Do you have one or more youngsters who’ll be headed to college within the next few years? If so, you’ve probably already thought of a few financial maneuvers to minimize expenses while helping them get into the school of their choice. Higher education is infamous for being pricey, but there are several effective ways around that dilemma. One is to stick with in-town or state schools to get a major break on tuition. Other parents take the wise step of doing a thorough scholarship search by working with a professional agency. It’s an ironic fact of life that a large amount of scholarship money goes unclaimed every year.
Also, some moms and dads offer to pay a fixed amount of percentage of education expenses and let kids find the rest of the money. For many college-bound youngsters, that means taking a year off after high school to work full time. Online degrees cost a good deal less than traditional courses of study. Additionally, you can do a big favor for your kids by showing them how to create a detailed monthly budget for their college years, complete with categories for entertainment spending, saving, transportation, and clothing. It’s also wise to explore work-study programs at any schools your children plan to attend.
1. Check Out Scholarship Resources
For reasons unknown, far too many ignore the vast financial resources available through scholarships. Maybe it’s because they have an outdated idea about academic-based awards or school-sponsored financial grants. Today’s scholarships are varied and go to thousands of applicants in every subject area. Rarely is academic achievement a central part of the awards criteria. The good news is that anyone can use an online search service to screen for scholarship awards for which they qualify. The smart way to pursue financial opportunities is to apply for as many scholarships as possible.
For persistent applicants, the result can be enough money to cover some or all education-related expenses. Make sure your child works with a reputable search agency online and aims for as many awards as possible. For more in-depth information you can click and see on this site how to get started. The search services make it easy by letting students fill out a general application that can be used for multiple submissions.
2. Go Local
Going local is one of the most powerful financial secrets of all when it comes time for teens to head off to a four-year degree program. That’s because community institutions and state universities offer significant discounts for attendees who live in-state. The two-plus-two system is another way to land major savings. How does two-plus-two work? First, the student spends two years at a community college. After that, it’s time to transfer to an in-state university that accepts all those earned credits. For decades, cost conscious parents and youngsters have used this savvy technique to keep the cost of a diploma as low as possible.
3. Set Conditions on Financial Help
Don’t be afraid to introduce a small dose of tough love into the school financing equation. For most dads and moms, that means setting specific limits on what you can or will contribute toward education-related bills. One popular approach is to split expenses 50-50. Other methods include donating a fixed dollar amount of percentage other than half toward the total expenses. Be clear with your children about why you are opting for the method and let them know well in advance of high school graduation so they can plan accordingly.
4. Encourage an Interim Year of Work
Generations ago, most university attendees took at least one year off after high school to work. The goal was twofold. Not only was it a great way to notch some valuable work experience, but it was also an efficient strategy for saving part of the money to pay for schooling. Discuss the topic with your sons and daughters and let them know whether they can live at home during the work year or whether you’d prefer they move out and pay their own way. The only risk of the year off tactic is that some people get comfortable in a job and decide to delay returning to college indefinitely. If you want to modernize this strategy perhaps your child can make money online while attending class as a part time student, this can help boost income and control college costs to a certain degree.
5. Don’t Ignore 100% Online Degrees
The world is changing quickly and in a good way for college-bound students. The reason is that online degrees are significantly less costly than traditional ones. In fact, youngsters who choose to do all their coursework online can save around 50 percent off the standard cost of a four-year diploma. Online curricula make good sense for other reasons. Kids can live at home if that arrangement works for parents. But online studies can be self-paced, which translates into the chance to graduate in three years instead of four. For ambitious grads, a three-year stint means getting into the workforce that much sooner. In so many ways, computer-based learning is a win-win for moms, dads, and kids.
6. Help Students Create a Monthly Budget
You can give your youngsters a big lift by teaching them basic budgeting skills. The trick is to make a customized budget that they can use throughout their collegiate years. Be sure to work on the project jointly so your daughters and sons can have enough input to make the final product something they can be proud of. Too many teens head to a degree program without a clue about money management. Make sure they know the essentials and feel confident enough to deal with paying bills and regulating their personal spending. If you teach them well, they’ll be able to carry the lesson into their adult, working lives.
7. Explore Work-Study Programs
Most higher education institutions offer work-study programs for incoming freshmen. Many of the opportunities are on a first-come, first-served basis, so be certain to inquire as soon as possible. Be careful to discuss with your children the importance of not letting a work-study job get in the way of earning good grades. It’s usually best to start with 10 hours per week until kids get a feel for how much time they need for homework. If they’re comfortable, consider upping the work hours to no more than 20 per week.