Ways to Reduce College Expenses

We understand that a UM education is an investment. In turn, UM wants to invest in you and ensure you graduate with as little debt as possible. Below are eight ways that could help reduce your college expenses.

1. Compare your housing options.

If you prefer to live off campus rather than in residential housing, be aware that rent is not the only expense you may face. From utilities to food to transportation, the costs can add up quickly. Your least expensive option may be to live at home and commute if you live close enough. When calculating your cost of attendance and how much assistance you will be eligible to receive, UM does consider your housing plans.

2. Buy used textbooks.

You have the option to purchase used textbooks and may also be able to rent textbooks at the University of Miami. You can then sell your books back online to the bookstore or to someone else.

3. Use your Florida Prepaid.

If you and your family purchased a prepaid tuition plan such as Florida Prepaid, or invested in a 529 Savings Plan, be sure to provide this information to ’Canes Central or the Office of Student Account Services so it may be applied toward your bill.

4. Explore all of your financial aid options and outside scholarships.

Apply for as many outside scholarships as possible. Start looking early and check with your parent’s employer, high school guidance counselor, and local library to see if scholarships are available. To qualify for additional types of financial aid, you may need to meet certain criteria, such as excelling in a specific academic area or sport. UM recommends using free scholarship searches such as fastweb.com and scholarships.com.

5. Borrow as little as possible.

Student loans are not free. You must pay back your student loans with interest.

If you have student loan money left over after you pay your UM expenses, ask UM to return the funds to your lender. Typically, you have 14 days to return any loan proceeds to your lender without penalty. You will receive a right-to-cancel notification from the office when a loan has been credited to your account. The less money you borrow now, the less money you must repay later. In cases where your loan accrues interest while you’re in school, elect to pay the interest now instead of deferring it. The earlier you pay interest on your student loans, the less money you will pay in the long run.

6. Graduate on time.

It’s important to have a plan so you can avoid paying for classes that don’t contribute toward your degree. In order to graduate on time, we recommend that you take 15 credits per semester.

7. Consider student employment.

Federal Work Study is a subsidized employment opportunity where a student has an on- or off-campus job and earns a paycheck every two weeks.

Federal law requires that all new student employees complete an I-9 form and present supporting documentation to verify their identity within three business days of their first day of work. Examples of acceptable documentation include either a valid U.S. passport OR driver’s license AND a Social Security card or birth certificate.

8. Enroll in the Monthly Payment Plan.

The Monthly Payment Plan (MPP) allows you to divide your educational expenses into convenient monthly payments per semester. Make use of the University’s Monthly Payment Plan up to the point your family budget will allow before considering student loans. Learn more at miami.edu/mpp.