The Six Best Ways to Reduce Your College Education Costs

Earning a college degree at Upper Iowa University (UIU) is the key to opening up higher paying jobs in the field you dream of working in. If the cost is prohibitive for you and your family, learn the six best ways to reduce your college education costs.

Research the Cost of Different Schools

The cost of attending college varies greatly based on which institution you attend. For example, Ivy League schools average $50,000 for tuition and fees per academic year. However, you can receive the same quality of education from a more affordable school, such as Upper Iowa University.

UIU costs less than $31,000 for Fayette campus students as of the 2018-19 school year. This base cost is only the beginning. Thanks to our participation in student aid programs, available scholarships and other tuition assistance options, a majority of our students don’t pay the full price to attend UIU.

Apply for Federal Financial Aid

Everyone attending college should fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Every year, the US Department of Education awards more than $120 billion to over 13 million students to help fund their college education. FAFSA funds can be used to cover tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation costs.

Federal aid is available in three forms:

  • Grants: Financially eligible students can qualify for grants, which never have to be repaid.
  • Loans: If you don’t qualify for a grant or your grant money doesn’t cover your expenses completely, you can take out a low-interest loan. Payments are often deferred until after you graduate and subsidized loans don’t start accruing interest until six months after graduation.
  • Federal work-study: These needs-based programs give students the opportunity to work part-time to help cover education expenses.

Fill out a FAFSA form today to see which federal financial aid programs you’re eligible for.

Apply for a Scholarship

Upper Iowa University believes in supporting students who demonstrate their commitment to higher education. That’s why we offer merit and needs-based scholarships to students studying with us on campus or at one of our distance education centers.

  • Fayette campus scholarships: Incoming freshmen can apply for a merit scholarship, which can be renewed each year to help reduce college education costs
  • Transfer students: Learners transferring from other colleges to the Fayette UIU campus can also apply for a transfer tuition scholarship.
  • UIU centers and distance learning scholarships: Non-traditional learners who study beyond the Fayette campus may apply for private scholarships from professional organizations or for specific majors. Current students can also compete for scholarships from UIU’s Honors and Awards Committee.
  • International student scholarships: Transfer students from other countries can apply for loans and merit scholarships available only to international learners.
  • Endowed scholarships: Both incoming freshmen and transfer students can apply for endowed and institutional scholarships. Each one has different merit or needs-based requirements to qualify.
  • Other scholarships: Online scholarship resources and private scholarships from organizations in your community can help fund your college education.

Talk to your UIU admissions counselor about your scholarship eligibility and what you need to do to apply.

Ask Your Employer About Tuition Assistance

Many employers offer college tuition assistance as part of their benefits packages. If you’re a full-time employee – or the spouse or dependent of a full-time employee – ask about your eligibility for these benefits.

Upper Iowa University also has agreements with companies who are members of the UIU Corporate Advantage Program (CAP). Employees at these companies may be eligible for scholarships when attending UIU campus or one of our 21 U.S. locations across the country. Students taking online courses also qualify.

For more information about this type of tuition assistance, speak with your employer’s Human Resources department or your UIU admission counselor.

Spend Less Time in School

The total cost of college depends largely on how long it takes to complete your degree. To shorten the time you spend in school, work with your academic advisor to plan out every course required to complete your degree. This is important because not all classes are available every semester. You don’t want to end up paying for an extra term – not to mention delaying your entry into the workforce by another few months – because you missed the course rotation for your major.

If you’re a transfer student, you can also bring course credits with you to fulfill some of your degree requirements without the need to retake similar classes. Here are the types of transfer credits UIU accepts:

  • College credit for incoming freshmen who took Advanced Placement courses in high school and scored well on their AP tests
  • Up to 90 credit hours for transfer students coming from four-year colleges
  • Up to 78 credit hours for transfer students coming from two-year colleges
  • Up to 30 experiential learning credits for prior training and experience in fields such as law enforcement, fire science and the military

Reduce Your College Education Costs at Upper Iowa University

Clearly, it’s possible to lower the cost of attending UIU through federal grants, student loans, merit scholarships and other forms of tuition assistance. Plus, with our attention to detail in planning your path to graduation and accepting transfer credits, you can shorten the time you spend in school, lowering your costs even further.

With the high-quality education you earn at Upper Iowa University – whether on campus, at one of our learning centers or online – you can expect to excel in your chosen career and have a higher earning potential than if you skipped college.

Our financial aid department is here to help you succeed! For answers to any questions you have about filling out a FAFSA, applying for scholarships or shortening your path to graduation, please contact us at 800-553-4150 or send an email to