We have talked about money and how to pay for college any number of times, but we thought we would try to pull it all together in this episode. Here are your notes for the episode (but you should tune in to get the full explanation for each of these 17 tips:
- Have the “money talk” with your child–what you can afford, what you are willing to pay, and what your child might need to do to contribute.
- Related episode: Having the Money Talk
- Use a 529 college savings plan to put money aside (the sooner, the better).
- Related episode: The Best College Savings Plan You Aren’t Using
- Start the college search early so you can save time and money by eliminating colleges that aren’t a good fit for your child.
- Don’t rely on guidance counselors to help you save (e.g., getting application fee waivers); do your own homework.
- Related episode: Why Guidance Counselors Are Not Enough
- Limit your search to public colleges in your own state.
- Consider public colleges outside your own state.
- Related episode: Why Look At Colleges Outside Your Comfort Zone
- Ask about eligibility for cost-savings and scholarship programs at colleges you are considering.
- Apply for scholarships (don’t forget FastWeb, a site for customized searches).
- Find out about any regional exchanges your state belongs to (e.g., Western Undergraduate Exchange), which offer tuition discounts to residents of member states.
- Find colleges where credit overloads are free (for example, you pay for 15 credits per semester, but get to take additional courses at no cost).
- Find colleges that will lock in tuition on the first day of your child’s freshman year or will guarantee course availability so that your child can meet all requirements within four years of study or will pay all tuition costs for the final semester if your child has gone straight through and finished on time.
- Convince your child to attend the most selective college that accepts him or her (because your child is more likely to graduate on time and save unnecessary tuition costs).
- Consider one of seven “federal work colleges,” which find jobs for students for students to work at on campus or in the nearby community in return for a tuition credit.
- Consider cooperative education programs, which mix semesters of paid work and college study in effective ways.
- Consider studying abroad, where prices aren’t as high as you think.
- Make sure your child stays on schedule and graduates on time in four years (not six).
- Fill out all paperwork completely and on time, including that pesky FAFSA (get outside help if you need to, because that will be money well spent).
Check out these resources mentioned in this episode…
- College Navigator
- FAFSA on the Web
- National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators State & Regional College Tuition Discounts
- Pell Abacus
- Work Colleges Consortium
Ask your questions or share your feedback by…
- Leaving a comment below on the show notes for this episode
- Calling us at (516) 900-6922 to record a question on our USACollegeChat voicemail if you want us to answer your question live on our podcast
Connect with us through…
- Subscribing to our podcast on Google Play Music, iTunes, Stitcher, or TuneIn
- Liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter
- Reviewing parent materials we have available at www.policystudies.org
- Inquiring about our consulting services if you need individualized help
- Reading Regina’s new blog, Parent Chat with Regina, or checking out our book, How To Find the Right College, which is now available for sale as a Kindle ebook or as a paperback workbook