Sunday, January 27, 2013

Parents guide to paying for college

Now that your child got accepted to college, you have to begin to plan to pay for it. There is a lot of financial aid available, as well as other money sources out there for college. You will need to look at all options after studying your child's financial aid award.

Look at the financial aid letter very carefully, especially if your child applied to multiple colleges. The letter will spell out where all the aid is coming from, from grants to your pocket. There may even be an itemized list of what the bottom line for school costs are, like room and board. If it does not, you must factor that all in. Beware of the hidden costs of college. The bottom line is the total out of pocket expenses you will on the hook for. One college may be more expensive, but gives more financial aid, making it less costly for you. Others may me cheaper, but don't give as much financial aid, making more money come from your pocket. If you have financial hardships, write the financial aid office explaining this.

You will also need to dissect your family's financial situation. How much can you afford to pay? How much can the student pay? Remember, college will last 4 years, not just this one. Your child may need to work to pay for some of the college expenses.

Do a good scholarship search. Don't pay for one. The high school your child attends will have a full list. Also, look at other places for scholarships. You company may have scholarships for employees. Any clubs or professional organizations you belong to will probably have them as well. Apply for any and all you can.

Talk to the college about financing options. Most colleges and universities have some sort of payment plan. Normally, there is no interest.

Much of college is paid through student loans. All direct loans are now made by the government. Private supplemental and parent loans are also available, like PLUS loans. Private students loans should only be used as a last resort. They do not have the same low interest or repayment plans that direct student loans have.

No comments:

Post a Comment