Sometimes I feel like I was just preparing for the SAT and filling out college applications myself, then I realize that my little girl with be taking the SAT herself before long! Naturally as a parent, I think about the rising college education costs and I try to plan ahead to meet them. This post is sponsored by Country Financial who reminds you that it just takes simple steps to reach your goals.
College Education Costs Rising Steadily
There is almost no way to know the exact price tag for your child’s college education since you probably don’t know what college they will select or what course of study they make take. However, there are some ball park numbers you may wish to know and some college education costs tends.
When considering the cost of your child’s college education, don’t forget to include tuition, fees, housing meals, books, and school supplies. Using these numbers, the College Board reports that a “moderate” college budget for an in-state public college for the 2016–2017 academic year averaged $24,610 and the moderate budget at a private college averaged $49,320. Wowzer!
Parents from all walks of life are understandably concerned about the rising costs of tuition in the US, but also increasingly in UK (where a lot of my readers are from – Hello Blighty!) where fees have been steadily rising at unprecedented rates.
I have been spending a lot of time thinking about this conundrum – sharing the worries of countless other parents about how I too will be able to afford to not only pay for my children’s tuition, but also their room and board while they are in higher education. I firmly believe that a part time job is possible (and valuable!), even with a full course load, and will help to cover the costs of spending money – but what about the main costs of a university degree?
The cost of a good university education in the US can top 40 thousand dollars a year, and can easily reach 20 thousand pounds in the UK. What can parents do to prepare for this financial burden? Set aside a family day and do some planning as a family! Here are a few tips that I have been researching lately that will hopefully make planning for your kids’ university a lot easier over the years.
A College Education Is Still Worth It
I know I want my kids to go to college and be well educated. I want them to be confident and have that sense of accomplishment. It is also important to me they they don’t have to struggle financially and going college offers a huge leg up there. As the only one of my siblings that finished college, I tell you I have it way easier in the work field than my siblings who did not and I make way more money. According to USA Today, “Americans with no more than a high school diploma have fallen so far behind college graduates in their economic lives that the earnings gap between college grads and everyone else has reached its widest point on record…College graduates, on average, earned 56% more than high school grads in 2015.”
This CNBC article has a great chart showing the rising costs of college education over time but the bottom line is, a college education is invaluable in my eyes. OK, if you must place a value on it, US News says, “Among millennials ages 25 to 32, median annual earnings for full-time working college-degree holders are $17,500 greater than for those with high school diplomas only.” Over 45 years that adds up pretty significantly.
Plan Ahead To Be Prepared
I think most parents would like to see their children go to college. Despite the rising cost of a college education, it is still clear that your average college graduate has far more earning capacity than your non graduate. Most of us want our kids to reap the personal growth of the college years as well as to be set up for a better income. The challenge that stumps many of us parents is how and when to start saving for college.
So, maybe you are like me, full of hopes and aspirations for your children to become anything they want to be. You want to make sure to prepare them and encourage them. And you are pretty sure the path to their dreams includes getting a college education.
My daughter isn’t sure what she wants to be but she thinks maybe a rocket scientist could be cool. Well, I think she would be a fantastic engineer and so encourage her to do well in math and science. I buy her books about Space and take trips to the Space Center. Furthermore, I help her believe in herself and her abilities. I show her space movies and introduce her to friends in that field.
I tell her that college will be such an amazingly fun time for her- full of hard work and great friends. An opportunity for her to learn more about what moves her and a chance for her to get the tools to meet her goals. She is an amazing girl and I want her to have every opportunity. I want her to work hard now and earn scholarships. This is the best kind of financial aid because it doesn’t have to be repaid. Scholarships and grants are available from at the federal level, the state level, from private companies, and from the colleges themselves. Tennessee (my state) has the HOPE scholarship for entering freshmen with a minimum of a 21 ACT (980 SAT), and an overall weighted minimum 3.0 grade point average (GPA).
However, I also want to be able to help her achieve her goals. That is why I save for college. In the UK and the US, many private financial institutions offer savings plans that cater specifically to parents who want to save for their kids’ future. In the US, a 529 plan or Roth IRA are both worth looking into, and those in the UK should consult with their banks and financial advisors.
When To Start Saving For College- #TakeSimpleSteps
When did I start? I started when my children were born. I have to tell you we didn’t have a lot to start our savings but I did what I could. We have tried to increase the amount we save in proportion to our increasing ability. The most important thing is to start with whatever amount you can and try to get into a regular habit of depositing more. You know that a little bit saved consistently can grow a lot. The benefits of saving early are huge when it comes to actually reaching your goals and letting compound interest help you reach those goals.
The best way to save for college is to start now. The more you save for college over time, the less you’re going to have to borrow later or the less you’re going to have to shell out as you’re working. Plus, certain college savings plans offer large tax benefits which can help you reach your goals earlier as well. When you are ready to get into the knitty gritty of how to save for college, the experts at Country Financial can help you take simple steps to start to save money for college.
Parents want only the best for their children. We want to provide children with guidance and help where we can. I don’t want to have to sacrifice a lot later so I am planning and saving for college early. I hope this answers some questions about how to save money for college and reminds you to get started early and make consistent deposits so you can reach your goals. Have you started saving for college yet?
While the rising college education costs can seem overwhelming, don’t panic. It is important to remember that college educations come at many different price levels. Additionally, financial aid and scholarships can greatly reduce your cost. The most important thing a parent can do to prepare to meet the college education costs rising is to start saving early and consistently. Did your parents make sacrifices to help you pay for college? Have you started college saving yet?