How To Save on Further Education
By: Stacy Bush
“You’re off to great places. Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting. So, get on your way.” - Dr. Seuss
It was just yesterday you dropped your child off at kindergarten and now he/she has graduated high school. Where did the time go? In the years you spent nurturing, guiding, and raising your child, did you save money for their most expensive milestone – further education?
If not, or not as much as you would have liked to, you are not alone. In 2018*, only 56 percent of American parents were saving for their child’s further education. There is hope! Where there is a will, there is a way!
Check out these tips to help you and/or your graduate pay for further education:
Take college courses while in high school. Check with your high school counselor for availability.
Perform well on ACT or SAT. Didn’t do as well as you wanted? You can take the ACT and SAT multiple times. Increasing your score by just a few points can help with additional funds for school.
Fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid). This is a form completed by current and prospective college students to determine eligibility for student financial aid such as federal grants, federal student loans and work study programs. To learn more, visit the FAFSA website. Remember to keep a copy and fill out the FAFSA yearly.
Apply for scholarships. Schedule time on your calendar to search and apply for scholarships. Every year, students leave billions of dollars in grants and scholarships unclaimed. In 2015, that number was reported at nearly $3 billion.
Start at an affordable school. Your first two years are primarily prerequisites. Get these knocked out through your local community college and then transfer after two years.
Compare tuition costs across the different types of colleges/universities. The cost between a private, public in-state, public out-of-state, and community college can be staggering. Check out this tuition comparison chart.
Attend a trade school. The world will always need individuals with a specialized trade. Incomes are comparable in trade careers as those careers requiring a college degree without the additional cost of four years of college.
Choose a practical college major. Pick a major that is in demand. Seen any job ads lately for underwater basket weavers or koala psychologists?
Finish school in four years. Going off to college is supposed to be fun but the longer you take to complete your degree, the more expensive it becomes. Get there and get it done.
Work part-time during high school/college. Work as little as 10-20 hours a week to earn cash. Delivering pizzas part-time can add up to $600 a month plus tips that can be used towards tuition, books, and expenses.
Ask about cash/pay-in-full discounts for tuition. If you are an individual who or whose parents saved for your college, ask for the cash/pay-in-full option.
Serve your country. Military service can make your education goals a reality. The Armed Forces tuition assistance is a powerful incentive for those serving in the armed forces to pursue their education. Military on-the-job experience may translate into college credit as well.
If time is still in your favor, start a college savings account now. A college savings account is an account you can deposit money into to be drawn on later when it’s time to pay for tuition, textbooks, housing, or any other eligible expenses that come with higher education. Click here for college savings account options and make the best decision for you and your family.
If you have worked through these tips and are still in need of money for college, your credit union can help with our partnership with LendKey. For more information or to apply for a Private Student Loan, click here.
Best of luck parents and students!