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What will college actually cost you?

April 17,2010 by: Dallas Browne

For the Academic Year 2009-2010, college students will be paying around US$26,273 for private universities or US$7,020 for public colleges. On the other hand, public two-year college students will still be paying US$2,544 in order to get their education. Obviously, we’re not talking about chump change here.

For parents who are seeing their kids as eighteen-year-olds for the first time, it’s time to sit them down and talk about their future. Although asking them the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” was already answered during preschool, it doesn’t hurt to reevaluate your child’s hopes and dreams. Then, you can help your child achieve those dreams by supporting their choice and helping them come up with the funds for their education.

As parents, you can easily help them by taking out a loan under your names. However, these kinds of loans have higher interest rates compared with student loans in the name of your child. It is highly recommended that you encourage your children to apply for their FAFSA in order to qualify for federal loans. Unfortunately, for most people, federal loans are not flexible or big enough so your child can apply for a private loan.

Parents can also apply for federal loans for their children but if you have a lot of kids to take care of, perhaps it would be best to take advantage of the loans your kids can make before applying. All loans are set to be paid after your child has graduated—some loans give some months as grace period.

However, before you tap into those loans, maybe you can encourage your children to apply for some scholarships. Take note that each scholarship has its own qualifications—some do not even require a certain academic standing. But what is interesting with some of the scholarships is that they give priority to minorities, to special interests or to laudable accomplishments. If your child is strongly inclined towards extracurricular activities, it will impress the judges.

There are many contests and lotteries that can offer great help to your child’s education. They may come from chocolates, teas or even your local grocery! However, these scholarships are not necessarily given annually so you might want to encourage your child to enter while it’s being offered. Sadly, these prizes are usually not big enough to finance everything but then, even a little could go a long way.

There are also some companies who may offer scholarship benefits to your dependents. You can easily ask your human resource department for what they are willing to offer. Also if your child is entertaining a career in the military, you can be assured that the government will be shouldering the bills for college!

Getting a college education will really be a hefty investment for any family. In fact, only a small percentage of American families can afford to pay for their tuition fees in full. But financial constraints should not deter your children from getting a good college education. There are many ways to find money to pay for it.

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