If you have made the decision to help your child pay for college, you may be struggling to find the resources to make this happen. The cost of financing your child’s education depends on a number of variables including location of college, (in-state or out-of-state) type of college and financial aid awarded. Early planning can help alleviate the stress associated with paying for a college education. Parents can help their children with financial planning by learning as much as possible about available resources and developing a financial strategy.
Talk to your child about the costs of college and how he or she can participate in the planning process. It is important to take the time to research your options beforehand so that you can minimize the amount of student loan debt accrued during college.
College Savings Plans
Planning for college early can help alleviate the financial stress associated with financing a college education. Some of the college savings options include but are not limited to savings accounts, certificates of deposit, U.S. Savings Bonds, U.S. zero coupon bonds, money market accounts, money market funds, life insurance, mutual funds and investments in stocks or real estate.
Tax Credits for College Education
Tax credits such as the Hope Credit, American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit can greatly reduce the cost of college expenses.
Each year, the U.S. Department of education provides more than $150 billion a year in grants, loans, and work-study assistance to eligible students. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, sixty-six percent of all undergraduates received some type of financial aid in 2007–08.
Pell grants are one form of federal financial aid. These grants are awarded to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor degree. The amount awarded is based on financial need, tuition costs and enrollment status.
Scholarships are very often an overlooked source of college funding. Many parents and students alike have the assumption that scholarships are “too competitive” or that they are only awarded to students with excellent grades. This is simply not true. There are more scholarships than you can imagine!! There are scholarships for every type of student from every type of background.
Scholarships can be found on scholarship search engines, using library resources, researching the internet and contacting local community organizations. Our free scholarship database contains thousands of scholarships and other financial aid opportunities.
Work-study programs allow the student to work during college in exchange for college tuition. There are two types of work-study programs: Federal Work-Study and Non-Federal Work-Study. Federal work-study programs are available to students who have financial need and who would like to participate in a work-study program.
Non-federal work study programs vary from college to college. It is best to contact the school’s financial aid office to learn about the availability of work-study options.
Using loans to pay for college should always be your last option. There is nothing worse than accruing massive amounts of student loan debt because of poor planning or believing that it is the only way to pay for college.
Sometimes loans can be a viable option but it is always best to explore other options first. If you are going to take out loans to pay for college, research the many interest-free loans available.