Secret ways to pay for college

(FOX19) - A lot of parents are stressed out about how to pay for their child's college education.

Tuition at many public universities are skyrocketing thanks to massive state budget deficits. Over the last three decades, the cost of attending college has gone up three times the rate of the cost of living.

At the University of Cincinnati, tuition for in-state students is about $10,000 a year, not including room and board.

"The cost and the economic times we are in and the rising cost of college tuition on top of books and room and board putting a major burden not only on our students but our families," said Jeff Brandt, principal at Oak Hills High School.

About 70-percent of all students at Oak Hills go on to college whether it's a 2 or 4 year.

"They've been pretty worried. Middle class family, FAFSA, we applied for that," said Kelsey Wineland, a senior at Oak Hills who is attending UC in the fall. "It's a little rough but we are getting through it."

One thing every family should do is start early -- in many cases even before high school.

"Our students are getting better, we're getting better each and every year of getting the preparation out," said Brandt. "If you come to us as a senior, this is a 4 to 5 year process starting back in middle school."

Counselor Kristen Macks helps students find scholarship money. She says do your research. When it comes to local scholarships, community involvement is huge - something that can be emphasized with a resume which you should start building early.

"It is a great way to highlight all of your achievements. All of your work achievements. Anything that wouldn't necessarily would be on your high school transcript. So you are basically marketing yourself," she said.

Another way to save money is to get college credit while in high school.

Last year Oak Hills saved students $1 million on tuition.

"There are honors and advance placement courses available and they can take advantage of those and earn college credit while in high school thus saving money on tuition costs," said Macks.

Ryan Kube helps families figure out how to pay for college. He also helps students figure out what they want to do, so they don't waste time in college.

"The biggest expense is staying a 5th or 6th or even 7th year if it is a 4 year program," said Kube. "The number one thing all people can do it get out in the shortest amount of time possible and it helps immensely if you go to school with a purpose it helps you get out a lot quicker."

The unfortunate news is that many experts don't see an end in sight to the year after year tuition hikes because the cost of college hasn't hurt enrollment levels.

UC saw record enrollment this year - more than 41,000. Next year tuition is going up by 3.5 percent.

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