Education & Training

6 Strategies for Financing Your Child’s College Education

education? You are not alone. The good news is that there are plenty of approaches that can get the job done and help your children. Step one is to make a detailed plan based on the resources you currently have, what you can set aside each month, and how much help you intend to offer. Some parents agree to cover 50 percent of a child’s educational expenses, while others opt to pay for everything. The choice is yours, but the strategy begins with a plan. Here are details of all the steps.

Make a Detailed Plan

Spend time examining your monthly budget, current savings, and other resources that can be put toward a college degree. Consider setting up a formal account with a bank and making monthly deposits. It’s okay to increase or decrease the amounts when your earnings rise or you endure a layoff. The point is to aim for a fixed amount each month. Some parents open brokerage funds that pay significantly higher interest rates than traditional savings banks. Explore all your options and avoid just throwing the funds into a low-interest account where it won’t earn much during the 18 years of accumulation. The power of compound interest can bolster the final account balance if you secure a decent interest rate on the deposits.

Leverage the Power of Student Loans

Sending a child to college and paying all, or most of the bills represents a major financial commitment. One of the smartest, most efficient ways to cover the obligation is with Earnest parent loans, which are taken out in your name, not the child’s. These low-rate Private Parent Loans are an excellent way of solving two things at once. Not only can you borrow enough to cover all the related expenses, but your children can begin their careers debt-free, and thus concentrate on advancing along the ranks in their new job. You won’t be the cosigner on the loan but the sole borrower. That means you can take advantage of competitive rates and not worry about making payments until after your youngster graduates.

Hire a Pro to Locate Grants and Scholarships

Far too many people overlook the free money available through grants and scholarships. There are thousands of opportunities, but it takes a bit of know-how to navigate the potential resources. Consider hiring a fee-based professional who specializes in matching high school grads with grant and scholarship money. Remember to begin early, during the student’s junior year of high school, doing research and hunting for these no obligation financial resources.

Avoid the Famous Name Mistake

Never attend a four-year program based solely or mostly upon the famous name of the school. Long ago, notoriety in the world of education meant something. These days, not so much. In fact, many of the name institutions offer sub-standard curricula and often live off their past fame, sports team championships, and questionable pedigrees. Choose schools based upon your research of how much value they deliver per dollar spent.

Consider a Work Interval

Keep in mind that there’s no hard-and-fast rule about moving from senior year of high school directly to a four-year college or university. Many hard-working teens spend one or more years acquiring valuable work experience before heading back to school. Often, employers offer to cover a significant portion of tuition expenses or allow workers to earn tuition credits for every month on the job. Don’t overlook military service, which represents one of the only ways to gain job experience, earn veteran status, and get the majority of higher education paid for in full or in part. There are dozens of service-based programs available. Speak with a recruiter or explore the various military websites to learn more.

Use Community Colleges for the First Two Years

It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it’s been endured for decades because it works. That’s the idea of spending the first two years of study at a local community college. After that, apply to four-year institutions based on your intended major, educational value, and total cost. If you have a four-year institution in mind, like a local university, contact the admissions office and see if they have a specific policy about accepting all transfer credits from particular community colleges. Often, state universities have agreements with local two-year schools that allow students to get 100 percent transfer credit for every course taken during those first four semesters before entering the university.

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