So I go to Baylor University, and it is not cheap. In fact, it is grotesquely expensive. For some reason, though, this knowledge didn’t deter me and 16,231 other students from attending this Fall. There is something about it, the magic of that school, that keeps us coming back. Maybe some people are like me — in the first year, I met people that loved me more than I knew a friend could. I encountered ideas so new to me they changed my world. I realized there is so much more going on around me than I am willing to recognize, and that I, admittedly, kind of adore the city of Waco.
But the question stands: how are students like us supposed to pay for it? According to the university’s website, each student should expect to spend $56,776 per year. But that number is ambiguous, right? Baylor tries to account for supplies, transportation, and “student expenses” — whatever the hell that means. When I received my acceptance letter, I wanted to know what the barebones cost of Baylor was. With everything stripped away, Baylor’s yearly tuition is $36,360. According to Collegeboard, the US’s average in state tuition rate for the 2014-15 school year was $9,139 — 25% of Baylor’s going rate. In an effort to help others not start their lives hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, I have organized a 6 step process to attend Baylor for the same rate as a traditional, in-state university.
1. A Good SAT/ACT Score
If you are planning to go to Baylor, this is the easiest way to reduce what you could eventually owe. Baylor is odd, in that they will super-score BOTH the SAT and ACT. If you still have the opportunity to take these tests, I highly suggest getting this book. It helped me super-score my ACT to a 30, qualifying me for the next level of scholarships equivalent to $16,000 per year. A 30 isn’t even that great of a score, so with a little effort you can greatly reduce your tuition rate.
2. Take Dual Credit
Dual credit saved my life, and my wallet. I managed to get away with transferring 12 hours over to Baylor. I got an entire semester’s worth of classes for free, and the majority of them were very easy! Most high schools should offer dual credit if there is a community college near by. Talk to your counselor; there is no reason why someone should not accept this opportunity.
3. Maintain a Good GPA
This one gets shoved down most high schooler’s throats, but it is really simple. For every Pre-AP class you take, your GPA scale will be increased from a 4.0, to a 4.5. Similarly, for every AP class, your GPA scale will be increased from a 4.0 or 4.5 to a 5.0. This being said, students have the potential to have a 4.5 out of 4.0, or even a 5.0 out of 4.0. This, along with good grades, earned me another $5,590 per year.
4. Take Summer Classes
After all dual credit hours have been transferred, Baylor accepts up to 15 more credit hours from a different institution. Utilizing your summers well, you can take one or two classes at a time for a very cheap rate; around $150 – $200 per class. This is another semester down that should only cost you $1,000.
5. Work Through a Work Study
Baylor has many options for students to participate in work studies. Many of them even allow you to study while you are on the clock. Working 12 hours a week at minimum wage will earn you $2,818 over the 9 months you spend studying. Use $2,000 for your tuition, and pocket the rest!
6. Ask for you parents’ help
Seemingly, loans are inevitable. But through the steps listed above, you should be able to get away with the same amount of loans as someone attending an in-state university. Tell you parents your plan, and see if they will pay the difference to make the cost the same as the in-state schools. They don’t even have to pay up front, but can help you out as you pay of your loans, as well!
Let’s break it down by year…
$36,690 per year (including summer classes)
– $16,000 from SAT/ACT score
– $5,590 from taking Pre-AP and AP classes
– $2,000 saved up from your work study
– $3,961 contributed by your parents
Total: $9,139 per year
This is exactly what I am on track for. Though I will be paying the total in loans, it is much more comparable to the potential $36,690 I would be paying if I hadn’t done what is listed above. This is also assuming that I will not receive any more scholarships from the university in my next two years there.
I would love to hear some of your reactions to this plan, as well as suggestions on how to make it even better. Thanks for taking a look, and Sic ’em.