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Early work could cut college costs

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 Early planning could help cut the cost of getting a college education, according to the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA).

One of the biggest college expenses is tuition. You can save on tuition at many colleges by taking more classes each semester. 

That’s because many schools charge a flat rate if you are a full-time student, regardless of the number of credit hours for which you are enrolled. 

If you need 120 hours to graduate and only take 12 hours a semester, it will take you 10 semesters to finish.

But if you take 18 hours each semester, you can finish in seven semesters. By taking classes in the summer, you can graduate even sooner.

If you are still in high school, check into Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and dual-credit courses. 

You may be able to start college with enough credit hours to knock off a semester of classes.

Textbooks can be expensive, so buy used books when possible. Other ways to save on book costs are to rent a textbook if your school has a rental program, or to check books out of the library.

Some colleges have book exchanges where students sell to each other. The seller usually gets more than a bookstore would pay, and the buyer generally pays less than a bookstore would charge.

You can save money by keeping low-cost snacks in your room instead of going out for fast food all the time. Buying supplies like pens, pencils and notebooks on sale or in bulk may also help out.

KHEAA is the agency that administers state student aid programs, including the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES).

To learn how to plan and prepare for higher education, go to www.gotocollege.ky.gov. For more information about Kentucky scholarships and grants, visit www.kheaa.com; write KHEAA, P.O. Box 798, Frankfort, Ky. 40602-0798; or call (800) 928-8926, ext. 6-7372.