Is it possible for young adults to experience a complete college education or obtain a marketable academic degree without having to accumulate a sickening burden of student loan debt?
The majority of parents are planning for their children’s future college education but don’t take into account that they don’t have any control over what their adult children will ultimately do after they’ve turned 18. Some of those parents’ best plans may turn to dust, so be sure to come up with backup ideas and plans when it comes to planning a college education.
There are parents who are taking a pretty tough approach when it comes to their children’s college planning, and they may think that their children will be able to pay their own way through those college years. But what will happen if one of their children is threatening to join the military because the military is paying for college? Well, then they usually will quickly have an impressive change of attitude.
Parents, forget about in-state tuition
One of the biggest and first mistakes that parents often are making is that they assume that their children will attend a college or university in their home state. Most states are offering special scholarships but only if a student decides to go to a state school.
If your child decides to attend college outside of your state, consider a community college that has dorms or residence halls for a more affordable but still exciting and authentic college experience. Some parents will be able to let their children go to a less expensive college without the necessity that their children are racking up a lot of student loan debt. It is a good idea to let them attend a community college for the first few years.
Parents, set a realistic degree goal
Another pitfall in making college plans is encouraging your child to apply for college without having any specific or realistic goal in mind. You should be aware that the best in-demand and most lucrative study areas, such as nuclear medicine, usually come with long waiting lists for students and that it is challenging to be accepted into these programs. University and college students may be accumulating debt as much as tens of thousands of dollars as they switch programs or majors. When your child has committed to a specific program, be sure he or she applies timely (at least 1 year in advance) to make sure they’re not put on any waiting list. It would also be wise to research multiple study areas first to ensure a specific degree later lead to a job with a desirable salary.
Take advantage of free options
You may save a lot of money on tuition costs if you take advantage of advanced placement programs that are available in high school, and you may also consider taking several college-level placement exams. Check with the university or college, though, how many credits will be transferable at that particular school. There are also high school students who may receive college credit via dual enrollment programs that are granting high school credit and at the same time college credit.
Budget for more than just tuition
Sure, college tuition is quite expensive. Many universities and colleges have been increasing their tuition increases regularly because of the recent recession and some other factors, so start saving money for your children’s college education as early as you can. Quite a few parents and students are making the mistake of saving money just for tuition fees. But you also need to save money for housing and meal costs. You should also put money aside to cover travel expenses for internships and other purposes.
College students should work
Paying for their children’s college education all by themselves will be quite challenging for most American middle-class families. However, if you have the proper strategies, it may be possible. You should encourage your child to work on a part-time job for some 8 to 16 hours per week, knowing that’s about what a college student could juggle. Think about jobs like tutoring younger students, or take on a job serving food or working a dorm as a service assistant.