When all the financial aid forms are added together for both the old and potential schools, families can evaluate the total cost and how much of available 529 plan funds will be needed. If there's not enough money in college savings plans, students may have to consider part-time jobs or student loans.
[Check out scholarships specifically for transfer students.]
If part-time jobs aren't available near the school that allow a student to make enough to cover the difference, families have to decide if it's worth it to borrow student loans, says Dina Lee, a certified public accountant and financial planner in New York.
The decision should be based on how much the new school – either through course work or prestige – will boost the student's career potential after college, she says.
"Students are so young when they make these decisions – it's important that the decision is part of their overall career strategies," says Lee.
Trying to save for college? Get tips and more in the U.S. News College Savings 101 center.