Bethany went back to school this semester but about 15% of her classmates did not. It's the new phenomenon in my kids colleges (did I mention I have THREE in college at once?) Students are coming back home because parents cannot afford to keep them there. Many parents who relied on refinancing of their home mortgages or HELOCs (Home Equity Lines of Credit) are finding that they are upsidedown in their mortgages and there's no room to spare. Here are some ideas that will help you send those kids to college:
- Teach children a strong work ethic early. The discipline will help prepare them for competitive college admission and scholarships.
- Double dip. Encourage high school students to take classes that count as college credit, such as Advanced Placement – or investigate Dual Enrollment classes.
- Open a 529 plan. Parents can start saving now through a 529 education plan and reap tax benefits.
- Earn free money. Find organizations like Upromise that reward you with money for college each time you buy products and services from participating companies. Membership is free at Upromise.com and you can receive money into a college savings account on nearly everything you buy, so be sure to check their website before making purchases. Also find free contests to enter like Tuition Tales that offer money for higher education expenses.
- Buy a prepaid tuition plan. Many states or educational institutions allow parents to pay tomorrow’s tuition expenses at today’s prices.
- Start higher education at a community college first. Community colleges can save you thousands of dollars. Students can attend two years and transfer to a university to complete their education.
- Check employer benefits. A Society for Human Resource Management study estimates that 67 percent of employers offer financial assistance to employees seeking an undergraduate degree.
- Check college’s Financial Aid Office. They offer information on available loans and grants.
- Apply for scholarships. Millions of scholarship dollars go unclaimed every year. SallieMae has over 1.9 million scholarships totally 16 billion dollars! Have students apply for local scholarships, too. See your high school counselor for help.
- Minimize student loans. Adopt the philosophy that you’ll send your child to the best school they can get accepted into that you can afford.
For more detailed information, write to firstname.lastname@example.org and put "College Crunches" in the subject line, we'll send you a file that could help make the difference between 30 years of student loan debt or a debt free college experience!
America's Family Financial Expert (R)