Giving Compass' Take:

• The author offers recommendations to make college more affordable while students are still in high school. These include researching factors they might not have considered, such as financial aid packages and graduation rates.

• Besides reducing tuition rates, what more can higher education institutions do to make their programs more affordable and accessible?

 Read about how innovations in college affordability are affecting students. 

Average tuition, fees, room, and board for an in-state public institution (without financial aid) last year topped out at $20,790, according to the College Board’s latest report. Going out of state? You’re looking at $36,480. Considering a private, four-year school? Expect to pay around $46,990 a year.

But college costs don’t have to break the bank. There are ways to manage college costs that don’t involve applying for a second mortgage. Here are 10:

  • Pile on the AP classes: The more AP classes a high schooler can ace now, the fewer college courses he or she will have to pay for later.
  • Be creative about scholarships: Free money is no small thing, and your child may be able to score extra cash because, say, she knows how to knit.
  • Apply for financial aid: Do this a couple of years before you need it. You may be able to move assets around to qualify for aid.
  • Compare net price, not the cost of attendance: Net price is what college will cost after you subtract gift aid. To calculate the net price, deduct grant and scholarship amounts in your aid offer from the cost of attendance.
  • Consider graduation rates: Some 45 percent of students who go to college full time need another year (or more) to finish. So make sure you’re comparing apples to apples among schools — find out what percentage of the student body graduates in four years, using a site like College Results.
  • Look for a closer school: It’s less expensive to drive across the state than to fly across the country.
  • Seek out no-loan options: Some schools have adopted no-loan financial aid policies, meaning that students receive grants to help them attend.
  • Have your child work — but not too much
  • Be Reasonable
  • Save, Save, Save!

Read the full article about making college more affordable by Miron Lulic at The 74