How can I help my child pay for college?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

How can I help my child pay for college?

Wendy Smith

How can I help my child pay for college?

If affordability is high on your value list, the good news is that there are ways to attend college without depleting savings or taking on exorbitant amounts of debt. First, don’t get caught up with the rankings. There are still many gems that may not be household names, but which provide a high quality education and offer money to students they hope to attract.  Many people are often surprised to learn that only a handful of highly selective schools do not offer some form of merit aid. 

Most schools use a portion of their financial aid resources to shape each class, hoping to entice students to attend who will help the college meet its enrollment objectives.  If your son or daughter is not a straight ‘A’ student or did not ace the standardized test, do not despair.  Not all schools are hoping to draw the super high academic achievers. That is why it is important to research the colleges to understand each school’s objective, its typical applicant, and how your child might compare. Students who are most honest with themselves about their true strengths and talents, and who are willing to research multiple options are most likely to uncover affordable opportunities that might not otherwise have been discovered. 

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

How can I help my child pay for college?

Every family's financial situation is different, so there is no one answer to how to help a pay for college. In some cases, a parent is able to set up a college account early in the child's life so that money is available for college at the right time. If financial aid is a possibility or necessity, a parent should fill out and help file forms in a timely manner, so the parent must be aware of deadlines. Colleges are very good about posting the expected cost of attendance, and both parent and student need to be aware of those amounts. In some cases where a family is able to provide some financial assistance, there may be loans made, but repayment terms and conditions need to be clear. Sometimes, working parents set up a transfer mechanism to a student's bank account when it is time to pay for expenses for books, food or other expenses. The parent should be clear about budgets up front.

王文君 June Scortino
President IVY Counselors Network

How can I help my child pay for college?

Have a plan two years before financial aid application. find out how much is the total cost and find out your own financial aid qualification the gap between needs and qualfication can be solved by parents plus loan pick the right college can save money

Helen Cella

How can I help my child pay for college?

Fill out the FASFA and CSS Profile if applicable

Nicholas Umphrey

the decision..

No, not LeBron James. Although I know he's not worried about money, in fact, he's never even had to worry about college. It is more than likely your kiddo is not in this position. File the FAFSA in JANUARY. It is usually not until March or April that financial aid award letters come back and the real decision is made. The hope is that you get a lot of scholarship offers, but the reality is that student loans are becoming a part of the college experience. I rationalize this by saying it is an investment in your future. The suggested amount of loan debt for a student should not exceed their annual income in their profession in their first year out of college. So if you are a teacher, social worker, or any other low paying professional, you should not have more than $30,000-$40,000 in debt.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

Saving early is key but researching F.A. options is equally important

The types of financing are as follows: Savings, Jobs, Work-Study, Grants, Scholarships from federal sources, Scholarships from institutional sources, Scholarships from corporations or private organizations, Federal Loans (Perkins, Stafford and Parent Plus) and Private Loans. Make certain that you file your FAFSA online in January. Help your student research possible scholarships. Be aware of loan options.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

The Bank of Mom and Dad

Anything you can do to keep your child from going in to debt while in school is fabulous! Even if you feel your student needs to "own" their degree, if you could offer them an opportunity to pay you back, interest free, that would be a bonus. There is nothing wrong with having a campus job. Studies show that a busy student is a better student, so don't fall for the "I don't have time" excuse. Make earning good grades their "job", which may result in scholarship opportunities. Every family has different circumstances. Consult with you financial advisor early on in the process, so you are prepared when the time come.

Pamela Hampton-Garland
Owner Scholar Bound

Paying for college.

Well, I can share a few things that works in general and some things that worked personally for me. General: apply for as many scholarships as possible prior to enrolling and after enrolling. Scholarships are available continuously all of the time so putting in a little due diligence can help make the cost more conceivable. Also, having your student ask for on campus work opportunities; every area of the school uses student workers and they do not have to be work study students Personally: one of the most expensive parts of the school cost is (board or food), so after the first semester of paying more than $10 per swipe for a designated number of meals and realizing that my dollars were swiping in other students; I cancelled my daughter's meal plan and simply put dollars into her account. Often times she and her friends did not eat on campus and at the end of the semester you do not receive the unused portion of that meal plan back. That saved me thousands over the past 4 years. She is a senior and has not had a meal plan since first semester freshmen year. "That was just my way to make it more affordable." Additionally, she remained on campus all 4 years which alleviated the burden of outside expenses like utilities that she would incur if she moved into off campus housing. It was much cheaper and now she graduates with a maximum of $7000.00 debt rather than $20,000.00 and that includes studying abroad in Greece.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

How can I help my child pay for college?

The most direct way you can help is to have been saving, putting away as much as possible for as long as possible, beginning long before anyone was really giving any thought to college. However, but with the continuing rise in the cost of higher education even the most diligent savers may come up short and so you should also be sure to do all the paperwork—the government FAFSA forms and the College Board’s Profile are the primary ones—necessary to be considered for financial aid. There is more available than many people think but you cannot be eligible if you do not apply. Too help your child find a part time or summer job. The money can be helpful and the development of the additional sense of responsibility can also be valuable.

Carita Del Valle
Founder Academic Decisions

How can I help my child pay for college?

You can give them a debit card loaded with money for books and supplies, a local retailer card (Target?) for laundry soap and save up your miles/points for plane tickets or bus fare. On a larger scale, you can entice your child that at the end of each semester you will pay a portion of the tuition bill (student loan at this point) if they are successful in their classes.