College on the Cheap

Pursuing college creatively without debt.

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Friday Jul 07, 2023

Dual enrollment is available to every student in the United States, but finding success with dual enrollment begins with learning your options. Dual enrollment is frequently free or reduced for high school students, so every class they can take before high school graduation is one less class you'll pay full price for later.  

Tuesday Jun 06, 2023

Degree planning is the one surefire way to take zeros off the cost of your college degree.  In this episode, we're going to introduce you to the art and science of degree planning.  You can apply degree planning principles at any college or university in the country.
After this episode, you can watch a demonstration video at our College on the Cheap Patreon channel where Shelley goes behind the scenes and starts with a $178,000 B.S.  degree from Post University (rack rate) and resourcefully plans it down to only $15,000- true story! 

Episode 9: Live Better U

Tuesday May 09, 2023

Tuesday May 09, 2023

Welcome to Walmart! Over 1 billion dollars are up for grabs and you can use it to fully fund your degree. In this episode, we'll show you how getting a part-time job at Walmart generates a guaranteed full funding opportunity for your college degree. We'll also break down the best place to use the funding, and how to cut the time needed in half.
Walmart Guild Education
The Unofficial Guide to Using CLEP Creatively at the University of Florida 

Episode 8: Like a Rock Star

Tuesday Apr 25, 2023

Tuesday Apr 25, 2023

Jennifer & Shelley interview Richard Fink IV called the “world’s leading online vocal coach” by the Wall Street Journal. He has worked with singers in over 100 countries around the world, including multi-platinum-selling artists, professional actors, political leaders, and Broadway stars.  Richard gives us amazing insight into the world of performing arts and he helps us break down how to build a career creatively with (and without) a college degree on the cheap.
The Vocal Gym by Throga
3-Page Resource List of classes, colleges, and careers.

Monday Dec 05, 2022

The cool thing about trade school (vocational school, career school, etc) is that the programs are tied tightly to employment- these programs help prepare you to get a job immediately.  The challenge with these programs is the cost. Sometimes they are more expensive per contact unit than a degree in liberal arts, and when the school is unaccredited or a for-profit business, it's hard to get wise financial aid help. 
In this episode, we'll show you how to pay for trade school (accredited or not) without devastating financial consequences.  We'll also look at alternative ways to get job skills that you may not have considered, and finally, we'll give you some rules to keep your budget in check.
Hard rule: Never borrow FOR other people, and never let people borrow for you.
Stockpiling cash for the first 50% before day 1.
Living expenses - tighten that budget!
Second 50% - Pell Grant, scholarship, gifts, working so you can cash-flow the process.  *IF you borrow, only borrow the second 50%.
Find out if the occupation is available as an apprenticeship. Get paid to learn.
Jennifer & Shelley's favorite scholarship website:

Monday Oct 31, 2022

Three questions everyone should ask before going to college, and how to look past the "all-expense-paid-vacation" marketing colleges are pitching. 
Ask an 18-year-old about their future education, and then ask a 38-year-old about their future education. What you’ll notice time and time again, is that the 18-year-old talks about where they're going to college while the 38-year-old tells you what they’re doing. Whether it's a degree, a license, or a certification, adults tend to focus on the credential. 
In today’s episode, we’re going to strip away some of the experience of romance and bring adult wisdom to the process. 
120 credits = Bachelor's degree average
The average college allows you to bring in 30-90 credits before you enroll. Always outsource as much prior (cheaper) credit in advance to the maximum allowable number.  
Colleges that guarantee acceptance of a LOT of alternative college credit: 
Do I know my target occupation?  
Do I need to go to graduate school? 
Can I wait?  

Monday Oct 17, 2022

1 in 4 adults has college credit but no degree. If that's your situation, you may already qualify for a degree through this special program being offered by Pierpont Community and Technical College in West Virginia.  Best of all, this degree is completely free and open to anyone in the country!  
Take Jennifer's 1-hour class explaining how to get this degree quickly and affordably..  

Thursday Jun 30, 2022

Complete 50-75% or more of your degree right now from home for $3 per credit or less. No application, no SAT scores, no acceptance letters.  Sound too good to be true?  Nope.  In this episode, you won't believe the opportunities to earn legitimate college credit that you can use at legitimate colleges starting today!
Resources / Links

Sunday Jun 12, 2022

It’s 2005-2006, and I’m reading about a concept I'd never heard of called "testing out." The interesting part is that I'd been teaching and advising in the community college district for 13 years by then, so I was sure it wasn't legit.  Except that it was.  6 months later I had tested out of over 20 college classes, and today I’m going to tell you you can do it too.
Colleges are not motivated to help you test out of their classes or save money! 
Resources / Links

Saturday Apr 09, 2022

Resourceful people LOVE finding a smart solution that’s just a little bit better than what everyone else is doing.  One company has literally reinvented its education plan so creatively, that you just might want to change jobs and let them pay for your degree.   
Source Links
Starbucks Program:
ASU regular Online Tuition $561–$661 per credit hour
List of degrees you can do through this program: 
Average wage at Starbucks $11/hour
ASU credit by exam list 

Monday Mar 21, 2022

Every student feels the intensity as they get closer to graduation, sometimes even as early as 9th or 10th grade everyone starts asking, "Where are you going to college?"  But admissions propaganda is a distraction from the real question everyone should be asking. 
College on the Cheap isn’t about saving money, it’s about spending money. 
You can learn how to save money in 5 seconds.  “Put your money over there and don’t touch it.” Boom. You saved money. Saving money is easy. Spending… spending money with wisdom is hard!
You can’t pay for college by saving money. To earn your credential, you'll have to spend money.   You have more power than you realize when it comes to how much money you spend!
In this new podcast, Jennifer Cook-DeRosa and Shelley Cloutier challenge the status quo ("just borrow it, it's good debt, no big deal") and push you to think outside the box! Normal people of average income and average intelligence can get through college without debt when they have an above average level of motivation. 
Together, we'll help you find those opportunities and get through college on the cheap! 

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