5 ways to 'hack' your college tuition in 2021

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- The new year has finally arrived, and with it comes a lengthy to-do list for college-bound students.

Students planning to enroll in college or take college courses in 2021 will not only be deciding on schools over the next few months, but will also be navigating the financial aid process.

And while the undertaking can be a stressful one, it doesn’t have to be, Charlie Javice, the CEO and founder of Frank — a business aimed at making college more affordable — told 1010 WINS on Wednesday.

Javice, whose own experience securing a financial aid package for college inspired her to help others do the same, shared her top five tips for cutting costs with 1010 WINS:

1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) accurately and on time.

“As 2021 gets started and people ramp up thinking about school and how to save, the earlier the better,” Javice said, calling FAFSA “the gateway to all financial aid.” “It’s just really important that students complete FAFSA, and do it as soon as possible, to not leave money on the table.”

2. Negotiate your tuition bill.

“A lot of people just never even bother to negotiate or appeal, but what they always forget is that a tuition bill is kind of like a job offer,” Javice said. “You should always be negotiating it, and there’s always a good reason to get more financial aid.”

“For example, if you have another offer from a comparable school, and you’re getting more aid, schools can match each other’s offers, similar to jobs,” she added. “That, I would say, is the one not many people know about.”

3. Start taking college credits as soon as possible.

“If you’re a senior right now, or basically, somebody who is looking for a career change and going back to school, you could start taking college credits as soon as possible, and doing it at a severe discount to the course price of the school you’re about to enroll in, or currently enrolled in,” Javice said.

In recent weeks, Frank partnered with around 400 colleges across t