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3. Consider scholarship options, but save based on tuition prices: The University of Oregon offers cultural scholarships that could cover between $6,000 and $27,000 of college costs, Hardin says. These scholarships are solely for international students who develop a winning project that helps others learn about their culture in the University of Oregon community.
Past winners created presentations on being a war refugee or volunteered at the school's radio station DJing Brazilian music, Hardin says. But it isn't guaranteed when you apply that you'll receive funding, as you won't find out until you receive your admissions acceptance letter, he adds.
It's important to save for school based on pre-scholarship prices, Hardin advises. For instance, if your family can afford to pay a maximum of $30,000 per year including all expenses from tuition to housing, you can still apply to the University of Oregon, he notes. Some students who received a partial scholarship for the 2012-2013 school year were able to reduce the $43,410 cost of attendance to below $30,000.
But you should also apply to at least two universities that are within your family's budget if you don't receive a scholarship, he suggests.
Reyna Gobel, frequently quoted as an expert on student loans and college costs, is the author of "Graduation Debt: How To Manage Student Loans And Live Your Life" and "How Smart Students Pay for School: The Best Way to Save for College, Get the Right Loans, and Repay Debt." She has appeared on PBS's Nightly Business Report and speaks regularly at CollegeWeekLive.