Your child’s college education is a wise investment in the future, and the costs are worth it in the long run. Here are several things you can advise your child to do to help make college more affordable now.
Encourage your child to:
- Plan to graduate on time; needing longer to graduate increases overall tuition costs. Take the maximum number of courses that can be handled each semester and consider summer terms and intersessions. Many colleges give credits if your child earns qualifying scores on AP® And a satisfactory score on a CLEP®exam may also earn your child credits at numerous colleges.
- Choose a less expensive room and a cheaper meal plan if your child is planning to live on campus, or investigate living (and cooking) off campus. Your child may also want to try for a position as a resident adviser — and the free room and board that comes with it.
- Choose a college close to home and commute. This can save your child money on room and board. Consider the costs of car maintenance, gas and parking when you and your child calculate expenses.
- Shop for books and supplies carefully; check online for discounts and used books.
- Watch personal expenses closely; create a budget and set spending limits.
- Use discount airline fares and other inexpensive travel methods for trips to and from college, and avoid extra trips. Many carriers offer tickets with discounted rates for students.
- Look for a scholarship. Use our Scholarship Search, check scholarships offered by the college, and visit the academic department to see what’s available.
- If interested in serving in the military, your child should check with the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) office on campus; branches of the military offer scholarships to enrolled students.
- If not already assigned a job in the award letter, your child can visit the student employment office and ask them to help locate part-time work. Research shows that although students who attempt to juggle full-time work and full-time college struggle, those who work a moderate amount often do better academically.
- Search for on-campus work that coincides with career goals. Such positions can increase your child’s knowledge and network of connections to the university while bringing in money. These jobs may even have to pay more than minimum wage to secure applicants.
- If your child is having trouble paying bills, you or your child can contact the financial aid office at your child’s college to discuss the aid award and options. If your family has experienced an unexpected decrease in income or increase in expenses since you applied for financial aid, your child should consider asking the financial aid office to reevaluate financial aid eligibility.
- Find out whether the college offers a deferred payment plan or other creative financing options, such as paying tuition on a monthly basis.