An expert from Kaplan was featured on the Today show discussing various ways to prepare for college costs.
He highlighted some issues that we have discussed in previous “news” articles on FinancialAidFinder. This is a very tumultuous time for financial aid as budget cuts have reduced federal aid by $41 billion dollars while the cost of tuition continues to rise. We have compiled some of the important tips and issues that we have discussed over the past couple of months that are pertinent to the issues that the Today show highlighted.
Start a College Savings Account for Your Child ASAP:
If you have just had a baby or plan to have one very soon here are a few thoughts you might want to consider. Even if your child is older these ideas should help you plan for your child’s education.
Make sure you start sorting out your finances now. If you have a lot of debt (maybe from your own college loans) make sure and keep paying them off.
Investing in paying off your debts is one of the best financial investments you can make. Along that same line, try not to go deeper into debt.
Two savings accounts that we suggest are:
- The Coverdell Education Savings
- The 529 College Savings Plan
Cut Down the Amount of Time you Spend at College by Taking AP Classes:
It is true that when it comes to college “time is money” and the longer you stay in school the more you will spend. AP courses allow high school students to test out of college classes. This reduces the amount of credits you need to take in college and in turn cuts down the amount of time and money you spend.
Attend Community College and Filter into a Bigger University:
If you have your sights on a particular college or university there is nothing to be lost by attending the first two years at a community college. This can help you by greatly cutting the cost of a more expensive school and still obtaining a degree from the school of your choice.
Do your Homework:
Applying for financial aid at a pricey college or university may not seem realistic BUT the expensive private colleges often grant more financial aid. These schools have to offer a good deal of financial aid to gain diversification among their students. Therefore the EFC (Expected Family Contribution) for these schools may end up being less than what it might be at a large public university. Not only could you end up gaining more financial aid but you could also end up receiving a top- notch education. Schools such as Princeton and Stanford University offer a greatly reduced tuition rate for students that come from families that make $40,000 or less.
Budget Cuts Take their Toll:
The Budget Reconciliation Act of 2005 which will go into effect in July 2006 will reduce federal aid by $41 billion dollars over the next five years. In a nutshell the government is taking away grant money and putting it into loans which must be paid back. This is most unfortunate as tuition continues to rise.
Why exactly tuition is rising is still unclear but we do know that schools’ constant need to “update” their facilities isn’t helping lower the cost.
Search High and Low for Scholarships:
If you’ve searched the mainstream scholarships and come up with nothing, don’t lose hope. There are plenty of alternative or just plain weird scholarships out there. Look at all the many diverse attributes that you may have in your background or evaluate the special talents you may have. There is a way to find these scholarships.
There are scholarships out there for every single thing you can imagine. Many of which the competition is very low for since there usually is a small applicant pool. Check out the link below for some very unusual scholarships mentioned on the Today show.