College!!Where Will You Find The Money?

If college tuition bills are looming and you don’t have enough saved and who does? Your in company!! Before you panic, you do have options. The stats are four out of ten families don’t have the funds to get their kids through four years of schooling. Among the ones who have, are parents of children age 13 -17 have only saved an average of $23,000. Of course with today’s tuition bills, that won’t be nearly enough. After scholarships and grants were deducted, the average cost  was 15,300$. A four year degree will cost on the average of 60,000$ and, with that the elite schools will get you for upwards of 70,000$. Unless your kid is a superstar athlete you will have to pocket these costs.                               The federal plus loan program allows parents to borrow the full price of virtually any college education. It is reasonable to ask the student to first exhaust federal student loan options before parents consider borrowing. Counselors generally tell perspective students and parents to apply for three types of schools, based on the students academic credentials. So called safety schools, those that will usually accept the student, target schools, those that those who may accept and reach schools where it is a long shot. Families should accept and include at least one financial safety school a college they know they can handle, as well as target schools that could be an affordable reach that may include a generous financial aid.                                                                                              The biggest problem that I have encountered in speaking with seniors going to college is their uncertain attitude to exactly what they want to major in. This can be a very costly problem as after a few semesters, a student may change the major and thus, almost have to start over as the program they are in will not add up to the new major. Asking a 17 or 18 year old to make this type of decision is a difficult task at hand. Most colleges luckily have career counselors who can help students sort through the many options and interests they may have.Also, internships can offer a real world glimpse of future career options as well.                                                                                                                                        Some ideas like eating out less, buying used instead of new, vacationing cheaply and combing your bills for unnecessary costs such as memberships you do not use or subscriptions your not using. Further,if the student is going to school over a 100 miles away, your insurer may give you an away from home discount as it’s certainly worth the asking. Tax breaks, such as the American Opportunity of Lifetime Learning Credits, can also help make ends meet.                                                                                                                   In my college discussions with would be college students, I have suggested money saving actions toward their education. Let’s face it, today most employers are looking for a degree. I have found that where you go to school really doesn’t matter though top graduates of Ivy League and top schools have always had the best offers, but in general one school really doesn’t differ that much from the other. Most 18 year old’s who are material in their views, want to go to name college because of the football team of for some other crazy reason. Many want to go to these colleges because of the prestige and many don’t even know where these college are located!! In any event, if the student wants to go to school and has a reasonable idea as to what they want to major, then a community college may be a great choice as the student will not have the dorm fees and can work an save for the last two years at a four year school. If a parent can  get employment at a community college in some capacity, the student of that parent can usually go to the school for free. I personally know a person who went free for the two years at the community level and then went to be a chiropractor. Try to discourage your child from wanting the big name schools. A community education and then the four year school will not only save you thousands, but with college today at a ridiculous sum, will give the parent some breathing room financially.                                                                           In conclusion, sound planning is certainly better than beating one’s head to save for a school that will be too expensive for the parents. A parent certainly should not and must not go into any sort of supreme debt in putting their kids through college. While their are several money saving ideas to attend college, I believe sound planning financially and, choosing a school that will allow the major to be achieved in an affordable manner is the way to go. Also, while your kids may not be  LeBron James or Tom Brady, there are individual sports that you can have your kids play in like fencing, tennis, volleyball etc that schools offer scholarships for. These sports do not have the same competition level as the major ones so it might be a good idea to participate in those sports. I had a particular student who I suggested join a fencing team where he lived. He became a very good fencer and was able to receive a major scholarship to NYU one of the best schools in the country for fencing.So, there are ways to finance your child’s education. You can go into debt, blindly going into a college that will suck up your income and no doubt you child  may fail out or, become disinterested. Or, you can plan out some of the ideas I expressed to not only ensure your child will be educated with the proper degree, but also, will not put you in a financial burden situation that will possibly keep you buried in debt for years, well into your golden years when you should have the money to enjoy retirement. Be sensible and direct. Have a plan, and go with it. With college costs going through the roof, unless these ideas or saving enough money for college may be a pipe dream for almost all of us.


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