Positively the best way to save money for college is by having scholarships pay for most, if not all of the costs associated with going to college. Higher education costs have been going through the roof and every year, it seems to be getting more expensive.
But, it is still possible to get a four-year degree education without going into debt, or having your parents pay for everything. This doesn’t mean that a student must eat Ramen noodles for the next two years to save money for college, it just means that being prepared is the best thing you can do for your student.
The two things that parents can do to help their children offset these large tuition costs is first and foremost, help prepare their children as they are growing up to study hard and make better grades. Why? Having a higher grade point average allows flexibility in being acceptable for more scholarship monies than if they struggle to graduate high school.
The second thing that most students fail to realize is that by deciding to enter an in-state college versus attending a college of choice can save thousands of dollars in tuition costs alone. There is little difference in the value of education that they may receive from, for instance, Princeton or Yale, versus their in-state university, University of Florida or LSU (Louisiana State University).
Don’t be fooled by many loan institutions about costs and fees and eligibility requirements on getting grants, scholarships and subsidies to go to college. Remember, these institutions are in business to “make money” and could care less about you and what is best for your student.
I promise you there are loads of scholarships available but you have to seek them out because they will not be knocking upon your door. There are the large ones as well as small ones (but every penny counts) and many of these go without anyone ever applying to them.
I would suggest your high school senior start applying for scholarships well in advance of graduating high school. I would think the sooner the better. In many cases, you will secure most of the funding they will need at least for the first year, if not more.
Also another point you want to keep in mind that even after your student is enrolled into college, they can still continue to apply for more scholarship funds while they are in school.
ProTip: Scholarship season is either in September/October or in April/May.
The easiest time to receive merit scholarships is right after you complete the SAT test or even after you enroll into school. Even if your grades were not overly impressive, don’t worry, monies are still available. Once you have been accepted, but haven’t committed, reach out to financial aid, the scholarship office, and every office in between begging for money. In many cases, your student may be awarded funding just because they are persistent and convince the school that they are worth helping.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, so go for it!
Saving money for college is the same as being frugal on all your expenses. If you have taught your children well as youths to know the value of money and how not to waste such a necessary commodity, then they will be fine. They will still need some guidance and your advise on many of the costs they will be tempted into falling for.
Like food, for example. A hungry student can devour huge plates of food as well as large portions of money. The best thing for your student is to find a kitchen where they can cook their own food. Yes the thought of having to cook may sound revolting, but I assure you, the student can save thousands of dollars a year by NOT buying fast food or eating on campus.
Dorms versus off-campus living. It is so convenient for the students being able to live in a dormitory at school. However, they will actually be much better off if they were to find off-campus housing. Why? Here is the other item where you can save thousands of dollars a year by going to school: living expenses. The best deal is if they have several students all living together, to offset expenses. Carpool to school.
The most convenient and cheapest possible arrangement that a student can have is to live at home while attending college. This way they don’t have to pay living arrangements, which will save thousands of dollars each year.
Another idea especially to offset the tuition cost of an university is to consider your student attending a two-year college first. Most college credits will transfer to a university in their state but it is always wise to first check on what will, and what won’t transfer.
The courses that generally are taken are the required courses, like, Math, History and English, etc. These courses are hundreds of dollars cheaper per semester hour at the two-year college verse the four-year university. The quality of subject material studied are the same so why spend more for something that is half price at a local college?
Most students when first entering college may “think” they know what they want to do with their life, but most of them change their minds somewhere in their second to third year of college. To defray the costs of paying for credits that are lost toward their degree can be eliminated entirely by attending a local college first, living at home under your supervision, and working a part-time job to save money for when they will need it most, the last two years of their college.
Ideally your child as well as you have been slowly accumulating money and saving as much money as you can while they are young. By the time college years are upon them they should have a chunk of money already saved, as well as you too. If not, the applying for scholarships will be mandatory, which is something you should still consider even if tuition costs are no big deal for you.
Working part-time to pay for college is a two-fold benefit for the students. First and foremost, the less money that they must borrow in school loans the better off they will be after graduation. The second “untold” secret is how much more prepared they are for acquiring a real job once they graduate. Why? Because employers want students who show tenacity to graduate with a good GPA and also worked part-time to pay for school. This shows maturity and how well the new employee will be able to do the required duties of their job.
I hope you have learned something new about your preparedness for college and how to save money. It isn’t just a dream to go to college without going into debt. It is very possible to graduate, with honors, a degree, and still owe $0 toward college debt. By not attaining debt while they are in school, will greatly increase their potential to live debt-free and to build wealth and start a legacy for their families, and their children.
As Dave Ramsey always says, “You have to live like no one else so that you can live, and give, like no one else.”