5 Ways to Help Save for and Pay for College
College is expensive, and unfortunately the cost keeps rising. According to debt.org, the individual average student loan debt for 2017 is $37,172. Whether you’re starting to save for your children or you’re saving for yourself, there are many ways to make furthering an education possible beyond scholarships, loans, and financial aid.
Here are a few ways to lower the cost of college:
Consider community college.
Typically, tuition and fees are lower at community college. Attending community college for some or several classes can help you save a tremendous amount. Also, if your GPA needs a little TLC, consider going to a community college first to help improve your transcripts. Doing so can help better your chances of scholarships when transferring to a university.
Consider a 529 Savings Plan.
A 529 savings plan is a great way to start saving for education, especially if college is several years in the future. The 529 is a tax free investment option and is designed to help families set aside funds for future college costs. There are many restrictions though, so do your research before making a commitment. Check to see if your institution is 529 eligible.
Cutting back on major purchases, travel and entertainment, throughout the years of saving can make a major impact on the college fund. Choosing cheaper vacations, eating out less often, and driving your used auto another year or two can potentially save you thousands to put towards education.
Work and study.
Getting a job while in high school or even while you’re in college can help you save a little extra money. Dedicate those paychecks to a college fund and extra expenses such as books, necessities, and food. Plus, it can help you build your resume and skill set for future jobs!
Create a budget.
Budgets are important for almost everything, especially college savings. Use this equation to help: Your Monthly Savings = Total Savings Goal / Years until College. For example, if your goal is $40,000 and there is 10 years until college, you need to save $4,000 a year. That can seem like a lot of money, but if you start saving early you can save a lower amount each month!
The Credit Union offers many resources to help you throughout the process. Planning is the key to a successful saving!
Do you have any other ways to save for higher education? Let us know below in the comments!