WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Maybe you are a high school senior waiting on acceptance letters or maybe you are a grown-ups pondering a career change that requires further education. Either way, tuition costs can be a major factor in deciding where to go to school -- or whether to go at all.
Americans are carrying more than $1 trillion in student loan debt, so Bankrate.com looked at some of the lesser-known ways to cut college costs.
We will start with state tuition aid. In addition to federal aid programs, you should looking into state programs. They hand out billions of dollars in aid each year to qualified students.
Another route to consider is loan forgiveness for in-demand professions. These programs tend to apply for teachers, health care and legal defense - either through federal or state programs.
Bankrate also says college-goers should be aware of the so-called "academic common market." This is a cooperative between 14 southern states, Delaware and Maryland. It allows students to pay in-state tuition rates outside of their home state, if their field of study isn't offered at a public university in the state where they live.
If multiple siblings are headed to the same college at the same time, then contact the school's financial aid office to ask about a family discount.
A final thought: Be careful about debt-loads. The WSJ reports that people with degrees in the arts tend to carry the greatest college debt. The median debt loads at schools specializing in art, music and design average almost $22,000-- a loan payment of about $248 a month.