5 Tips On Paying For College
July 22, 2016
1. Saving may cost less than borrowing. Think of an amount that your child may need to attend college. If you save or invest for it, the potential returns on your savings or investments may add up over time so that you may not need to contribute as much money yourself to reach your goal. If you borrow the full amount, you will need to repay it in full plus interest. Please note: All investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal.
2. It’s important to shift a college fund to more conservative investments as college nears. The closer your children are to college age, the less time there is for their college funds to potentially recover from downturns in the stock market. To avoid having to sell stocks when the market is down in order to pay tuition, it is generally a good idea to shift to a less volatile mix of investments, such as bonds and cash, the closer your children get to college age.
3. Think about where to apply for financial aid or estimate how much aid your child may receive. The first step in applying for financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on the FAFSA.ed.gov website. You can also get an early financial aid estimate on the same website if your child is not ready to apply for aid yet.
4. Consider where to find information about preparing for college. The website StudentAid.ed.gov offers a wealth of information for families with college-bound students, including an overview of financial aid, considerations when choosing a college or a career, checklists of what needs to be done in the years leading up to college, and much more.
5. Learn where to find and compare colleges. The website CollegeCost.ed.gov is a great place to start a college search. A link on the site takes you to the College Navigator, where you can search for and compare colleges on criteria such as costs, majors offered, school size, campus safety, and graduation rates. Another link takes you to the College Scorecard, where you can compare colleges based on their cost, graduation rate, and the salary after attending.