5 ways to make college saving a cinch
Another way to unconsciously save cash is to enroll
in a college savings rebate program. Modeled
after credit card rewards programs, college
savings rebate programs such as Upromise
offer parents, as well as friends and relatives,
automatic rebates of up to 50 percent (though
most rebates hover in the 1 percent to 5 percent
range) just for shopping at affiliated retailers.
Both programs are free, and all money saved
is directly deposited into a 529 college savings
plan, allowing families to save money without
even realizing it.
the family involved
Sandy Morgan, a former school teacher who
footed out-of-state tuition bills for her
post-grad son and her daughter, a current
senior at the College of Charleston, recommends
making saving a family affair. "Both
of my kids pitched in on their own, so they
never had to ask for spending money when they
were in school," she says. "My daughter
worked as a resident adviser for three years
and that also helped cut down on room and
Encouraging students to become a part of the college
savings process is not only financially beneficial
in the short term, it also teaches students
how to live on a budget, avoid debt and be
conscious of the funds flowing in and out
of their bank accounts -- all life skills
they'll need both during and after college,
says Neale S. Godfrey, author of "Money
Doesn't Grow on Trees: A Parent's Guide to
Raising Financially Responsible Children."
"With having the kids contribute to college, you're making them understand that they should also be responsible for their future," Godfrey says. "Forty percent of these kids return home after graduating because they are unable to live in the real world on a real salary. College itself does not train them to financially live outside the nest."
Godfrey suggests making the student responsible for footing part of the tuition bill. For her children, that meant ponying up one year of tuition. But she offers several ways the student can fulfill this financial obligation.
"It seems like a whole lot of money, but students can pay for (school) with loans, scholarships, grants, AP courses that reduce the amount of courses they have to take. I worked with one family where the kids started cutting coupons and by the time they went to college, they had $1,000. That's a huge deal."
Godfrey also recommends encouraging students to take on summer jobs, to invite children to strategize on how to reduce household bills and to offer paid chores they can complete in their leisure time.
The key to making this strategy
work is to start early, letting students know
what their financial obligation will be before
they enter high school so they'll have adequate
time to prepare. "Raise them thinking
that this is something that they're going
to participate in," she says. "Make
them understand that college is a wonderful,
wonderful privilege, but it's very expensive
and that's something they need to be engaged