What do parents need to know about the cost of college?
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Everyone knows that the cost of attending college is on the rise. But, most parents of students don’t know that there are plenty of ways to cover the price of tuition, texts, fees, room, board, and the countless other expenses that go with the territory. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to find all the cash your daughter or son will need to complete a four-year degree. But the fact that there are several reliable financial resources should give every mother and father at least a small dose of peace of mind.
How can your children pay for college? Whether you intend to help them or not, there’s a high probability that a student loan will be involved in the arrangement. In addition to loans, there are scholarships, grants, work-study programs, savings, and low-cost community college options. The following details explain which ones might work best for you and your child.
Paying for the degree
Most adults know that it’s possible to cover educational expenses with student loans. But what many don’t know is that even part-time attendees have access to loans. Applications can be made online in a matter of minutes, no matter how much you want to borrow. There are Earnest half-time student loans are specially designed for students who want to take less than a full load of courses. Whether your child chooses part-time, full-time, or accelerated programs for a degree, it’s important to understand that loans come in all shapes and sizes, and the application process has never been simpler. Try to make a reasonable estimate of total costs so you can fill out apps more accurately.
Scholarships, grants, and work-study
If there’s a trick for snagging scholarships and grant money, it is to apply early. Another helpful guideline is to work with an experienced counselor or online platform to identify all the grants and other opportunities for which your daughter or son qualifies. This is one of the things you can do before sending your kids to college, so they know how to prepare and apply. Be careful with work-study arrangements because some can veer into the 20-hours-per-week range and have the potential to interfere with studying. If work-study is something your child is interested in, look for ones that limit hours to 10 per week.
Start with community college
The pros of opting for community college are the lower total cost, a wide selection of subjects, and a two-year time span for students to decide on a major. There’s also the benefit of having two full years to decide which four-year university or college to attend, which is a nice luxury for anyone who is unsure of their career path.
Use savings and funds
Many working adults maintain college funds for their offspring but seldom do these accounts cover the entire cost of schooling. However, what kids save from part-time work and what mom and dad stash into a tax-advantaged education fund can offset at least some of the total financial obligation of a four-year degree. The trick is to use all the resources available instead of relying on just one. That’s why it’s so critical to explore scholarships and grants, loans, savings, work-study, and any other potential resources. When the time comes to pay for school, most families utilize at least three separate resources, and savings accounts are usually one of them.