College costs money, and lots of it. Many schools cost over $50,000 a year. You wonder how you’ll afford it.
The best way to pay for college is to know all your funding options. No matter how old your kids are, start saving now. Over time, even modest savings can pack a punch. Investing as little as $200 a month for 18 years could yield $100,000.
Talk with financial professionals to understand college funding strategies. Here are some ideas you should know about:
A 529 is an education savings plan that offers you attractive tax advantages. Your investments grow tax deferred and withdrawals are tax free when used to pay for college expenses.
Financial aid: Always fill out the free Application for Student Federal Aid form. Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify, you may be pleasantly surprised.
Loans: There are government backed, low interest loan programs that many parents use to defer tuition costs.
National grants: Options include Pell Grants, Academic Competitiveness Grants, and National Smart Grants. Your child’s guidance counselor can help you find others.
Increase your odds. Make sure your child applies to several schools. The more places they’re accepted, the better chance you’ll have of receiving financial aid.
Service in exchange for tuition: AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, National Health Services Corps, and ROTC programs offer college money in exchange for a service commitment after graduation.
Live at home: Don’t rule out starting at a low-cost community college, then transferring to a four-year college for the final two years. This way you can save money on tuition and room and board.
College education is expensive, but it’s one of the best investments you can make in your child’s future success. College graduates earn 84% more in their lifetime than those who don’t go to college.
Start saving now so you can put your children on the right road to success.