College students spend lots of cash on tuition fees and other related costs – housing, books – and as the pandemic happened and caused a shift in focus, most people restarted the debate on the value of a degree. Most learners incur massive student loans that they end up paying for years, and this burden makes some start looking at alternative ways to earn tuition fees.
We put together tips that could help you avoid that burdensome student loan.
How To Create a College Budget
While some have been open to hosting a small local event to ask their peers to donate towards their fees, other parents are starting to plan early enough, so they are caught off-guard. Budgets are a great place to begin if you have a kid. “You don’t want to wait until they are too far into high school to begin planning for university,” advises Jackie May, a career advisor who also works as a writer for papersowl.com. “Get started while they are still young, and thankfully, these days, we have online resources such as College Savings Planner and College Planning Calculator, both customized to include all the parameters you need to calculate all your child’s schooling needs,” she continues.
These calculators show you the cost of learning, your contribution, how much is left uncovered, the potential for grants and scholarships, and you get reminders to save some cash.
How Families Can Save For College
There are various ways you can achieve this.
Option 1: Education Savings Account
This takes intentionality as it is easy to skip savings payments since the money will only be needed in the future. One could join a college group or college club with like-minded parents to pool resources towards school that will then be invested safely to earn some interest. If you remind yourself to treat the fund as a mortgage payment that needs to be settled each month or whatever period you decide, you become committed to the cause.
Option 2: 529 Plan
This pre-paid method of paying off future expenditures is one of the best methods one can use as withdrawals are tax-free if used towards school. They support funding for learning from kindergarten through graduate school, and each of the 50 states has its rule governing their running.
Option 3: UGMA & UTMA Custodial Accounts
These custodial accounts allow a parent or guardian to save and transfer assets to a minor without establishing a trust. They can then hand things over when said minor reaches adulthood as per their state.
By the time this happens, it helps for the minor to have learned how to start investing as a college student through the various available vehicles such as stocks and bonds. Thanks to the open learning spaces that offer you options like Stash, Wealthfront, Acorns, and Fidelity investment apps, among others, you can now learn as a student and invest your gains from the custodial accounts once you are ready to receive it.
Families Are Covering One-Quarter of College Costs with Scholarships and Grants
Financial aid has enabled studies for disadvantaged learners for a long time, but it helps to jump on it as early as possible.
How to Find College Scholarships
Some helpful resources designed to help one search for funds include the Sallie Mae search tool that lines up all the parameters for available funding in your area that would suit you. You will need to create a profile that will enable the search tool to match you to the best options depending on your skills and interests. You can also search the web regularly for scholarships available in your country of preferred study location.
How to Apply for Grants
They are primarily need-based, and you will need to go through some stages to qualify. If you do, these are the steps for application:
Step 1: Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to show which grants you qualify for and for colleges to know how much you might be getting.
Step 2: Include all the information required and submit the form by October 1.
Step 3: Review the application results sent to your email address that outline the amount granted, including work-study.
Families Typically Only Rely on Other Relatives and Friends to Cover 2% of College Costs
If all means utilized still do not cover the fees fully, family members could hold a college fundraiser to meet the difference. One can get donations through a GoFundMe account or even come up with social media event ideas where friends and family pledge some cash to the cause.
Other Ways to Pay for College: Work-Study
If fundraising ideas are not your cup of tea, you may want to give working while schooling a shot. This federal program determines the number of hours you can work so as not to affect your studies, and the money you earn while working will go towards expenses. It is an excellent way to set the pace for yourself by getting ready for life after school while also paying off some of your costs.
A Non-Work-Study Job
You can still secure a job outside the fed program if you do not qualify, and you could get opportunities in the Gig Economy to earn online or offline. While at it, remember not to overwork yourself as your primary target is school.
The sooner parents and guardians begin planning for their children’s schooling, the easier they make it on themselves and their offspring when university starts. If that fails, donations from the people in your community may help to raise money for college. Working through school is yet another option if funding from the feds and fundraising ideas are insufficient.
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