Avoiding the College Debt Conundrum

For the first time last year, the amount of student loan debt actually surpassed what Americans owe in credit card debt1. Combine that with rising tuition costs, high unemployment and a competitive job market, and our children could be behind before they even put on their cap and gown.
 
As parents and grandparents, we want to give our children the best start possible. But meeting our own financial obligations sometimes means balancing and prioritizing our goals and resources. One of the best strategies is to to start saving early, though circumstances do not always permit us to set aside as much money as we would like.
 
So how do we send our kids to college without either selling off their future or compromising our retirement? Here are some options to consider that may help your student avoid the college debt conundrum.
 

Ways to Reduce the Cost of College

  • Make it a team effort. College financing experts say involve students in the college planning process, learn as much as you can about how the system works, and develop strategies and compromises (if necessary) to help them reach their goals.
  • Take advantage of extra credit. Encourage your child to take Advanced Placement courses in high school, earning college credits at no cost to you! If she also takes a class or two at your community college over the summer, your student could graduate from high school with a full year’s worth of college credits that can be transferred to the university of choice.
  • Find the right [career] path. Take advantage of aptitude testing or research on in-demand career opportunities at your child’s high school or elsewhere in the community. With a clear path in mind, your child will be more likely to stay on course and finish her degree in four years.
  • Make community college an option. Discuss with your child the option to spend the first two years at a local community college before transferring to a four-year university. The average two-year program costs about $2,700 a year2.
  • Stay at home with mom and dad. Room and board makes up about a third of college expenses2. Talk to your child about living at home and commuting to school to save on costs now, so he can afford to move out and live independently after graduation.
  • Apply strategically to colleges. State universities are not the least expensive option in all cases. Many private colleges offer generous merit aid for students with strong grades and standardized test scores who pursue specific courses of study.

 
Need assistance?
Every student should have the opportunity to pursue a college degree without incurring debt for life. Contact one of our financial advisors if you need help planning a path to college for your child or grandchild:

Danny McFadden – 972.348.2709
Kevin Tinkle – 972.348.2508

Danny McFadden and Kevin Tinkle are registered representatives of INVEST .


 INVEST Financial Corporation is not
affiliated with Texans Credit Union.

This information is general in nature and should not be construed as tax or legal advice. INVEST Financial Corporation does not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult your tax and/or legal adviser for guidance on your particular situation. The information in this report has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable but we do not guarantee that the forgoing material is accurate or complete. This article is not an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security, and may not be reproduced or made available to other persons without the express consent of INVEST Financial Corporation. Securities, advisory services and insurance products offered through INVEST Financial Corporation, member FINRA, SIPC, a Registered Broker Dealer and Federally Registered Investment Adviser, and affiliated insurance agencies.
Sources: 1) Peter Coy, “Student Loans: Debt for Life,” Business Week, September 6, 2012. 2) Blake Ellis, “Kids: Live at Home, Get a Job,” CNN Money, August 29, 2012.

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