Managing Finances

5 Tips for Making College Affordable

The pressure on parents and their children alike to choose the right college is as fervent as ever before. The competition has turned global and it’s imperative to make sure you’re ready to make the right decision. Subsequently, the costs of tuition have skyrocketed. In an uncertain economy it’s crucial you are prepared for the impending expenses associated with your child’s higher education in this country. Here a few ways you can be prepared:

1. Start planning now. The earlier you and your child begin the college search, the easier it will be to figure out expenses. Applying by junior year in high school allows families to take advantage of countless financial aid opportunities. If the search isn’t started until the last minute then the chances are that most grants and similar avenues of financial support will be gone. Engaging your child in the effort will make them aware of the huge undertaking that comprises this process.

2. Turn to the Feds. Federal student aid is available only by filling out a FAFSA. This is the only way you can tap in U.S. government loans, grants and scholarship money. The sooner the forms are completed, the better your chances are for receiving the crucial financial aid you need.

3. Check your employer for benefits. Many companies now offer assistance for their employees’ children’s college tuition costs. This is as simple as checking with your Human Resources office. Many corporate companies offer scholarships such as Pepsi and McDonalds. Take advantage of any available dollars out there. These are often ultra-competitive but are definitely worth looking into; you just never know how impressive your child may be.

4. Don’t be afraid to reveal your heritage. There are many financial opportunities around the world for people of distinct religious or ethnic backgrounds. There are many Web sites available that can help you sift through the different scholarships available. Many of these sites will allow you to simply fill out a survey of your child’s background and do the searches for you.

5. Let your community assist in the effort. Your local Rotary Club, American Legion Posts and Boosters foundations have specific funds set aside to help local students make college affordable. The big national scholarship funds are highly competitive, whereas the local opportunities are often disregarded. Your child’s guidance office will be able to work together a list to help find out what your community has available.

The pressure on parents and their children alike to choose the right college is as fervent as ever before. The competition has turned global and it’s imperative to make sure you’re ready to make the right decision. Subsequently, the costs of tuition have skyrocketed. In an uncertain economy it’s crucial you are prepared for the impending expenses associated with your child’s higher education in this country. Here a few ways you can be prepared:

Susan Jacobs is a freelance writer as well as a regular contributor for CollegeDegree.com, a site helping students select an online college degree. Susan invites your questions, comments and freelancing job inquiries at her email address: [email protected]

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