With college expenses soaring into the upper stratosphere, you could buy a house for what it costs to send each of your children to college; so if you want your kids to attend college, it will probably take some financial planning on your part to make that happen. Consider the following 6 smart ideas for financing your children’s college educations:
Start a College Savings Account or 529 Plan for Each Child
If you’re serious about treating your family’s college savings like an investment, there are a couple of possible ways you can invest into tax-advantaged college savings accounts for your children. Look into 529 plans and Coverdell savings accounts to see if either of these options would work well for your family.
2. Encourage Your High School Aged Children to Take AP or IB Classes
Advanced Placement (AP) classes and International Baccalaureate (IB) classes offer your hardworking, high-achieving high school students the opportunity to earn college credits before graduation from high school. There are numerous advantages. One of the most important benefits: In some cases, these college credits can exempt your students from having to take foundational college courses. Skipping foundational classes can lead to earlier graduation from college — perhaps a semester early or perhaps even an entire year early, depending on how many AP or IB classes your child aces. This can amount to massive tuition savings.
3. Encourage Your Children to Work With Companies That Contribute to College Tuition
Numerous companies, including UPS, Starbucks, Walmart and many others, help to fund their employees’ college tuition. If your children plan to get jobs while they’re still in high school or shortly after graduation, it could be worthwhile for them to seek work with companies that offer this sort of benefit.
4. Keep Track of Available Scholarships
Numerous organizations offer lucrative scholarships that your children can apply for. If they’re able to successfully secure several scholarships, it can really help to defray the costs of schooling.
5. Understand the Opportunities Your Government Makes Available
Many governments make college funding available for students. In the USA, the federal government makes Pell grants, Perkins loans, direct loans, PLUS loans for parents and work-study programs available through the Department of Education.
US citizens who want to study in Australia are often able to secure financial aid because some Australian universities cooperate with the US federal government in federal student loan programs. Student loans are also available for Australian students. Some government funded courses are available for Australian citizens and New Zealand passport holders in specializations where the Australian government has recognized a need for more workers to be added to the Australian economy.
6. Apply for Student Loans as a Last Resort
Student loans are available for most college students, but their big drawback is the need to repay the loans after graduation. Loans can put a huge burden of stress on new graduates, especially if they aren’t able to find good jobs immediately after graduation. It’s wise to try to fund college by using the other strategies listed above; reserve student loans as an absolute last resort if the other options don’t provide all the funds needed for college.
Hopefully your family can use some combination of these 6 ideas to pay for your children’s college educations. Here’s wishing your children much future success with financing their college degrees.