Sending your child off to college is one of the most important rites of passage in his/her life. From the moment of their birth through kindergarten, grade school, and the high school years you’ve watched them grow and become the adult they are now.
They’ve lived with you, been mentored by you and now you suddenly find that they are about to leave the nest and head out to their new life. One of the best gifts you can give your son or daughter is to help them pay for their education. Getting a degree starts them off right in life and the university experience is the perfect transition from high school to full adulthood.
The classes they take give them a leg up on the career ladder, as college graduates generally have better job opportunities and make far more money over the course of their working lives. Wondering how you can help your college-going son/daughter out financially? The following are some ideas.
Taking Out Private Student Loans
The cost of attending college has risen dramatically over the last 40 years, so it pays to get creative when it comes to financing tuition, room and board, fees, books, and other costs. Each potential student will fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and, when accepted, the school will give them a Student Aid report that outlines the scholarships, grants, and loans available.
Federal student loans are available but may be limited in amount. Increasingly, parents are finding that private student loans are a great option for paying for the high costs of education. These are typically offered by banks, credit unions, and financing companies and can help assure that your child gets the education they deserve.
Refinance Your Home
One of the best ways to free up cash to pay for your child’s college tuition is to refinance your home. If current rates are lower than your existing mortgage you can take out a new loan on your home that will often dramatically reduce your current monthly payment.
The money you save each month can then be used to help pay for college. When you refinance, you may also be able to tap into the equity you have in your home. If the house has appreciated in value you can take out an advance for a higher amount and use the extra cash to pay for your child’s university expenses.
Help Your Child Find Specialized Scholarships
Prospective students can often receive additional educational funding through specialized scholarships. As a parent, you can really help by doing research into the options that are available. For instance, there are community service scholarships for those who volunteer and give back to their communities.
Check with your employer, too, because some companies offer scholarships to children of their employees. Scholarships provided by local businesses or civic organizations may also be greatly available. You may find boosters or groups who have funded grants or scholarships specifically designed to help promising young residents to head off to college. Multiple organizations also provide monetary assistance for women and minority students.