Mid-August is the time of year many kids pack the
U-Haul and head to college. And while they’re excited
about a brand-new semester, it can be frightening to
see the cost—and rising college debt— that comes
with the college experience.
Last school year, in-state tuition at a public university
averaged $9,970 for residents and $34,740 at a
private college, according to data from the College
Board. Some private colleges come in at over
$75,000 a year. (And yes, private college might not be
worth that extra money.)
Before you panic, here are ideas for how your
student can increase their income, boost their
financial aid, and cut expenses.
Reduce student loans
The class of 2018 graduated with the most student debt ever, an average of $38,390, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Borrowing $2,500 less in student loans each year
equates to $10,000 over four years. If instead, you
take out an extra $10,000 in Federal government-backed Stafford loans at, say, a fixed 6.8% interest,
you pay $115 a month for the next 10 years. That
$10,000 ends up costing you $13,812—a big burden
even with repayment plans.
Avoid taking out more student loans than you need,
even if you’re eligible. Make sure you take out the
subsidized loans before the unsubsidized loans.
Avoid private student loans at all costs.
Yes, that means extra work between courses,
research papers, and case studies. The rewards,
though, are well worth the effort.
Your child doesn’t need a full-time job along with a full
course load. They can look into part-time jobs that
offer flexible schedules so they rack up paid hours
around classes. If working for someone else doesn’t
appeal to them, they can create their own work with a
Not only will your child earn cash to help with college
expenses, but they’ll also earn valuable experience to
put them ahead of the pack when starting a career
Reapply for scholarships and grants
If you were denied before, try again. A lot can change
in a semester.
If your child brought up their grades, for instance, they
might now qualify for tuition help that they applied for
before but missed. Check with your department chair
for scholarships for upperclassmen in your child’s
Did your child lose their scholarship? They should
focus on studies to boost their grade point average.
Teach your child to live within their means and use
student loans exclusively for college expenses. Frugal
living means seeking inexpensive alternatives instead
of automatically springing for the most expensive
option. Instead of trying to live alone in a two-bedroom apartment off-campus, for example,
encourage roommates (or even live at home).
Use school facilities and discounts
Most colleges have great amenities that students
often ignore. Many services they may need might be a 10-minute walk from their living space—and they already
pay for these services with tuition.
If there’s a gym on campus, there's no need to pay for a gym elsewhere. If their laptop stops working,
contact the campus Information Technology
department for a possible cheap repair. Not feeling so
great? Head to the school healthcare center.
Don’t forget that a college ID can score discounts to
events both on- and off-campus: plays, museums,
movies and more.
Four courses (12 credit hours) per semester won’t get
your student walking across that stage, diploma in
hand, in four years. And the more semesters they
stick around, the more everyone pays: even if tuition
is fixed, per-semester fees often go up steadily.
Don’t forget about opportunity costs, either. The longer
your child stays in school, the longer before they start
their career and secure a salary, delaying future
Gently push your child to do what they need to do to
graduate in four years. That includes having them
stick to a major and, if possible, take summer
classes and use advanced placement credits from
high school to finish earlier.
It takes a lot for any college student to hold a side job
or get through school as fast as possible, but if your student does the hard work now, their
future financial self will thank you for the lack of debt.
Important Disclosure Information
This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.
You are about to leave the Synovus web site for a third-party site
Third-party sites aren't under our control, and we are not responsible for any of the content or additional links they contain. We don't endorse to guarantee the goods or information provided by third-party sites, and we're not responsible for any failures or inaccuracies. Third-party sites may contain less security and may have different privacy policies from ours.