As a father, your family is your number one priority. The day to day aspect of keeping your family safe and well-provided for can seem overwhelming. When you think about the future and what is involved in raising children that can support themselves, you may feel you are facing an impossible task. One of the biggest tasks on that to-do list is probably paying for college. Like any big job, paying for college is easier to plan for if you break the job down into bite-size chunks. While costs have skyrocketed in recent years, quality education is within reach. Plan, but don’t feel that you should bypass saving for retirement or other goals because you are funneling so much of your income into educational savings.
Don’t Be Afraid to Borrow
Once you get that financial aid package from the college, you will have a good idea of how much money you need to come up with. This is not the time to panic. Federal and private student loans are widely available and used by students. Taking out loans allows your child to focus on their studies and build toward a successful future.
Save What You Can
Saving money for your child’s eventual college expenses is a nice thing to do. Not all parents can do it, and even if you are, you are not required to. However, if you can put some money aside for your child’s education it will be helpful down the road. A good source of funding for this account can be gifts from grandparents or other family members. Even if you cannot afford to save money from each paycheck towards your child’s education fund, a few lump sum deposits each year can add up over childhood.
Encourage Academics, Community Service, and Hobbies
Scholarships are a great way to fund some or all of education. There are scholarships available for all types of things, from the more traditional academic scholarships, to those that provide funding for students who are entering a particular field, and even for students who participate in a particular hobby or have a particular interest. Finding and applying for scholarships can be a grind. Your child must understand how beneficial these scholarships will be in the future, both by putting them on better financial footing and as something they can use when applying for an entry-level position or internship.
Help Your Child Reduce Their Course Load
Reducing the number of semesters your child attends school is a great way to save money. While most schools have a full-time cap on tuition, making it the same price to take 15 or more credit hours, reducing the total semesters, and graduating a semester, or even a year early, can be quite a cost savings. Also, it allows them to enter the job market earlier. Taking AP courses in high school allows you to earn college credit before you graduate high school. This means you will not need to take the equivalent courses once you are in college. If AP classes aren’t available to your child, or they want to earn additional credits, they can take CLEP exams. These work on the same principle as AP tests, but are open to anyone, not just high schoolers.
Brought to you by Justin Weinger.