5 ways to reduce college costs while kids are still in high school
Reducing college costs doesn’t just happen once the kids have already been accepted. Planning early is the best way to reduce your college costs later on.
In this video from THV11 News, Little Rock Family Magazine editor Heather Bennett shares her five best to reduce college costs while your student is still in high school.
How to save money on college
1. Earn college credit in high school.
By taking Advanced Placement (AP) or classes through a local community college, students can significantly reduce the number of credits they’ll need to take in school, which can help them graduate on time and avoid having to pay for an extra semester or year of college.
2. Consider starting at a community college.
As we’ve discussed previously, starting your bachelor’s degree at a local community college can be a wise financial decision. You’ll save money on room and board if you choose to live at home, and even if you don’t, tuition at most community colleges are cheaper than 4-year schools, which can help you avoid taking out extra student loans.
Additionally, many community colleges offer significant scholarships to qualified students and have 2+2 programs that guarantee students will be able to transfer to a partner 4-year college. Your diploma will have the name of your 4-year college when you graduate, so there won’t be any difference between you and a student who spend all 4 years at the same college.
3. Learn about your financial options.
Look into your financial options like life insurance, savings plans, and other types of investments that may be a source of funding for your child’s college education. And remember, financial aid is always a possibility, so be sure to fill out the FAFSA during your child’s senior year.
4. Research scholarships early.
When it comes to applying for and winning scholarships, the earlier, the better. There are some scholarships you can receive even if you’re still a high school freshman, sophomore or junior that you can put toward college. The the more research you do, the greater your chance of finding a scholarship that matches with your skills and interests.
You’d be surprised at the varied types of scholarships that are out there–you can even get free money for college for being a vegetarian or a Star Wars fan.
5. Consider a 529 plan.
A 529 plan is an investment plan that allows families to put aside money tax-free and use it to pay for educational expenses later. For some families, a 529 plan can be a good option to help them pay for college, even if their child is starting college within the next few years. But they’re not for everyone. Take a look at the benefits and drawbacks to figure out what may be best for your situation.