How to plan ahead for your
child’s college costs
COURIER LIFE, APRIL 16-22, 2021 21
If your son or daughter is a high school senior
this year, you’re probably in the midst of applying
to colleges right now. There’s a lot for everyone
to think about - where to apply, the steps
involved in the application process and of course,
the fi nances.
This year things are certainly more challenging.
A recent College Ave Student Loans survey conducted
by Barnes and Noble College Insights looked
at how the pandemic has changed the approaches
most families are taking to paying for college. Over
half of the survey respondents (56%) reported that
their fi nances have been negatively affected, with
58% of those families using their savings more than
expected, 43% putting off big purchases and 29%
leaning on credit cards. Financial setbacks like job
loss have caused many families to seek alternatives
to help pay for college costs.
While you’re planning for your child’s education,
it’s important to fi gure these additional costs into
your overall fi nancial picture. Paying for college is
not just about tuition, so it’s a good idea to be prepared
for additional expenses - and know your options
for reducing those costs or covering them.
Room and board
Paying for a dorm room and meal plan is a big part
of student expenses. For freshman year, some schools
don’t allow students to live off-campus. Make sure to
fi nd out the rules for schools your son or daughter is
applying to and discuss your family’s preferences.
Some students may choose to live off-campus and
rent an apartment.
If room and board or off-campus housing isn’t covered
by fi nancial aid, those costs can be covered with
student loan funds. And some students save money
their fi rst year or two by enrolling in a local college or
university and living at home.
Textbooks and supplies
Books and supplies can cost hundreds or even thousands
of dollars each year depending on your area of
study. You can use student loans to help cover the purchase
of a computer, books, required class supplies
and school-related fees.
Research ways to save on books. Most schools offer
used textbooks as an option in their college bookstores,
or you can often fi nd used textbooks online. In
some cases, you can rent expensive textbooks
Consider the costs to commute to school every
day - parking, gas or public transportation. Don’t
forget to factor in any trips home throughout the
year that might require a train or airfare.
It’s essential to know the full cost of attending
college when your family is making plans together.
Adding these further costs to tuition, you
may find that the grants or scholarships your
child is offered, on top of federal student loans or
work-study options they may be eligible for, will
not cover everything for the school year. Unexpected
expenses can also come up, such as unanticipated
fees or supplies, or a roommate bailing
on a shared apartment.
If your son or daughter needs additional funds,
one option is getting a private student loan through
College Ave, which offers competitive rates and a
three-minute application. Families have choices
about when to start making payments and how
long to take to pay back the loan, making it easy for
them to balance a monthly budget while minimizing
the total cost.
— Courtesy of BPT