When your child decides to attend college, it's an investment in the future. That's why your family is expected to contribute as much as you can to pay for your child's college education. Spending on higher education is an investment in our country, too - there is a recognized need for college graduates in the workforce of the future. That's why there are other sources of financing, both public and private, available to help families pay for college.
Your first financial resource is your family, which includes you, your child and others who may be willing to help out, such as grandparents. Independent students, no longer supported by parents, are also expected to contribute to their own education costs.
Help can also come from the government at the federal, state and local levels. The federal government is actually the largest financial aid provider in the U.S. In addition, you can look to the college or university your child decides to attend for scholarships and work-study opportunities. Finally, private businesses provide loans and local community groups often offer scholarships to deserving students.
How Can We Fund Our Child's Education?
Many students work with a combination of all these resources to pay for college. Here are a number of ways your family can fund your child's education.
Use past income: Now is the time to put your savings to good use. In addition to money you have in the bank, your family should tap into any special education accounts to help pay for college tuition and other costs. Read more about your college saving options.
Use current income: Now that it's time to pay for college, you may be able to put aside a portion of your paycheck each month, in addition to what you've already saved. You can even take advantage of college tuition tax credits once your child is in college. Also, tell your child to forget about hanging out at the mall. Summer provides a great opportunity for your child to work, and all earnings can be put toward education, since your child lives at home. Babysitting, serving food, mowing lawns or doing data entry are all good ways for your child to add to the college fund. Some high school students can also handle working part-time during the school year.