For many of us, one of the biggest expenses that we’ll have is paying for our own or our child’s college education. Personally, I knew that I wasn’t going to have a “Free Ride” during college. Although I played Division III college basketball, I still maintained 4 jobs in college and used the tutoring services so that I could qualify for as many academic scholarships as possible and to pay down some of my student loans before I graduated. According to the College Board, statistics show that over the past 30 years the average annual increase for college tuition has ranged from 3-5% above and beyond inflation(Consumer Price Index). I recently had the chance to interview Mandy Ginsberg, CEO of Tutor.com/former CEO of Match.com, about the different ways to help students save and pay for college. Below are a few tips that Ginsberg shares with our readers.
“Save Big” Ginsberg says. Many people transition from paying for day care to sending their child to public school. These amounts if saved and invested properly over time can fully pay for tuition costs
Secondly, Ginsberg shares “In addition to ‘Saving Big’ people should consider ‘Saving Little’. Small amounts of money can help”. As a CFP®, I completely agree! Suppose you saved $5 a day for the next 18 years, grew it 5% annually, you’d have approximately $53,269. You’d have to give up 1 Starbucks coffee a day, but it might be well worth it in the long run.
Another point that Ginsberg and I discussed, was to involve kids early on for their college planning. “No one wants to be surprised with a large bill once they graduate”, Ginsberg says. In working with my own clients, some of the best meetings are when the student is sitting in on the meetings. Typically we’re having an active discussion about how they will help pay for their college planning. This can also lift any shame or pressure the parent(s) are feeling.
Also, consider investing into your child’s education early on through tutoring sessions for certain classes, Advanced Placement (AP), ACT or SAT exams. “By getting the extra help it can increase the likelihood for higher scores and potentially qualifying for academic scholars” says Ginsberg. Many people should explore free programs for face to face tutorial sessions at their local library, school programs, or consider using online websites like Tutor.com. Also, while students are in college, they should consider visiting the Career/Academic Services office on campus,colleges typically provide sessions free of charge to college students. Here’s an example of Georgia Tech’s website: http://www.success.gatech.edu/tutoring.
Lastly, Ginsberg and I agree that it is important to have a strategy in place when it comes to saving money for college. She suggests meeting with a financial advisor. In personally working with clients, I think that it’s never too early or too late to start planning. There might be things that you’re not aware of that can help you Breathe Easier® about life!
Cristina Briboneria, CFP®, ADPA®, AWMA®
Vice President, Private CFO®
oXYGen Financial, Inc.
Request a FREE consultation: www.oxygenfinancial.net