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You can be successful without graduating from college, but numerous studies have shown that getting a post-secondary education greatly increases your chances of having a solid career that pays well.  Expensive tuition and other costs can make college seem out of reach for many bright students, but there are several ways to make higher learning more affordable.

Here are five ways you can cut college costs to a minimum:

Getting a scholarship is one of the smartest and most common ways to reduce higher-education costs. Many colleges offer both “full-rides” — which cover all costs as long as a recipient meets certain academic requirements — and partial scholarships. Some third parties, such as cultural groups, also offer them. Use websites to search for scholarships, and remember to start your applications well in advance of the deadlines.

If your scholarships more than cover your tuition and fees, you’ll receive the excess in a residual check. I know many students who did this for years and went shopping at the beginning of every semester when their checks arrived.

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