Saving Money on Your Child’s College Education

Saving Money on Your Child_s College Education

Our oldest son is in 8th grade and it is hard to believe that he will be attending college soon. Or, he wants to go into the military and then to college but we'll see what actually happens. Either way, we will be encouraging him to pursue an advanced degree or becoming an entrepreneur for his career path.

As we have looked at the cost of college, it's quite alarming. Selfishly, I want him to go to a public university. I mean, tuition and books can seriously cost an arm, a leg, and sometimes even a second mortgage with a public school. Looking back, I'm so thankful I had a scholarship and took advantage of my company's tuition reimbursement program!

So, what happens when your child selects a school that is quite expensive and something that you haven't prepared to pay for? This post isn't geared towards the discussion of who is paying for school (your child or you, as a parent). This post is truly meant to focus on how you can save money on your child's college education regardless of who is writing the check.

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Adjusting Your Child's Expectations

It's important to adjust your child's expectations of their college experience. They will need to focus on maintaining their grades while keeping a part time job and learning how to manage their money efficiently. I want my child to learn how to manage his money and adjust to reality. Having some sort of job and managing his finances is an important life skill I hope he will learn before going to college since he will be on his own when he gets there.

Help your kids understand the benefits to attending a community college the first few years of school. The expenses are substantially less and they can even stay at home for those few years. I don't want to take away from the whole college experience but getting your teen to see the big picture after college is important to impress this point. It may take a mature child to realize the true benefit of this one.

Raise Money for College Tuition

Try these money saving strategies that will help raise money for your child's tuition without giving a dime to lenders:

Encourage your child to get a job. I held a job during all of my college career. Actually, I worked as an intern while finishing my Associate's degree and then the company hired me full time. By that time, I was ready to complete my Bachelor's degree and was able to take advantage of the company's tuition reimbursement program.

If working during school isn't a feasible option, many college students have a summer and winter break that allows them to get a job. If your child works full time for two months of their summer, they can add an extra $2,880 to their yearly earnings. This amounts to a total of $7,740 per year that can be applied toward their college expenses. And they even score a full month of vacation time!

Ask for donations. Feel free to pass the link of your child's profile to your friends and extended family, as this is likely where most of your contributions will come from. Ask for donations in lieu of birthday and graduation gifts.

We also have a Upromise credit card which allows us to receive a credit with every purchase that goes to a 529 plan. Your family members can also get a Upromise credit card and apply the rewards to a designated 529 plan (hopefully your child's :).

Have your child apply for scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and other financial aid. Visiting the college's financial aid office can result in a treasure trove of financial aid for your student! Seek out every option available.

Since my father was a 100% disabled veteran, there were scholarships available just for me. It was sort of like the GI bill but for family members of disabled veterans (they had to be 100% disabled). This wasn't something my family knew about until we talked to the guidance counselor.

Start College in High School

See if your child can start taking college classes while they are still in high school. Many states offer this and it's a great way to get pre-requisite classes out of the way so they can focus on the classes for their major when they officially start college. I knew of people who was graduating high school and college with an Associate's degree. That is a huge chunk of savings so definitely explore it!

When combining these frugal tips you can save thousands of dollars on your child's college education. You both win – your child gets to go to college and learn some responsibility and you don't need to worry about paying for it all!

Do you have other ways to save money on college?
Please leave a comment and share!

Find MORE College Savings Ideas HERE

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by Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on May 10, 2013

1 Comment

  • peterpan92 - June 13, 2013 @ 10:51 pm

    It wouldn’t hurt to let your son check out private schools as well. They have a lot of scholarships and grants available from alumni donors. I went to a private university that cost 4x what my sister’s state college cost but ended up graduating with a lot less debt because I got a lot more scholarships…..we were both honor role students but I was at a much smaller school with more available money.

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