College Education - Ideas to Make It Affordable
It's true that the cost of college education continues to rise each year. However, there are ways to make it more affordable if you plan ahead or are willing to be flexible. Here are a few ideas:
- Involve child in planning: Make education a family goal to strive for. Let your kids understand the cost of college and include them in the steps you are taking to save for it.
- Start young: the key to saving for anything including college is to begin when your child is young - even a baby. Saving just a small amount over a period of time will add up, thanks to compounding interest.
- Take advantage of tax-advantaged savings vehicles: check into 529 plans, which make the most of your savings with tax free growth
- Encourage good grades: your kids may be able to help fund their education by simply doing their best in school and earning scholarship money.
- Consider community colleges: Local colleges are often much less expensive that four year universities. Consider starting off at a community college and transferring later to a four-year college. Or, take summer courses there. Just make sure your credits will be transferable to the university.
- Take advantage of CLEP: students can "test out" of some first and second year courses by demonstrating achievement through the College Level Exam Program. CLEP gives you credit for the course as if you took it, freeing up your money and time for another course.
- In-state residency: many universities provide discounted tuition for students who have lived in the state for at least 12 months prior to starting school. That can be a good option for reducing tuition costs while also giving your child an extra year to save additional money for school.
- Financial aid: Apply early - even if you don't think you will qualify. You may. Many private sector scholarships and grants won't even consider awarding students until they've gone through that process.