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Back to School: How to Finance & Plan for Rising Educational Costs

| August 30, 2017
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Ah . . . routines are back in full force as school is back in session. College students everywhere begin the mantra of complaining about their education while parents scramble to finance it. An excellent education is beyond defining in value when we consider how an education affects our future, but the costs associated with that education can inhibit the ability of some attaining it.

In 2016, tuition costs at a University ranged from $23,893 to $32,405, and are steadily rising 3-5% per year according to the College Board. 




But tuition is not the only cost to be considered when planning for college costs. Housing, groceries, insurance, transportation and book costs also need to be planned in a budget.
 
The good news is that financing an education does not have to wreck our finances. There are numerous strategies that can work together to offset rising college costs. Below are some classic tips, followed by several e
-books to provide additional support.
 
Expense Reduction
As we get back to school, we can also get back to the basics of sticking to a budget. Where can we decrease costs in order to finance a higher item like an education? This article discusses 40 Ways to Save Money By Reducing Expenses. Maybe there are some items that are tougher to reduce than others. Take one item at a time and see the difference it can make.
 
Partnership
Enlisting the help of our children is paramount to financing an education. Having children apply for scholarships and work study opportunities might mean more money in our pockets for other purposes. There is possibly no end to websites for scholarships. This website is one example. Have your student fill out scholarship applications the summer before starting. Their scholarship hunt can often earn more than a job would if they are dedicated in the process. Working and scholarship searches can be done in tandem. Having a goal of one or two scholarships applied for per day or per week can result in huge financial help.
 
Savings
A little adds up over time. Being disciplined about setting aside funds earlier on will make the biggest difference, but something is better than nothing. Tuition installment plans, college 
savings plans, and education tax benefits can also contribute greatly to our saving strategy. This article from Forbes details The Five Best Savings Plans.
 
Financial Aid
Student loans or grants can relieve a big burden on students and their parents, but being wise as to the interest rate and the structure of the loan can make a significant difference. This article details Subsidized and Unsubsidized federal student loans and this one discusses 5 Best Private Student Loans. This article compares the two: Federal Versus Private Loans.
 
We hope the strategies shared in this newsletter along with the 
free e-book resources below will help to guide you through the potential landmine that financing an education can become. An education is an incredible privilege. Personal savings, reducing expenses, taking advantage of work-study programs, and identifying sources of financial aid such as grants, scholarships, and loans can make or break our financial well-being during the college years. We trust that you will find the following tips to help finance your or your loved one's education helpful.

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