You don't have to dread college tuition...if you know some HUGE college savings tricks!
You don't have to mortgage your home to help your kids pay for college...and I HIGHLY recommend that you DON'T!
Now don't get me wrong, I believe that us parents should help our kids pay for college...if we can afford to...and within REASON.
But shouldn't kids be putting up some of their own money too?
It worries me when I see parents risking everything for "Susie" to go to Harvard.
Your child is not born with the inalienable right to attend college with you footing the entire bill!
It takes A LOT of money to pay for college. But there are college savings tricks...if you do your homework!
I expect my own 4 kids to pay half of their college education by working hard for scholarships, work study programs, working at a job, and through saving.
Another piece of advice that I got from my experienced sister-in-law for college savings (she has 3 college graduates), is to only pay for classes with a "C" grade or better. No sense paying for "F's"!
Also, if your kids are paying for a portion of their tuition with their own money, they'll be much more motivated and less likely to "party" their money away! And I'm speaking from experience!
I have another sister-in-law originally from Sri Lanka. They have a unique custom. The parents pay for the first child's tuition...then that child pays for the next sibling's tuition...then the next...and so on. It's truly a family effort to pay for college.
When I suggested this to my own kids...my oldest daughter, Rachel complained..."But Maria would get away with paying NOTHING!" Good point. But it's an interesting idea, isn't it?!
1) Take advanced placement courses in high school for college credit
While still in high school, your kids can take advanced placement courses. The fees on these tests are nominal, and students can knock off as much as an entire year off their required course load at the college level.
At current rates, that's a college savings of about $8,500 at the average public university...and about three times that at a private school!
I received an entire semester of credit for advanced placement in Spanish...comprendes?
2) College Classes in High School
This option saves your kids BIG money...at little or no additional expense!
Talk with the school counselor to see if this is an option. Here are a few websites with more information:
www.houghton.k12.mi.us/highschool/hsstudent-hand-book.trm #Dual Enrollment
3) Choose a college that is a “best buy” in your area of interest
Personally, I believe that private, expensive colleges are an unnecessary expense. If your child takes challenging honors and advanced placement courses in high school, there are plenty of excellent public universities to choose from.
America’s 100 Best College Buys lists universities around the country that have above-average academic programs and below-average costs. That means below averave tuition for above average education! And college savings to put in your pocket!
Works for me!
4) Take courses at a local community college for one year to save on tuition
Another major way to keep costs down is to take one or two year’s worth of credits at a local community college, but still getting the degree from the college of your choice.
Find out from the admissions counselor of the college of your choice on which courses they will accept for transfer and take these lower cost general courses at the community college.
I did this when I was attending college and saved thousands of dollars in tuition.
5) Buy used books if available or FREE online E-books
Books are a major part of tuition costs. Always buy used books if available to cut costs in half. Or even better, some universities are starting to offer FREE online E-books.
This is a great idea that is slowly becoming more popular.
6) Apply for as many sports, academic, and civic grants and scholarships that you feel qualified for to save thousands in tuition
A partial sports scholarship can save thousands of dollars a year in tuition.
Academically, a B+ high school average with 1200 SAT scores can earn very generous college-specific, merit-based awards at a college in the 75th percentile.
Often overlooked is that exceptional community service can also help you achieve financial awards.
Eagle scouts, for example, are eligible for free admission to U.S. military academies, as long as they meet minimum academic standards.
7) Don’t forget any religious or governmental grants and scholarships such as Knights of Columbus or ROTC
There are also grants through religious organizations, such as the Knights of Columbus and ROTC offers scholarships in exchange for service in the corps after graduation.
8) Enroll in work-study or co-op programs
There are currently over 300 universities with large co-op programs. Some of these include American University in Washington, DC, Drexel University in Philadelphia, Georgia Institute of Technology, Purdue University in Cincinnati, Northwest University in Boston, and University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.
My husband was a part of the co-op program at the University of St. Thomas and saved thousands in tuition.
This is also an excellent way to gain valuable work experience in their chosen field. The employer my husband worked for, 3M, hired him on permanently after graduation.
9)Get low rate loans from the government
Lastly, you can always take advantage of low-rate, tax-advantage loans to help finance the college bill.
The federal government Perkins Loans program offers undergraduate students loans of up to $3,000 a year.
P.L.U.S. loans are government-sponsored loans to parents of undergraduate students. Theses loans are based strictly on the family’s credit rating, and you can borrow up to the cost of attendance (tuition, room and board, fees and books) minus financial aid.
10)Live at home for free while attending college
It may not seem glamourous...but you can save THOUSANDS!
Ready? The biggest college savings tip is to have your kids buy a home near their college and pay the mortgage with renters.
You may think this is out of reach for your kids...but stay with me. It's by far the BIGGEST college savings available to your kids.
Your kids will most likely have some sort of part time job while attending college. With his income and your co-signature, he will most likely qualify for a mortgage.
The key to this working is to find a home that you can reasonable rent out to pay the mortgage and taxes payment. Be sure to work with a reputable, knowledgeable realtor who has your best interest in mind.
If your student buys a house while in college, (like I did) she'll practically live rent free! Best of all, there will be tax savings and the house can be sold after graduation at a profit.
My dad co-signed on a home that I bought near the college I attended.
I paid for over half of my tuition...and didn't pay rent for three years!
I plan on taking advantage of this college savings for my own kids...in only 2 years. I highly recommend you do the same for your own kids!