Tips on Dealing with College Costs

One of the major categories of the Tri-Town Apple is Life Events and Higher Education is part of this category. As with much of the content here, we use readily available information published by the government, centered around the “mymoney.gov” web site. We strongly recommend you visit that site, not only for information on higher learning, but on just about all the major events and happenings that take place over a lifetime.

The cost of sending an offspring to college can be staggering. And the bill for several children attending an institution of higher learning can strain a family’s budget to the breaking point.

There’s no getting around it. Except the few who receive sizable scholarships, there will be large bills for tuition, room, board, books and fees. But that is not to say you are helpless in the face of this heavy hit on the family finances. There are strategies that can help. As with most significant parts of life, anticipation and early planning can make a big difference when the “rubber meets the road”, or in this case, “when the student hits the road” for school.

Today we’re looking at cost of borrowing for college and what can be done to minimize these expenses. We’re using a web article published by Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) under their FDIC Consumer News initiative. To read the entire article go here, and we encourage you to do that. The main points are summarized below.

Higher Education, Lower Debt: Ways to Minimize the Borrowing Costs for College

“The average annual cost of higher education has increased dramatically in the last decade. And with education debt continuing to rise along with the increase in costs, many people face a tough financial situation. FDIC Consumer News offers these tips to help students and their families …” (more)

Start saving early to reduce the amount you may need to borrow.

“In particular, Section 529 college investment plans, which are mostly offered by individual state governments, are a helpful tool for building a savings fund.” (more)

“U.S. Savings Bonds are another way to save for the future and, for qualified taxpayers, to benefit from a tax exclusion if the money is used for education expenses.”

“To learn about Savings Bonds, start at www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/indiv.htm. For information about the tax exclusion, go towww.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/planning/plan_education.htm.” (more)

Find ways to cut costs. 

“High school students who take advanced courses or pass special college-level exams can earn college credits before they set foot on campus. “It’s never too early or too late to start saving on future tuition expenses and reduce the amount you’ll need to borrow for college,” said Denise Waters, an FDIC Consumer Affairs Specialist.” (more)

If you must take out a loan, understand the different options.

“Federal student loans usually have lower interest rates and more flexible repayment options than private loans from non-government lenders such as banks and credit unions. Under current law, all federal student loans are obtained through the Federal Direct Loan Program administered by the U.S. Department of Education. The easiest way to learn more about federal student loans, and to apply for a federal loan, as well as federal student aid and most state and college aid, is online at www.fafsa.gov.”  (more)

Choose the best repayment plan.

“For federal student loans, a monthly, fixed payment over a standard, 10-year term is the most cost-effective arrangement and minimizes the total amount of interest you’ll have to pay. However, there are alternatives… (more)

For more information for students and parents from the FDIC, the U.S. Department of Education and other government agencies — on topics ranging from money tips for young adults to saving for college — start at here.”

 

For some, this advice is probably well known, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable and a quick read will reinforce the good advice that it is. For those just starting to think about college costs, the FDIC article is a good place to start and there are many embedded links that will take you additional worthwhile information.

Remember, it’s not going to cost you anything to be well prepared!

We hope this information was helpful. Let us know. Leave a comment. We will respond!