Saving For College

Start Early

Planning and financing for college begins well before high school. Selecting the elementary school your child needs to attend is as important as deciding which high school or college to attend. A proper foundation for learning is of utmost importance for college admission and scholarship consideration.

Make Appropriate Course Selections

Selecting the right curriculum in elementary, high school, and college are linked. Being ready for college while positioning oneself for scholarship and other financing is a process. The transition from elementary, middle school, and high school to college is determined by taking the right classes like upper-level math and science, foreign language, honors’ classes, and Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Boosting the GPA with these classes is important in class rank and college entrance.

Talk To Your Child

College planning is a family concern. Since a college degree is essential for students and the cost of a college education continues to rise, a collective effort is needed. Waiting until high school for parents to speak to their child about college, actually doesn’t make sense. Without communication, the child may develop the assumption that all is well and that the parents have planned to pay for his/her college expenses. Parents may think that they have college expenses covered and their child may have other colleges in mind with higher price tags or further college goals. Whatever the situation, parents and their child need to be open and honest about their feelings and realistic about college issues.

Set Up Two College Funding Plans- One College Funding Plan for Parents and One for Child

Research various savings plans for you as parents and for your child beginning early to reach your college funding goals. Don’t let it catch you by surprise. Small investments can add up over the years. Encourage grandparents to get involved by giving college money instead of toys for birthdays, Christmas, etc.

Enroll in Dual Enrollment College Classes

Check with your local high school and colleges to see if dual enrollment college classes are available and how to meet the requirements. Taking college classes and receiving college credit before leaving high school can save time and money!

Shop Around

Consider In-State colleges as opposed to Out of State colleges since tuition is much higher for some Out of State colleges. Look at smaller colleges, which may have more scholarships, lower GPA and college entrance test requirements, or other Sports/Fine Arts scholarships. Don’t overlook 2-year colleges as a less expensive way to reach the final four-year degree. Living at home for awhile could also cut college costs. Compromise could be the solution to being in debt.

Loans Should Be the Last Option

Students do not need to spend the years following college with hundred of thousand of dollars in loans while being in debt the rest of their lives. Parents do not need to borrow from retirement funds and not be able to live comfortably for the rest of their lives. If loans are needed, let the loans be short-term and low-interest and shared by parents and the child. If parents can’t pay loans, then have the child apply for the loan, but help the child in other areas for college.

The years from cradle to college come too fast! Backing yourselves into a corner and reaching the college years with no available funding are a direct result of not planning ahead.