Written by Linda Weems
One of the biggest challenges that families face is how to pay for a college education for a child. The tuition cost of attending college has skyrocketed over the past for decades, and it is expected to continue to rise in the near future. For example, the cost of a private college education in 1980 was $9,882. Nearly twenty-five years later, the cost rose to $26,740. Nearly three times the amount of 1980. If you were thinking of a public college, those costs have increased by four times during the same time frame, from $2,196 to $8,534. In addition to the tuition additional costs such as room and board, meals and other related expenses can tax the finances of many families. Selecting an online college can help reduce some of the costs, however, planning is still important.
Unfortunately, the price of attending college will not go down in the near future. This means that families need to be aware of the cost of college and prepare as early as possible. The best scenario for families is to start planning and saving at an early time frame. Experts recommend starting a college savings program at an early age which will maximize the amount of time you have to save money.
There are many different programs that you can utilize to save for college. They range from unofficial savings that families can do on their own. Even allocating a set amount monthly into a savings account will add up to a nice sum available for college. However, other savings programs such as 529 plans and mutual funds can also be used for college savings. Whichever one you select; the most important thing is that you do set up some type of savings program.
Your student also needs to start planning for college, and again the earlier the better. Teach them the value of money at an early age, and when they become teenagers and get their first job, they will be better able to handle money. This is important when they go off to college and are tempted to spend money at every turn. But, if they are aware of budgeting basics, they can manage the money they earn and spend it wisely.
Everyone can use some help in ensuring that your child has the funds available to pay for college. That’s why we have compiled a number of helpful resources for parents and future college students that can be useful in attaining their degree. Please feel free to review these websites, and feel free to share this article with others who are concerned about how to pay for college. Good luck!
- College Cost Calculator
- Estimate the Cost of College
- College Affordability and Transparency Center
- Future College Cost Estimations
- JumpStart Financial Smarts for Students
- Things Kids Need to Know to Live Financially Smart Lives
- Spending and Saving
- Money Lessons for Life
- Money Management for Teens
- Money Talks
- Financial Literacy for Teens and Their Parents
- Youth and Personal Finance
- Financial Checklists to Prepare for College
- The Best College Programs for Any Budget
- Understanding Taxes for Teenagers and Students
- What is a 529 Plan?
- Paying for College
- Grants and Scholarships
- Other Ways to Pay for College
- The SmartStudent Guide to Financial Aid
- Types of Student Loans
- PBS: College, Inc.
- Stafford Loan Information
- Direct PLUS Loans
- How is Financial Aid Disbursed?
- Financial Aid 101
- Understanding Financial Aid
- Budgeting for College Students