Plan, Prepare, and Save for College

It is never too early to prepare for your child’s college education. As parents of young children, you often don’t think of how fast college approaches. Getting a college education is becoming increasingly expensive and places financial stress on the family. Students as early as freshmen in high school should become familiar with colleges and universities that they might be interested in. Take your child to colleges in the local area to let them get the feel of a college environment. Encourage your child to apply for as many scholarships as possible. There are tons of free scholarships online that are easily accessible. Scholarships are free money that the student earns for academics or sports. When your child applies to different colleges, one factor to look at is the initial academic scholarship offered. Most schools will offer some form of scholarship. One of the grants offered by the government is the Federal Pell Grant through FAFSA which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Recommend your child to have regular meetings with their guidance counselors.

Scholarships and grants don’t have to be paid back unlike loans. Student loans can have very high interest rates and it becomes overwhelming when your child graduates college. The first payment for student loans usually occurs six months after graduation. If student loans are not paid back, it can ruin your child’s credit for a lifetime. Two-thirds of students graduating from American colleges and universities are graduating with some level of debt. The total college debt is reaching over $1 Trillion. Each month set aside a certain amount of money in a bank account just for your child’s education. A 529 Plan is an education savings plan operated by a state or educational institution designed to help families set aside funds for future college costs. Don’t wait until the last minute to decide which college best suits your child. This should be a fun experience and involve both the child and parents.

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