Paying for college
Paying for college is getting more difficult, but it should be affordable if you plan ahead.
If you have or are planning on having children, you have probably already given some thought to how you are paying for college. This is definitely something that you should start considering as early as possible - especially when the price for a year of education is rising with each academic year. The best way to make sure that you have money to pay for college is to start with a savings account early. However, you should not put your money in a standard savings account - the interest rates that you will get are usually not even high enough to keep up with inflation.
Instead, you should look for a better type of savings account. Certificate of Deposit accounts, for instance, usually give a much better interest rate - especially if you are willing to keep the money in the account for a long period of time. (The longer you keep the account, the higher the interest rate is). You should also consider purchasing bonds or making other investments - not all investments are as risky as the open stock market, and long term investments are generally safer.
Another thing that you should consider when your child is older, and you're about to start paying for college, is that there are a lot of options available for scholarships - and even small scholarships will help. You should start looking for scholarships early, and have your high school student apply to some of the scholarships that apply to him or her.
There are more than just national scholarships available, as well! Most communities have scholarships that have been put forth by groups in the community, or by the high school itself. Essentially, there is nothing lost in applying for a scholarship - so your might as well!
In addition to scholarships, it is also possible for your student to receive grant money from the federal government in order to pay for college. In order to get this money, you'll need to fill out a lot of financial aid forms - but it will be worth it.
Finally, while student loans are dreaded, you should prepare to take a few of them. Luckily, if you use the other advice in this article, you should not have to take student loans for the entire cost of your child's education. Your best option for paying for college is to go with a mix of scholarships, loans, and grant money.
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Jakob Jelling is the founder of www.cashbazar.com. Visit his website for the latest on personal finance, debt elimination, budgeting, credit cards and real estate.