If you have already talked to financial planners about how you’re going to pay for your child’s college costs they have probably told you about all of the programs that you should look into. Stafford loans of course as well as 529s, Coverdell savings accounts, home equity loans and savings bonds.
The problem? Oftentimes this advice, while well-meaning, is timed badly for your specific situation or doesn’t fit the time frame that you have. Even worse, some of them require that you obtain even more debt, something that you probably aren’t keen on doing. With that in mind we have put together a Blog about cutting costs and avoiding borrowing money for college. It’s quality education and free too. Enjoy!
Tip 1) Don’t look at just the base tuition cost but ALL the costs. Even if the tuition is ‘out of your price range’ there may be other factors that make it affordable. Comparing just the base price isn’t a good idea because of all the many variables so check those out as well. There are, to be sure, a lot of options but this is an important task if you want to find out which school is really the most economical for your needs.
Tip 2) Get your kid an apartment off campus. This, as worried as you might be that Junior will be partying all night long every night, is one of the biggest cost savers on this list. (And trust us, if your son or daughter is going to party they will do it whether they live on or off campus.) The fact is, the cost to live on campus has risen 65% in the last 10 years while the cost to rent an apartment or even a house has stayed relatively stable. Usually this opens up the opportunity to save about 40% on housing, which can total thousands over 4 years of college.
Tip 3) Let the kid take a year (or 2) to study abroad. It may sound like a ludicrous idea but, with the cost to get an education in the US so high (and getting higher) even all the transportation costs and travel expenses accrued in another country won’t be as high as the typical year of school her at home.
Tip 4) Have unused loan money? Do NOT use it for anything but instead return it. Loans, no matter what they are for, add to a person’s debt. Lower that debt by giving back unused money.
Tip 5) Make sure that, when you’re filling out all the paperwork for college loans, you use extra caution, double check your work and double check your figures. One of the biggest causes of delays in student loans is simply that the person filling out the paperwork filled in the social security number wrong. Oops.
Tip 6) Let your child get a part-time job but don’t let it become their focus. This can help pay the bills (and give them spending money, which means you have to give them less spending money) but it shouldn’t come at the expense of studying and getting their degree, which is why they are there in the 1st place.
And there you have them. Class dismissed.