By Patty Gallagher
Even from the time your child enters high school, teachers and advisors are beginning to prepare your children for higher education. The idea that your son or daughter is going to graduate might seem far off then, but by the time he or she enters junior year the prospect starts to get real.
All of a sudden, you start researching the cost of tuition—between $21,000 and $23,000 for one year at Connecticut’s state schools—and wonder how you’ll be able afford higher education. But don’t be alarmed by the sticker shock. There are ample resources available to your family to ensure your child can get a college degree.
Here are just a few ways you ensure your child earns a degree without you having to empty your savings account.
- Financial assistance: Click here to check out the scholarship finder in the left hand column of the Milford Bank Learning Center. By entering your child’s SAT, ACT and GPA, as well as the state where he or she wants to go to school, you can receive a free customized scholarship report detailing available funding emailed to you directly—and at no cost. You’ll also find educational resources to learn about student loans and grants.
- Take introductory classes at community college: Many course credits earned at community colleges will satisfy the basic requirements of degrees at more expensive schools. Learn which credits will transfer, have your child complete a semester or two at community college, and then begin applying to other schools.
- Apply as a commuter: Half the cost of tuition goes to paying to live in dorms on campus. Based on the average state school tuition, your child could commute from home and save your family roughly $900 per month. Even if he or she is adamant about moving out, a $500 per month apartment near campus would still help your bottom line.
- Make minor lifestyle adjustments: If your student is just entering junior year of high school, that means you have roughly two years before they head off to college. That’s 730 days of expensive lattes, going out to eat instead of dining in, and all the other expenditures that seem trivial until you add up the costs. By making minor lifestyle adjustments—even if just for the next two years—you can give your savings account a sizable padding.
- Select an investment vehicle: There are many ways to invest your savings. Some accrue interest more quickly than others. Speak with a bank representative about your student’s goals, your timeframe and the amount of money you’re looking to save and you’ll be able to find the right strategy for your family.
The sooner you start planning for your child’s future, the easier time you’ll have when that future becomes the present. Come down to any Milford Bank branch location and start earning your education on saving for college today.