College Funding Tips for Today

June 28, 2020 by: Jessica Vainer

Nowadays, one of the most significant stresses in a parent's life is saving up money to send their kid to college. One of the hardest things is realizing that you started your college funding strategies way too late. That's when you begin to question, how can I get last-minute money for college? Whether you're looking at savings vehicles for college or last-minute grants for college, there are ways that you can get a little ahead of the curve.

No parent wants to have their child enter their professional life with a high amount of debt. However, going to college is becoming increasingly expensive, and it's becoming difficult for most families to save up enough money for a single child, let alone multiple. Here are some essential college funding tips for today.

Create A Budget

The very first thing that you need to do to set up effective college funding strategies is to create your budget. Take into consideration the college in question, the overall cost of the college includes several other things aside from the tuition. There are hostel fees, along with the cost of new textbooks every semester. Setting a budget will mean that you'll always know what goal you're working towards.

The most important thing when creating a budget is making sure you're saving towards a realistic goal. The best thing about the budget is that you can always adjust your expectations and change accordingly. You might not be able to get it right for the first time but, don't be deterred; it takes a long time to get the budget right.

Scholarships are one of the easiest ways to get money to help you pay for college. There are thousands of scholarships available and there is no limit to how many you can apply. One common mistake is thinking that scholarships can only be applied while you are in high school before starting college, you can apply for scholarships if you are attending school all the way to your senior year and sometimes beyond that.

Once you have the right budget, it gives you the option to learn how to cut costs effectively. One of the most significant college expenses can be textbooks, but luckily, it's also one that you can efficiently work towards reducing. Second-hand books are much cheaper and are widely available as well. Additionally, people that own the e-book are often more than happy to share freely.

Open A 529 Savings Plan

One of the best saving vehicles for college is a 529 savings plan. It's known for being a more effective method of investing when you're looking at a time span that's longer than a decade. However, even if you're late, there's still a lot of benefit to opening a plan depending on the fees, and the place where you're opening the account.

Most states offer tax deductions, and individual states make contributions when the account opens. If you're wondering how I can get last-minute money for college, depending on your state, a 529 plan can offer you a bit of a leg up.

Additionally, opening a 529 saving plan allows you to ask your extended family for support as well. Anyone in the family can contribute, knowing that the student will be the primary beneficiary of the savings account.

Crowdfunding and Side Jobs

Crowdfunding is a surprising answer to how I can get last-minute money for college, but it can be useful. People donate on websites like GoFundMe every single day, and there's no shame in seeking out some help from people. It also gives the student a chance to get their story out there as well and showcases their dedication towards getting to college.

Additionally, one of the best ways to get some last-minute money for college is by working an extra job. An online shop or a post driving on Uber can be an excellent source for extra cash.

Fill Out FAFSA

If you want to apply for last-minute grants for college, you need to fill out the free application for federal student aid. The best time to fill out the app is in October, but the deadline for 2020-2021 isn't until June 30, 2021. While there's an advantage to filling in the form early, there's no harm in filling it in late.

The applicant will be eligible for some type of financial aid, even if they're applying past the ideal date. When the student completes the FAFSA, they qualify for different grants, scholarships, and loans.

Use the Community College Method

While not a direct way to fund anything, using the summer community college method can be a way to save on the overall cost of college, more often than not, the first year of college involves you taking several general education courses, which you can opt for at a local community college.

These universities and colleges cost significantly less than most private schools. Moreover, after a year or two, the student can transfer to the college of their choice if they maintain a certain GPA. It also gives both the parents and the student more time to generate funding.

Take A Loan

While not ideal, opting for a loan can be the best way to generate funding for college if you started saving too late. However, it's incredibly vital that you understand what type of loan you're going to take out. While private loans might offer lower interest rates, you're much better off taking a government-subsidized loan.

The government-subsidized loans are much more flexible and accommodating in comparison to private corporations. Additionally, while paying back a college loan can be a troublesome task for money young Americans, the role of flexibility is crucial. The government is much more understanding when the student runs into financial troubles.

Choose an Affordable College

One of the easiest ways to save for college is to reduce the amount of money that you need to keep. What you should ideally do is apply to colleges that offer you a generous amount of aid. Specific colleges that may have higher fees on first sight provide extensive amounts of aid that might make them more affordable for the applicant.