Start at community college
Start at community college
Name: Ebonee Parrish
Age: 21
College: University of Virginia
Major: Criminal psychology
Total college costs: $0
Estimated savings: $95,000

When her mom lost her job running a day-care center in 2008, Parrish gave up her dream of going to a university and instead enrolled at local Piedmont Virginia Community College, where she got a small grant to cover tuition and books.

There, students who earn a 3.4 average in a prescribed course load can automatically transfer to the University of Virginia, which promises enough grant aid to meet all student needs.

Parrish buckled down, qualified, and is happy with how things turned out. "I got to stay home and get more prepared for the university," she says. "And I liked the smaller classes. Every teacher knew your name."

Here's what you can do to save on college costs.

Last updated September 09 2011: 10:35 AM ET
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