One of the most pressing parenting issues of our time is how to make college affordable for our kids. As college classes start backup around the country, one financial expert and author says he’s getting inundated with inquiries from both parents and kids wondering if the rising cost of tuition and the overwhelming student debt that follows to obtain a college degree is really worth it.
Yes, the college experience can be a wonderful opportunity for many, but do the costs of college outweigh the benefits? College tuition should not be a major burden on school students before they even begin working at their first job!
5 Ways to Help Make College Affordable
Steve Siebold, a certified financial educator (CFEd) and author of the book “How Money Works,” the number-one selling financial book of 2020, says in a tough economy like we have now, it’s a valid question worth exploring a little deeper. College costs seems to keep going up, and this touches every socioeconomic level, from low-income families to middle and even relatively high-income families. Family contributions are likely not going to be enough in many instances, putting college access and all that goes with it in jeopardy.
You don’t need an Ivy League college education
In most cases, a potential employer doesn’t really care where you went to school. They ask if you have a degree, but it rarely matters where the degree is from. Attending Harvard and other Ivy League schools can cost as much as $80,000 per year in average tuition. And that’s average cost, so tuition prices are even higher at these private four-year colleges. So, unless you are looking to impress your friends, consider other options, especially community college and online institutions which are much more affordable.
Only borrow the bare minimum
The cost of higher education is enough to make even those with some money reconsider. We’re talking about potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt to blemish your credit score, not to mention 20 or 30 years to pay it off plus all the interest. Only borrow the very minimum you need. You can even look into obtaining private loans, though the terms may not be as favorable.
Can you get a job while you go to school to help pay for your education? What about an academic or athletic scholarship? Are you eligible for other forms of aid you don’t have to repay? Student loans can be a major burden going forward, so all prospective students need to seriously consider this.
Attend an in-state institution
Your tax dollars support state-run public four-year colleges, so if you attend college in the state in which you live, you can get a huge break. Out-of-state students often pay double and even triple what in-state students pay. Not only that, but if you attend school where you live, you can live at home and save money on housing and food. Plus, the academic standards
Work with an expert in college financial aid
There are so many ins and outs of college financial aid programs that most people are unaware of and easily confused by, so it’s important to work with someone who has a thorough understanding of the system. For example, did you know there is more than $150 billion in free money through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid Program (FAFSA)? Between FAFSA federal loans, Pell Grant and other financial aid programs, there is a lot more money available at the state and federal level than you realize that can dramatically reduce the cost of school.
The cost of college could be reduced dramatically with both high academic performance and need-based aid at both private colleges and public universities alike.
Be objective if four-year institutions are right for you
Don’t just go to college because it seems like the thing to do. Sit down and really think about it. If you want to become a doctor or lawyer than absolutely, you need it. But what if you want to be a plumber, electrician or beauty stylist? A less expensive vocational school or even a 2-year community college would be the right choice for you. Or maybe you want to be an entrepreneur, in which case you’re better off investing the money you would spend on college into your business and learning from real people who have made it huge in the real world on their own.
So did this help you at all in making decisions about college? Does it get you thinking about tuition costs in a new light? What level of annual tuition makes sense for you? Do you want to take up a trade, obtain an associate degree from a community college or one of the many four year degrees that are out there? What are you likely career goals? So think about your monthly income and what annual costs that could cover. College affordability and related college prices as well as non-tuition costs, like having to buy an array of college textbooks, are something we all must grapple with in one way or another.
If you’d like to find out more about how to hopefully make college affordable, be sure to check out www.howmoneyworks.com
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