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Tips for Finding a College that Fits Your Finances

Posted by Shanna Tingom, AAMS® on Feb 23, 2016 1:20:32 PM

Life is about making choices. Whether it’s how you’re investing for your children’s education or helping them select the right school, it’s the responsibility of the parents, not the kids. Joey may want to go to an expensive private university but that doesn’t mean you can afford it. The key is finding resources and options that you can all embrace as you start this next phase of your lives. 

Here’s a real life example.

My friend’s son was weighing his options as an athlete with a partial scholarship to various schools across the country, including one in his hometown. The school he wanted to attend was a $40,000 a year private school that was a plane ride away. While he could attend on partial sports scholarship and grants, he would still have travel expenses and the balance of tuition, room and board totally $90,000 in student loans over his four year college career.

While he didn’t see the issue with student loans, his parents were able to put it in terms he could understand. They weren’t dipping into retirement savings and explained payment on $90,000 of debt is equal to a mortgage payment on a condo or a couple of nice cars. They were quick to add that he would actually have to live in one of those cars if he took on that kind of debt. Ouch.

Instead of his dream school, he opted to stay home for his first year and commute to community college that offered a full scholarship and a starting spot on the football team. While it wasn’t the Division 1 dream, he knew it was a big opportunity not only for his college playing days but also for a debt-free future.

In addition to attending community college for a couple of years, our friend’s son also took college credit courses while still in high school and will graduate debt-free with an Associate’s degree in just three semesters.

He then has the option to attend a private university incurring two years of debt instead of four, attend the in-state university where his mother works and where he is eligible for the tuition reimbursement program, or work and save for the next phase of his college career.

Finding a college that fits your finances means identifying what is important to you and your family. For my friends and their son, they wanted to protect their retirement while not letting their son get into student loan debt he really can’t afford. Combining high school credits, community college, and scholarships, they created a plan that helps their son reach his goals without breaking the bank.

Are you trying to find ways for your kids to afford college? Make an appointment with Shanna Tingom of Heritage Financial Strategies today!