Author and former college Dean Marcia Cantarella shares the best money saving tips for college students.

Studies indicate that the reason most students drop out of college will have something to do with money. You may have dropped too many classes and lost your financial aid, or taken a job to pay for college that takes too much of your time so you are not doing well.

You may not have applied for aid and then lost the job you thought would pay for your schooling. You may not have budgeted well and fall short of what you need or a crisis has chewed up what you had put away to pay for tuition. You threw away the letter with your bill or deleted the email that told you that you owed money.

However, you must pay attention to finances all the way through school and, certainly, beyond. Your college will tell you that you are responsible for the funding of your education. None of us is as financially savvy as we should be. But there are things about planning for and being in college that few ever talk about and these are some of the best money saving tips for college students.

Here are just five of the best money saving tips for college students that can make a big difference in your ability to make it to and through college.

1. Best Money Saving Tips for College Students

One of the secrets that comprise the best money saving tips for college students is the CLEP. CLEP is the College-Level Examination Program. It is very important for those of you who have had some college and drifted away or maybe went directly to work after college and several years and much experience later realize you really need that degree.

Every college allows each student to take a certain number of CLEP exams which ultimately saves them money on tuition.

“My son went to a small private university which was very expensive.  He used the CLEP option for the maximum units his university would allow and it saved us thousands,” says Pat Wyman, author, founder of HowToLearn.com and creator of the free Learning Styles Quiz so students can find out how they learn best.

The CLEP allows you to test out of some college level courses even if you have attained a mastery of the subject matter elsewhere. Every school has different rules about CLEP tests and which they will accept and give you credit for. But if you do qualify through taking these tests you can eliminate some courses and save that money.

For one of the best money saving tips for college students see CLEP information here and get more information. You may be able to save as much as a semester which for an adult learner, in particular, can be a huge savings of both time and money.

2. Best Money Savings Tips For College Students

  • Enrichment programs, if you are a good student, here are several very underused best money saving tips for college students. There are funds provided by the government and private foundations that support students planning careers in fields where some populations are underrepresented. Those populations may be minority groups, first generation students or students who are below the poverty line. The programs generally offer stipends of some significance up to four or five thousand dollars.

They do require a high grade point average of 3.0 or well above that, a commitment to enter fields like the sciences, math and engineering or just getting a doctorate and teaching at the college level. However, these programs offer a great deal of support in getting through, as well as mentorship, research opportunities, GRE preparation, and aid in doing graduate school applications. If you are a good student with aspirations to go further explore these on your campus.

They will not be everywhere. Check your campus for programs like McNair and others. The administrators often say it is hard to find students to apply! If your campus does not have such programs often faculty who have research grants may have funds to hire assistants and can offer small stipends and mentorship. There is a big money secret for the talented student!

3. Best Money Savings Tips for College Students

  • One money secret has to do with what you do while in school. Many students when they find they are in trouble academically or have a conflict with work or family and need to drop a course, just walk away from it. DO NOT DO THAT!

You have got to tell someone that you are formally withdrawing from that class or taking a leave of absence for the semester. If not they will assume that you are just not going to class and will show up for the final. That is they assume you are using the school’s resources and you will get a bill. That bill has to be paid before you can register again. So some students (many) end up with debt for classes they never finished when all they had to do was tell an adviser or registrar or the professor that they were withdrawing and why.

best money savings tips for college students   And if you decide to change schools you still have that bill to be paid before you can get the transcript from the school you left. Talk to someone before you drop a class –there may even be other solutions. But don’t lose that money just because you drifted silently away! A big money secret.