This is a sponsored guest post.
Parents often struggle with finding effective ways to pay for their children’s college tuition and related expenses. In fact, couples routinely put about half as much toward kids’ education funds as they spend on their homes. That statistic reveals much about the soaring cost of schooling and the amount mom and dad are willing to pony up for the cause. If you are a parent looking for the best ways to set cash aside for the near or long-term future, here are the top five ways experts say you should approach tuition for your precious offspring:
The time to begin saving is now. If you plan to have children, set up a fund and a plan to finance your child’s education as soon as you get married or make the decision to have kids. Using the power of interest rate leverage can help just a small monthly amount go a long, long way.
Take Out Student Loans
Many families simply cannot supply the entire amount of room, board, fees, books and tuition for a four-year degree. That’s understandable. It’s also why the number one option for school funding is the student loan. Applying for student loans is a versatile, low-cost way to make sure you can pay your tuition each semester. You should focus your time and energy on studying and passing your exams, not worrying about how to pay for the classes themselves.
Subsidize Rather Than Pay It All
You can teach youngsters a lot about responsibility by letting them finance at least part of their education. Some adults use the 10 percent rule, namely offering to cover 90 percent of the cost of books, tuition and fees. Subsidizing, rather than covering the entire cost of university expenses, is a proven way to instill a healthy amount of independence and emotional maturity in daughters and sons.
Shop for Scholarships While Kids are Young
There’s a huge misconception when it comes to scholarships. People think that the best time to search for them is when the student is in high school. Experts say you should begin hunting for scholarships while children are in grade school. Because most programs that offer one-, two-, three- and four-year tuition deals to students are either need or grade-based, you can make a list of ones to target long before little Susie or Jimmy reach their teens.
Hire a Pro to Locate Appropriate Grants
Last year alone, about $75 million of grant money went unclaimed. That doesn’t mean recipients received it and never used it. Instead, institutions say that many large grants never get any applicants. This sad situation happens for two reasons, grant administrators say. One, some financial awards are highly specialized and only go to students who major in obscure subjects like South African anthropology or ancient East Indian literature. The second reason is unfortunate because it involves grants that people just never hear about.
That’s why hiring a pro makes sense. For less than $250, you can hire someone who will help match your child with virtually every free money program out there. In most cases, these clever folks can turn up at least enough cash to cover their fee, and then some.