How to Save Money on Your Child's College Education

Updated on February 3, 2019
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Dreamworker holds a BA and MAT that she was able to earn for reasonable cost using the ideas shown in this article.

It’s common knowledge that getting a college degree can be extremely expensive to the point that graduates could possibly be left with debts that can take years to remove.

The problem, however, is that without a degree the average person will find that it is difficult to find employment that pays well.

This issue is worsened by the fact that costs continue to rise as time passes, so unless someone gets lucky, has special talents or develops his own successful business it will be very difficult for him to compete with individuals who hold college degrees.

Parents who understand all of this and who want the best for their children’s futures therefore need to find ways to provide affordable ways to send them to school.

A good place to start is to purchase a guide such as The Ultimate Scholarship Book 2019. As both a teacher and college admissions representative I have often advised young people wishing to attend college to use this book to help them find scholarship and grant money because it offers an extensive array of options for those seeking financial assistance. It is well organized and user friendly and is a resource that can save potential college students huge amounts of money.

However this is just one resource people can use in order to reduce their college costs.

 A guide that will help parents find ways to reduce the costs of sending their children to college.
A guide that will help parents find ways to reduce the costs of sending their children to college. | Source

Invest in a Prepaid Education Plan

One of the best ways of doing this is to find out if your state offers prepaid education plans.

If they do, as soon as a child is born, parents can sign up, pay a set amount every year and as long as the child attends an in state four year university, however much the parents paid covers tuition costs.

Ideally the child would attend a local four year college so that he could live at home and defray the costs of having to live in a dormitory.

Have Your Child Attend an In-State Public School

It is always going to cost less for a student to go to a public college or university that is located in his home state as opposed to private because publicly supported schools always charge less for tuition.

For example, the 2018 University of South Florida tuition costs $6,410 per year for in state students, but for those coming from out of state it is $17,324.

As noted above, it is always less expensive for a student to live at home rather than in school housing as you can see if you click on the above link and check out the information on the chart.

A quick Google search for four year colleges and universities in your state will give you some idea as to what you’ll have to pay.

Have Your Child Attend a Community College

Few people realize that the courses students take during their first two years in college are basically the same no matter where they go to school.

They also may not understand that most colleges and universities accept the degrees and credits that students in these schools earn, which means that when they transfer to a four year school, they can earn a degree by attending for only two more years.

Therefore, they can reduce the costs of their schooling significantly.

For example, for the 2017 year Hillsborough Community College charged $2506 per year for in state students and $9111 for out of state students.

If you compare thus the cost for an in state student for two years for tuition would be $5,112 as opposed to $12,820 for those same two years at USF. This represents a savings of $7708!

Some states have started to charge nothing for two year schools. If this trend continues, parents could save even more.

Also, it is much easier for students to gain entry into community colleges, students leave with two year degrees and generally are able to transfer their credits to a four year school so that they can complete their educations.

Sending a child to a community college for his first two years of schooling can save parents thousands of dollars.
Sending a child to a community college for his first two years of schooling can save parents thousands of dollars. | Source

Have Your Child Go to School Part Time

Another option is for students to attend part time. The long term costs would be the same, but doing so would mean that it would take longer to graduate.

At the same time, the student would be able to work full time and earn enough money to pay most or all of his own expenses on an “as you go” basis.

These days many colleges offer online and evening classes that are especially designed for those who cannot afford to attend school full time.

The results are the same either way, but the affordability can make the difference between being able to attend school or not.

Have Your Child Work at a University

A variation of attending school part time is for students to find employment at the university or college of their choice.

This is a great plan for people who cannot afford to pay tuition because most schools provide huge discounts for employees or children of employees.

For example, USF offers an Employee Tuition Program that completely waives the cost of tuition for any full time employee of up to 6 credit hours per semester!

This is a great deal for anybody wishing to earn a degree because it places them in an educational setting full time, provides secure employment with good benefits and provides a totally free education!

Find Grants and Scholarships

Families who wish to do so can apply for loans, scholarships and grants that will help pay for their child’s tuition.

You do not have to repay the amount provided through grants and scholarships, but you do have to repay loans.

However, most loans are given at low interest rates and are not due until after the student graduates.

When I went to college I took a loan that I was able to partially repay over five years following graduation simply by becoming a teacher!

Information about all of these options is available through any school’s Office of Student Financial Aid, but using the above mentioned guide can be very helpful as well.

Don’t think that your child needs to be horribly bright or especially talented to get scholarships and grants because there are all sorts of these financial vehicles available, and each has its own requirements.

Thousands of dollars sit idle every year because students didn’t feel confident enough to apply for them, but many are available if people will only ask for them!

Reduce General Costs

It’s important to note that tuition is just one cost that students have to pay to be able to study at colleges and universities.

However, in many cases they can reduce expenses by doing things such as

  • living at home,
  • carrying their lunches,
  • buying used books,
  • selling books back to the school or on Amazon.com after having used them,
  • using public transportation instead of insisting on buying cars and
  • working part time as assistants to professors or student tutors.

I did all of these things when I went to college, and they really helped my parents financially.

Other Cost Saving Ideas

The attached video provides even more ways for families to save money such as

  • having a child take advanced placement courses while still in high school to reduce the number of credits needed to graduate from college
  • seeing if schools offer discounts for doing things such as paying for the entire year of schooling up front,
  • asking about tuition waivers that might be available to families of parents who work in civil service, are veterans or have worked in the Peace Corps,
  • taking heavier course loads in order to graduate in three years instead of four,,
  • taking summer classes if tuition costs less at that time and
  • more.

This video is loaded with creative ideas, so do take the time to watch it.

Where There’s a Will There’s a Way

The key to making any of these plans work is for students to do all they can to earn good grades and parents to plan well in advance of the time when their children will be attending a university or college.

It also helps for families to be realistic.

  1. Not everybody gets into universities but most can qualify to go to community colleges.
  1. The Ivy League schools are extremely picky when it comes to accepting students, and they are grotesquely expensive. However, they often provide full scholarships to students who meet certain criteria.
  1. A young person can get an outstanding education at any college or university, so it pays to investigate and apply to as many as possible.

The bottom line is that those who really want to become educated can use one of the above methods to help them do so.

It is up to parents to do their homework so that they can afford to provide good educations for their children.

No matter how people choose to educate their children, the end result will always be the same, so they should start now to make plans that will help their young to become more successful in life..

Would you be willing to use some of these ideas to pay for your child's education?

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    © 2019 Sondra Rochelle

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