Early Awareness

Higher education beyond college is a valued asset in today’s job market, but the prospect of advanced learning is also an exciting notion to build the best version of ourselves.  Unfortunately, it can be an expensive endeavor.  Luckily, it’s never too early to start planning for the cost of a college education. As a matter of fact, the earlier the better. The Federal and State governments do offer scholarships and grants - free money that does not typically need to be repaid. Some grants are designed to provide equal access to college education for those families who cannot otherwise afford it.

There are also student loan options that are available to everyone. However, the amount that students can borrow each year is limited by the government. These loans are intended to supplement the family’s resources – not be the sole source of funding your education. 

Although grants and students loans may assist with paying for college costs, that may not be enough to fund the entire cost. What’s the answer? PLANNING AHEAD- SAVING AND INVESTING, AND LEARNING ABOUT ALL THE FINANCIAL AID RESOURCES! By starting to save now, parents and students - your money will continue to work for you, earning interest over the years until it’s time to start the admissions process for higher education.

Step#1: Reflect on personal budgets and save as much as possible!

Planning for college costs involves the whole family, and it starts first with practicing good money management skills, for parents and students.

First, let’s manage money and get to budgeting. Here is a great way to look at your expenses and see where you can make changes to start saving extra funds: https://www.schwabmoneywise.com/public/moneywise/essentials/budgeting. They offer great advice and tools, such as budgeting calculators, to give you the picture you need to see about yourself.

Once you start saving, you know you’re on the right path to success! There are all sorts of options, such as the New York College Savings Program (www.nysaves.org). This program even has tax advantages! Additionally, you can check out the program, Upromise (www.upromise.com). This FREE program will help you save more, simply by buying products you already shop for every day! You can find more guidance on savings and money management through http://finaid.org/savings/ and https://www.mappingyourfuture.org/Money/ as well.

Listed below are some Web sites that can provide you with valuable information in planning for college. Don’t wait – start today!

Step #2: Learn about the various financial aid programs out there and see what you can qualify for, and pursue.