College Savings Plans

 

Each year thousands of high school students in the US receive acceptance letters to colleges and universities all across the country. Years of studying, research, and test taking have finally paid off, and it's easy to think that the challenges of getting your children enrolled in college are behind you. However, the hardest challenge might still lie ahead; how to pay for it. The cost of a state college education is thousands of dollars each year for tuition alone and it's even higher for private institutions. Unfortunately for parents these figures continue to rise on an almost yearly basis. The best way to prepare for this educational expense is to begin saving as early as possible.

However, if your child's high school graduation is right around the corner and you have yet to begin a college savings plan; there are still steps you can take to prevent a large accumulation of debt. Consider a 529 savings plan because these plans offer a tax exemption for money earned on contributions. It is never too late to benefit from this educational savings plan. Be certain that your child is ready for college. Many students become overwhelmed or homesick while others cannot handle their new found independence. If a child drops out or fails out you lose whatever money you have invested.

Another option is state schools. While these schools may not hold the same name recognition as their private counterparts many state institutions offer excellent educations at a more affordable price. Your child's education becomes even more affordable if you choose and public school that is located within your home state. Another option is a community colleges. A large portion of college expenses comes from food and housing. A commuter school would help cut these expenses by enabling your child to live at home. Community colleges offer general education classes that can be transferred to larger schools.

The four year diploma will have the name of whatever college your child attends but you only pay for 2 years of the "bigger" tuition. Investigate grants and scholarships since they are available and just waiting to be claimed. Your student does not have to be at the top of his class academically or athletically to qualify for many of these awards. If you have waited until late in the game to start saving for your child's education, you are not alone. While acquiring a certain amount of money through loans may become inevitable, it is important to realize that there are many steps that can be taken to ensure savings and prevent large levels of debt.

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