SOURCE: NextStudent

December 06, 2007 13:23 ET

During Busy College Application Season, NextStudent Offers Students Tuition Cost-Cutting Tactics

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwire - December 6, 2007) - As high school seniors across the country start on their college applications, NextStudent, a leading Phoenix-based education funding company, encourages families to consider cost-cutting plans that could help minimize their need for college loans.

Last year, the Project on Student Debt reported that in 2004, over 62% of graduating seniors at public four-year institutions had some education debt, with half of those students owing at least $15,472 in student loans at graduation. At private, non-profit, four-year institutions, almost 75% of graduating seniors had some education debt, with half of those students graduating with at least $19,500 in student loans. By choosing lower-cost alternatives such as community college and living at home, prospective college students may be able to separate themselves from these statistics and graduate with a lower-than-average amount of student loan debt.

One idea for students to consider is attending community college for their first two years and then transferring to a four-year public or private institution to finish out their college degree. This split plan allows students to fulfill their core college requirements at community college and then take their higher level classes at a four-year school; these students graduate with a degree from their four-year college or university but typically at a fraction of the cost of students who attend a four-year school for all four years.

According to the College Board's "Trends in College Pricing" report for 2007, students will pay, on average, a little over $6,000 a year in tuition and fees (at in-state rates) to attend a public four-year institution and almost $24,000 a year to attend a private four-year institution. Tuition and fees at a community college, on the other hand, average just over $2,300 a year. At these tuition rates, students who complete their first two years of college work at a community college would save $7,600 in tuition and fees compared to attending a public four-year school for all four years and almost $43,000 versus attending a private institution for all four years.

For students who would be living on campus at a four-year school, the money they could save as a commuting student over two years at a community college is even more significant. According to the College Board, including room and board, average annual costs are $13,500 at a public four-year school and over $32,000 at a private four-year school. At these rates, students who attend community college as a commuter student would save $22,500 over two years versus living on campus for four years at a public four-year school, and they would save almost $60,000 over two years versus living on campus for four years at a private four-year school.

Students who would prefer to attend their four-year institution for all four years could still save tens of thousands of dollars by opting to live at home rather than on campus. At 2007 average rates, students attending a public four-year school who live at home rather than on campus would save, on average, $7,400 a year in room and board costs -- saving almost $30,000 over four years. Students at a private four-year school who live at home would save an average of $8,600 a year for total savings of $34,000 over four years.

NextStudent encourages students and their families to consider cost-cutting measures like these that may be able to minimize their need for parent and student loans. If families still need money to cover their college costs, NextStudent offers a full range of low-cost federal parent PLUS loans, college loans for undergraduates, and graduate student loans, as well as private student loans that can help cover those education-related expenses left over when federal financial aid doesn't stretch quite far enough. (Federal student loans generally offer more attractive terms than private student loans, so NextStudent urges students to take advantage of their federal student loan options before turning to private student loans.)

About NextStudent

NextStudent, Federal Lender Code 834051, is dedicated to helping students and their families find affordable ways to pay for college. NextStudent offers one-on-one education finance counseling and has a portfolio of highly competitive education finance products and services, including a free online scholarship search engine, federally guaranteed parent and student loans, private student loans, both federal and private student loan consolidation programs, and college savings plans.

For more information about NextStudent and its student loan programs, please visit the NextStudent website at

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