America is facing a crisis due to extreme student loan debt. There is currently $1.48 trillion in outstanding student loan debt throughout the country. If your kids are planning on heading off to college, it makes sense that you’d want to do everything you can to help pay for their education without taking on the burden of student loans.
But what are the alternatives to student loans when it comes to paying for college? We’ve got you covered. Read on to learn all about the best ways to pay for college!
Plan for the Future
The best way to pay for your kids’ college tuition is to plan in advance by opening a 529 plan. 529 plans allow you to put money away to pay for college and give you a tax advantage, too. Like a 401k, 529 plans are dependent upon the stock market to get returns, but it also means it can see some losses over time.
One caveat, if you don’t have enough in the 529 plan to pay for all four years of college, then it’s best to hold off on using it until later years. Why? The federal government counts withdrawals from a 529 plan as income and it can potentially cause your children to lose out on other sources of financial aid like grants and work-study.
Start with Community College
One of the best ways to pay for college is to dramatically reduce its price tag. Community college is a great way to save on your kids’ overall expenses during their first two years of college.
All colleges have a number of lower-level courses that students must complete before they can begin working on their upper-level, major-related courses. Community college is the perfect place for students to complete those courses and to explore different options for majors without burning a ton of money. Once those courses are complete, they can transfer to a four-year institution.
Work on Grants and Scholarships
Worried about paying for college? How would you feel if there was a significant portion of college that you don’t have to pay at all? That’s what you’ll get when your child seeks out grants and scholarships that help cover tuition and expenses.
Grants are issued by state and federal government or by the school itself, and they are typically given based on financial need. Scholarships are issued by the school and numerous private donors and organizations and are based on performance and/or financial need. Scholarships are especially helpful if your children are interested in studying abroad due to the additional expenses involved.
Check with the university financial aid office to find out how to apply for the different grants and scholarships available to your child.
These are the Best Ways to Pay for College!
It may seem like a challenge to find the best ways to pay for college, but thankfully there are a lot of options out there that don’t involve taking out student loans. The best option is to plan ahead and put savings in a 529 plan, but if that’s not an option, then there are numerous scholarships and grant opportunities available.
Want more great articles about family life and raising kids? You’ve come to the right place! Check out the rest of our blog for everything you need to know.