to do with financial aid, loans, or scholarships. If you or anyone in your family is going to college, this one secret alone will save you tens of thousands of dollars.

I'm talking about community colleges.

Take a look at their costs:

For the 2017-2018 school year, the average cost for a full year of tuition and fees at a community college was only $4,859 for in-state students. That's less than half of what you'd typically pay at a public, in-state college. Even out-of-state students save, with the average tuition at $8,608.

So, here's the secret way to save more than 30% on college tuition:Start at your local community college and transfer to a bigger college after two years. In other words, hold off attending the university for two years. In that time, take courses at your local community college that will transfer to the bigger school. You will save a ton of money, but still graduate in the same amount of time and from the more prestigious university.

For example, Minnesota law requires the University of Minnesota to accept junior college transfers with GPAs of 2.5 and Cs in their majors.

Now, the current tuition and fees for the 2018-2019 year for in-state students is $14,760 for the University of Minnesota.

But at Normandale Community College, it's just around $5,018.

So, say that you live in Minneapolis. You could attend Normandale Community College for two years and then transfer to University of Minnesota for your third and fourth years.

The two-plus-two strategy would cost only about $39,556 for four years versus nearly $60,000 for four years at the university. You'd save more than $20,000 in tuition and fees over two years. That's more than 33%.

Other states offer similar credit-transfer programs where you can start with community college. And the savings are even higher for private schools.

For example, Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is one of the most expensive schools in the country, with tuition and fees of $56,450 for the 2018-2019 year.

But you could attend the local community college in Lancaster – HACC – instead. Tuition and fees there vary based on the number of credits, but to be a full-time student, you'd spend about $5,988 for a year. (That's 12 credits a semester.)

Now, Franklin & Marshall has some extensive rules for accepting transfer credits, but it will accept courses from an accredited school... and that includes HACC.

So, if you try the two-plus-two method here, you'd pay just $124,876 instead of $225,800... that's more than $100,000 in savings.

The one thing to keep in mind: Do your homework. Make sure your desired school has a system in place for credits to transfer before enrolling in community college classes. Some schools may have rules about the types of classes they accept.

If you're a parent looking for ways to save for your retirement and make sure your children get a great education, this is the trick. You save big money and your kids still get diplomas from big-name schools.

This is just one of many income-saving tips I cover in my new report, "Income Revenge: Get Even & Get Paid." If you're a subscriber toRetirement Millionaire, you can access it right here. And if you aren't, we have a special offer available for a limited time. Read more on how to get started right here.

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Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,

Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
August 21, 2018