In the U.S., a college education is one of the leading causes of debt in young adults today. If your child is entering higher education soon, you should plan for it properly.
Getting ready for college is one of the many services that many financial planning companies in West Jordan and other places offer. With the growing student debt crisis weighing down on millions of young Americans today, don’t let yourself or your child get burdened by the debt, too.
Along with the help of a financial planning company, here are some ways to prepare for college:
1. Start a college fund early
In many middle-class households today, parents start college funds for their children as early as they can so that they will be able to pay for the tuition fees when the time comes. Ideally, a college fund should be started when the child enters first grade, so there will be ample time to save. But if you had to dip into the college fund due to an emergency or don’t have one at all, you can still build your fund at least a few years before the child starts college.
2. Look into grants and scholarships
Good grades matter, especially when looking for grants or scholarships that will help pay for college. If your child is about to start college or university, look for grants and scholarships that you can apply for. Consider applying for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and other federal or local assistance programs. Having good grades is an advantage when applying for scholarships, but not always a necessity.
3. Apply early
If your child qualifies for a school’s scholarship program, have them apply as early as they can. Most schools require candidates to apply while they’re still in high school, so being an early bird will increase your chances of getting accepted. Before junior year rolls around, take the time to browse through colleges with your child to find the best school and program.
4. Borrow carefully
If your savings, current income, and grants aren’t enough to pay for your child’s tuition, start looking for student loans that can help you. However, student loans can take a lifetime to pay off, so make sure your child knows what type of loan to choose so they aren’t burdened with the debt for too long. Prioritize government-subsidized student loans and other programs that don’t have an exceedingly high interest. If that doesn’t work out, you can consider looking into private lenders.
5. Involve your kids
Your kids play a significant role in being able to afford their higher education. While they’re still in high school, encourage them to make good grades, join extra-curricular activities, and score high on their ACT or SATs. These factors will get them a better chance of gaining a grant or a scholarship. If possible, let them take up a job that will help them save for college, too.
If these tips might not be enough to help pay for college. If necessary, consider letting your child take a gap year until you are financially ready to send them to college. In this gap year, they can take up a full-time job, apply to more colleges, and help save money for tuition.