Parents often dread the thought of college payments lurking in the future. With the skyrocketing cost of college tuition, knowing how to pay for college can be stressful. However, with all of the finance options available, learning how to pay for college requires a hard look at your current and future financial position as well as the following searches to help alleviate the large investment.
It’s essential to start with managing expectations. Do you have an idea of the type of education your child will want or need? Ivy League and private institutions may very well be more expensive than state schools or community colleges. Nonetheless, you will still be able to earn your degree from any accredited college or university.
Determine the cost for the degree you want. Bachelor’s is often 4-years; Masters with 6-years; and PhD, MD, etc could be between 8-12 years of education.
How much money will you need to raise? Plan accordingly…
How to Pay for College
Savings: Every household is different. Can you save for college or are you in a tight financial situation that every dollar must stretch for immediate expenses? Do what you can and review your spending. If you don’t have the funds – then you don’t have the funds. If you do and can save, do so. For example, if you are able to cut back on certain expenses – like a daily coffee run – you could potentially save $730 per year. Do this for 10 years and you’ll have over $8,000 in the bank (with interest). Start a PA529 College Savings account could save on taxes.
Grants: Like scholarships, grants are a type of college funding that does not need to be repaid. However, grants are typically need-based, and come from the federal and state governments, as well as your college. Grants are a great option for lower-income families, and can be obtained by filling out the FAFSA each year your child is in school.
Loans: Unlike grants, loans do need to be paid back. However, they provide another good option for lower-income families who qualify for subsidized loans. These are also obtained by filling out the FAFSA each year your child is in school. A thorough explanation of the different kinds of college loans can be found here.
Scholarships: This is an area of college funding that allows you to get a bit creative. There are scholarships offered through all kinds of organizations for all kind of reasons. A few of the most common places for finding scholarships are:
Your College: Colleges themselves are the best starting point for scholarships, which are offered based on academics, diversity, need and more.
Independent Organizations: If your child is involved in any kind of activity, check to see if the organization offers college scholarships. For example, the Boy Scouts offer a wide variety of scholarships to its scouts.
Church: Many religious denominations will offer scholarships to its members.
Athletics:If your child is a high-level high school athlete, playing sports in college may be an option, and may come with a scholarship as well.
Individuals & Businesses: There are private citizens and businesses who want to help support local students and their collegiate efforts.
Parents – Don’t ever feel overwhelmed at the high cost of a college education if you haven’t done the research yet. It’s never too early to start your research and build up your own database of knowledge. You can do an online search, contact your child’s guidance counselor for options, and even visit your local library. Just as we encourage our students to research every possibility, stay focused on the goal – how to pay for college – and make it happen!
For more ideas on engaging your child and furthering their education, visit CoolSpeak! We look forward to being a part of your educational process from elementary school all the way to college!
CoolSpeak – We put the Motivation back into Education. CoolSpeak is the nation’s leading youth engagement company. Since 2009, we deliver unique youth motivational speakers, programs, events, books and products designed to keep students inspired, parents involved, and teachers engaged.