Americans owe a massive $1.5 trillion in student debt, with the majority of students almost guaranteed to leave college with their fair share. Set your child up for success by financially preparing them for college, such as helping them to secure the best student loan to suit them and encouraging them to work alongside their studies to become financially stable.
Securing a student loan
70% of college students need a student loan to pay for their education, so it’s best to assume that your child will and plan accordingly. A private loan can be a good option, particularly if you’ve already borrowed the maximum amount allowed for federal student loans. You should compare the best private student loans to see what will be best for your child, such as whether a fixed or variable interest rate will be best, how much you need and how long you think you’ll need to pay it back. This can be difficult and overwhelming for a child to take in to begin with, so talk to them about how loans work, the process of getting one, and paying it back before they need to apply for it. This can mentally prepare them and make it a lot less stressful.
Getting a job
Getting a job in the summer before college can help your child to start saving some cash that can go towards paying for their education and expenses. Once they start college they can work a few shifts to fit in around school work. It’s important that they learn how to balance school with a job. Not only will they be earning money, but they’ll be learning about responsibility. Prior to getting a job, you can help your child to earn some pocket money by helping out around the house, such as giving chores different monetary values. Pay them at the end of every week or two so that they get used to working and having to wait to be paid so that they learn how to manage their money.
Get started on college work early
See if there are any Advanced Placement (AP) courses available that your child can take while they’re in high school. This can help them to earn college credit, resulting in less courses in college, which means it will cost less. Some colleges will be impressed by students with completed AP classes on their applications and may offer grants and scholarships as a result, which will save your child a lot of money. Encourage your child to look into AP classes in their last two years of high school to give them time to enroll and complete work. Similarly, your local community college may offer college classes where the completed coursework can be transferred over to the college your child goes to. These classes are often cheaper and help your child to get head, so are worth looking into.
Teach your child from an early age the value of money so that when the time comes to looking after their own finances and credit rating they don’t struggle. College can be a big change and overwhelming for a lot of people, so make sure your child isn’t stressing over money too.