5 Unexpected Ways to Save on College Costs

Let’s face it: college costs continue to rise. The average cost of a four-year school in the Charlotte area is more than $22,000 for the first year alone (based on colleges accredited by SACS-COC). More and more families have to get creative when it comes to paying for college.

Save Thousands on Education

While scholarships and financial aid are usually the first options that come to mind to help pay for college, there are a variety of options you might not have considered that can save you thousands on your college education.

  • Dual Enrollment

    You may be able to earn tuition-free college credit while still in high school. Through North Carolina’s Career & College Promise program, eligible high school students can earn tuition-free credits toward a two- or four-year degree or credential in a technical field. Participating in this program allows you to get a jump-start on earning college credit and save thousands of dollars on your college education.

    Tsion M., Career & College Promise student, looking up at books in library
  • Apprenticeships

    By becoming an apprentice, you can gain hands-on, real-world experience in your chosen field of study. In addition to classroom learning, you’ll gain on-the-job knowledge that can help you enhance your résumé, distinguish yourself in a competitive job market, and fast-track higher pay and future promotion opportunities. Plus, you’ll earn wages and, in many cases, get your college tuition and fees covered. Apprenticeship offers a unique opportunity to learn new skills while also earning a salary and tuition costs.

    Skylan J. working with mechatronics equipment in mechatronics lab
  • Accelerated Career Training

    Are you unemployed or underemployed and need new skills fast? Many industries have a shortage of workers and a growing demand for skilled employees. Central Piedmont’s Accelerated Career Training through College and Career Readiness provides free job training fast for careers in high-growth industries in the Charlotte area. Accelerated Career Training courses can be completed in 7–16 weeks and focus on acquiring skills in industries offering employment opportunities and pathways for career advancement.

    Joel Dr. working with drill on construction site, wearing hard hat
  • 2+2 Transfer Programs

    Save on your first two years of college and transfer to a four-year college. If you are considering a bachelor’s degree, many schools offer 2 + 2 agreements, which allow you to start your education at a community college and then transfer to a four-year college or university to complete your coursework. By starting your classes at a community college, you can save more than $38,000 over two years. Central Piedmont has dozens of 2 + 2 agreements with four-year institutions in our region.

    Chris N. drawing in gallery
  • Tuition Reimbursement (Sponsorship)

    More employers are covering some or all of the tuition expenses for their employees to gain additional skills as an added perk of the job. Often, you’ll need to meet a set of predetermined guidelines and work to maintain a certain GPA in your classes. In return, your employer will cover the cost for your courses or degree program. The best way to find out if your company participates is to ask. Talk to you supervisor or a representative from human resources to find out if your company offers tuition assistance.

    Aaron A. welding with a lot of sparks