(StatePoint) The fall kickoff is opening the financial path to college for parents of high schoolers. But if you’re like the majority of parents, you both appreciate the importance of a college degree, while also being anxious about the price.
In a recent College Ave student loan parent survey conducted by Barnes & Noble Insights, 81% of parents agree that earning a college degree is crucial to their child’s future. At the same time, most parents surveyed agree that the cost of college education is more of a financial burden than in previous years, the cost is surprisingly high, and it is difficult to determine financial aid options.
As you begin to make your financial plans, consider these tips:
Build a smart list of universities:
Encourage your child to apply to a mix of private and public schools, as sometimes merit aid from private universities can make costs comparable to public options. By applying to a variety of schools, you can compare financial aid programs and identify a school that is not only a good academic and social fit, but also a good financial fit.
Apply for financial assistance:
Create a spreadsheet listing deadlines and financial aid requirements, which vary by school and state. You can check with your school’s financial aid office to find out what documents are needed.
The FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid opened on October 1 for the 2023-24 academic year. Complete the FAFSA this fall and each year your child attends college. This is the key to unlocking scholarships, grants, work-study programs and federal student loans. It’s also the date you can start filing the CSS Profile, an online application that nearly 400 colleges, universities, vocational schools and scholarship programs use to award more than $9 billion in financial aid annually. .
Look for scholarships:
Ask your college-bound student to research and apply for reputable scholarships. Be sure to read the fine print to understand the terms. The College Ave Student Loans monthly $1,000 scholarship contest is easy to apply for.1
Review your finances:
The overwhelming majority of parents (92%) plan to help pay for their child’s college education, according to the College Ave. Of these, 61% plan to dip into their income and savings to do so. This fall, take the time to review your financial resources to determine how much you can contribute without sacrificing your retirement goals. You may need to get creative. For example, 21% of parents surveyed find additional income in a secondary activity.
Prepare your student:
Many students learn their first money management lessons in college. Give your child the financial know-how to get started. Discuss how to create and stick to a budget, set up an emergency savings account, and avoid peer pressure when it comes to spending. For example, just because a friend dines out or travels frequently doesn’t mean your child should do the same. Also discuss how they can contribute to their education costs. Creating financial goals now will help your child succeed financially.
As you navigate the financial road to college, stay informed by referring to free financial tips, resources, guides, and expert advice available at collegeavestudentloans.com/blog.
Tuition fees can surprise many families. Don’t be caught off guard. To prepare yourself financially, use the coming year to explore all of your financing options and formulate a plan.