Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Starting Late at College Savings

So you haven't saved enough to pay for your kid's college education? Well, if it's any consolation, you're not alone. A study by Sallie Mae, the country's largest source of funds for higher education, found that parents of high schoolers applying for college had saved less than half of what they needed to cover their expected expenses. What's more, one in five hadn't saved anything at all.

So what's a Foolish mom and dad to do? Well, it's never too late to get smart.

Make sure Junior isreallyready to go to college. Less than half of the students at four-year colleges or universities actually graduate. Before plunking down (or borrowing) tens of thousands of dollars, make sure that this is really something your child wants. A year off in the real world, waiting tables or delivering pizza, may be just the ticket to convince your Kerouac-wannabe that college might be worth it after all.

Choose a cheaper school. Weigh carefully the true benefits of a private school against the cost savings offered by a larger state school. A college degree is an investment. Will a psychology degree from Snooty U. really be more valuable than a psychology degree from State U.? Will it be worth six more years of debt to pay for it? Only you and your child can answer that. But the burden of debt after school is a compelling argument.

Attend a school close to home. As an in-state student at a public institution, your child will not only pay a reduced tuition but also will probably be eligible for financial aid earmarked for townies. Also, travel expenses and long-distance phone bills add up, especially during the first year, when homesickness may be more pronounced than later (when your kid realizes that he doesn't really miss you that much after all).

Think creatively. Why not go to a community college for the first year to get the more generalized courses out of the way at cost savings of 50%? Or take some classes online? Hundreds of colleges and universities now offer classes over the Internet, and most charge in-state tuition whether you're a resident of that state or not.

Look for co-op/intern programs. Many schools offer co-op programs where Junior can go to school for one semester and then work in his field for a semester. It may take him a little longer to finish his degree, but when he gets out he'll have experience in what he studied. He'll also have some money in his pocket, and possibly a job offer from the company where he interned.

Savesomething. See if you can set aside a little bit, even if your offspring is only couple of years from college. Whatever you can sock away now is less that you'll have to cough up later.

For more on digging up dollars for a diploma, see an earlier article on paying for college at the last minute. Also, drop by our College Savings Center or check out The Motley Fool's Guide to Paying for School: How to Cover Education Costs From K to Ph.D.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 506966, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 5/31/2016 12:42:28 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 17,789.67 -83.55 -0.47%
S&P 500 2,094.73 -4.33 -0.21%
NASD 4,938.07 4.56 0.09%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes