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There are many options for paying for college

Whether you have 12 weeks before your child attends college or 12 years before that big day, there are several ways to fund the cost of college.  Don’t be distraught if you don’t have enough saved or if you think you might not be able to save all you need.  Many experts will tell you that your retirement funding should come before saving for college.
What options should parents with younger children consider?
First and foremost, the 529 college savings plan.  It is a great tool and provides many benefits both now and later.  There are many different types of 529 plans, make sure you understand and research the one that is best for your situation.  You can start one for each child if you desire.
Other options to consider are savings accounts and other investments that offer rewards for saving.  FORUM’s Sprout account is one such account designed to help supplement savings after a 529 plan contribution is maxed.  Advantages for the Sprout account are a generous match and the fact that when the child turns 18, the funds are available for any use.
What are other options to consider if you have younger children?
Help your child be a great student, especially in the STEM fields. If they get great grades and score high on college exams like the ACT or SAT there will be financial rewards. Top students are much more likely to be offered scholarships and other tuition assistance.  Focus early developing your child’s ability to perform well in school.
What if college is only 12 weeks away?
First don’t panic, there are still options available to you.  Start with financial aid and student loans available to you for people in your financial situation.  Also work with the university your child is attending to find campus jobs that will help your student earn money to pay for tuition during the school year. There are ways to pay for college that can include a mix of loans, grants and working so that the student isn’t burdened with huge student loans upon graduation.
How do most people pay for college?
Most people use a mix of all the options we have discussed above plus borrowing from other non-student loan sources and paying with current earnings.  So don’t be discouraged if your 529 plan isn’t completely funded, there are other options.  Less than 40% of college tuition is currently paid with savings from 529 plans or other educational savings options. 

Posted: 6/3/2014 with 4 comments

Categories: College, Education, Money Matters

Roxy S. Sease Coleman
Set up a college fund. Try to get as many scholarships as you can. Purchase a cd. Contact a forum finanvial advisor. Ask Dave.
6/16/2014 1:35:27 PM

Anna Bradley
One of my part time jobs mentioned earlier also counted as internship hours for my degree.
6/16/2014 1:10:48 PM

I helped pay for college by having 2 part time jobs during the school year and worked full time in the summers. I wouldn't recommend doing this your freshman year of college as it's a big adjustment without working.
6/16/2014 1:09:11 PM

Christine Jenkins
I started a 529 Plan for my 10 year old daughter and have $50 taken out of each paycheck making it $1300 a year. It's with before tax dollars and we get a tax credit come tax time! This will significantly help pay for her first year of school!
6/16/2014 12:53:08 PM

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