Parent Concerns in the College Application Process: Affording College

Financing the Dream

College is an investment in your child’s future. Your son or daughter has narrowed down the schools to attend, decided or not on their major, in the process of applying for colleges, signed up for college tours and spent countless hours prepping for the college admission tests. As inflation increases you may start to feel your pocketbook gripping back. Unless you've created a nest egg for your child's education, now is the time to take advantage of all the resources available for funding your child's education.

Parents consider the overall cost of the college based on the following:

·         In-state or out-of-state resident – (In-state tuition is less expensive)

·         Public or private college or university – (Public schools are cheaper, yet private schools have larger endowments and disperse larger scholarships and grants to their student’s)

·         Tuition, housing, meal plan, student health insurance

·         Books, special lab and course fees and other course supplies

If you find your finances are in a crunch, your child’s future doesn’t have to be.

1.      Budget – Outline your monthly expenses and income to determine expenses you can cut back to allocate a set amount of money to contribute to your child’s tuition.

2.      Start a College Fund – Pinch your coins together early. Some states offer 529 Plans, a tax-free savings plan for money spent on higher education.

3.      Host Fundraisers – Together you and your student brainstorm a list of fundraising ideas and select the most feasibly ones to execute with the greatest return to generate support from your local community.

4.      Scholarships and Grants = FREE Money! – Make sure your student is taking FULL advantage of any scholarship and grant opportunities available to them through their prospective schools and local communities. No amount is ever too small!

5.      Payment Plan – Ask your student’s financial aid office about their payment plan options; there you can effectively coordinate your student’s expenses into your monthly budget.

6.      Student Loans – Get an upfront advance from private or federal institutions to help you pay for your student’s tuition. Thoroughly research the different types of loans and their interest rate and deferment schedule to determine which is more fitting to your financial means.

7.      Financial Aid Appeal - In the case of financial hardships, you may be required to submit a "Parental hardship letter" to explain your mitigating circumstances. It's worth a try.

Parents be realistic as to what you can afford. Every parent wants his or her child to obtain a quality education. Finishing up with college costs/expenses kept within your budget is a win-win situation for both parent and college graduate.