For many students, affordability – or lack thereof – is a major factor in their pursuit of higher education. College can be costly. There are ways that earning a college degree online can help you minimize student loan debt , but the tuition price for online college isn’t necessarily cheaper than a traditional education. However, you can use strategies to cut the costs of your education or even put your education to work to reduce your existing expenses.

Save Money on Course Materials

College textbooks are notoriously expensive. In many courses, they are as essential for students of distance-learning programs as they are for students learning in the classroom. However, that doesn’t mean you have to pay top dollar for your books. Where you attain your books, what condition you get them in and how you go about acquiring them are all factors that affect cost, according to U.S. News & World Report. For example, many traditional schools encourage students to purchase textbooks from the on-campus bookstore. If your online college also has a brick-and-mortar location, it, too, probably has its own bookstore and an accompanying website. Even your online-only college may have its own virtual bookstore. It may seem simpler to purchase books here, but U.S. News stated that students who are bargain hunting can get better deals by looking elsewhere.

Local bookstores, online retailers like and book chains like Barnes & Noble may have the same book at a lower markup than your college bookstore does. Websites devoted to selling academic books, like, often have large selections and sometimes other perks, like a guaranteed amount of money you can get back at the end of the semester if you choose to sell the book back to the same retailer. One option that can help you save a lot of money on textbooks is to buy them used rather than new wherever possible. Many services now rent textbooks, as well, which can drop the price considerably as compared to actually buying the book.

Take Advantage of Student Discounts

Just because you’re shelling out a hefty amount of money for tuition doesn’t mean your student status can’t pay you back. . Do you need special software for your class in addition to a textbook? You can save on this – and more – with a student discount. Many organizations, from retailers and entertainment venues to professional associations, offer discounts for students. If your school has a brick-and-mortar campus, you may be able to get a student identification card, even if you’re not required to have one as an online student. Even if your school doesn’t issue physical I.D.s, some organizations accept screenshots of course schedules or other proof or registration and enrollment as evidence of your eligibility for student discounts

Even for online students, college is expensive. However, by saving money on course materials and taking advantage of student discounts, you can cut costs. Every little bit of savings helps.