Never give up on scholarships
You don't have to be a stellar student to land a big scholarship. Unless it's strictly an academic scholarship, your grades -- while important -- will most likely not be called upon to "carry the day".
As long as your grades make the cutoff -- often a 2.5 GPA or higher -- you have as good a chance as any applicant of capturing a scholarship. And there's no reason your scholarship search can't continue throughout your four or more years of college. Many institutions offer scholarship assistance to students who have proven themselves academically. It may be as simple as asking the financial aid office what endowment grants are available for application.
And don't forget to search for scholarships outside your school. Find listings of scholarships you can apply for here on FastWeb. Some scholarships base their awards on financial need while some do not consider need at all.
Accelerate your degree
Community colleges are a great way to complete two years of education for less than one-third the price of four-year colleges. Many four-year colleges offer automatic admission and scholarships to community college students who transfer to their schools. Community colleges have also instituted programs like 2+2 Programs and Honors Programs that benefit students.
Athletically, the Junior Colleges have also instituted the Division I, II, & III system that the four year schools follow.
To sum up
As savvy consumers, we need to continually reduce our costs while achieving the highest level of education. Do your homework, and don't be afraid to ask the tough questions. For example, "If I am paying this sum of money to your college, what do I receive in return from the institution that makes it worth my investment?" Even the richest people in the world work to save money; why should we be any different?
Control the process; don’t let the process control you!
Richard Pound is a consultant and author of Packaging Academics with Athletics