Last-Minute Financing for College
By Megan Morrow
Published May 18, 2017
If you have some unexpected gaps in your college financing or have a child opting for private school over public, the price tag can feel daunting. According to the College Board
, a moderate budget for in-state public colleges averaged nearly $25,000 in the 2016-2017 academic year, while private college budgets nearly doubled that figure.
While many grant and scholarship deadlines have passed, there is still time to raise money to defray college expenses this fall. The following tips can help you increase your savings in a short period of time:
- Talk to your financial advisor about education tax benefits. The American Opportunity Tax Credit, Lifetime Learning Credit and Student Loan Interest Deduction can provide valuable tax credits for families.
- Speak to your financial advisor to start saving as soon as possible. While this article is focused on last-minute tips, it is always wise to consult your financial advisor to start saving just as soon as you can. If you are running against the clock, you may only have a year or so to gather the funds you need for tuition and other education related expenses, but your advisor can offer guidance to help you maximize whatever savings you start.
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). While it is recommended to complete this federal financial aid form in January, the federal government will accept FAFSA forms on an ongoing basis. While completing the FAFSA requires some serious time and attention, students can receive low-cost student loans of at least $5,500, as well as potential qualification for Pell Grants. Even if you choose not to accept a student loan, this document informs your school of your particular financial needs.
- Talk to your college’s financial aid office. Even though most school funds will already have been distributed, it never hurts to check. Ask the office about rolling funds, grants and scholarships that may still be open at this later date. In addition, the financial aid office may have further ideas regarding funding resources.
- Seek out scholarships with later deadlines. Procrastination rarely pays when it comes to scholarships, but there are some companies and nonprofits that are still doling out funds for the upcoming academic year. Search for late-deadline scholarships that may apply to your particular situation or talents.
- Look into summer work and work-study programs. Every dollar counts when it comes to paying for college. Whether it is work with a temporary agency or a summer job painting houses, students can contribute to their educational and living expenses. Likewise, most schools have work-study programs that ask students to work a few hours a week to help pay for school expenses.
Ultimately, it is never too late – or too early – to start planning for college financing. Once you have a handle on the expenses for the upcoming year, start planning and preparing for next year so that you do not have sticker shock when the 2018 tuition bill arrives.
Meet with an Advisor
These tips will help guide you in a pinch, but it is always wise to prepare and save early versus procrastinating. Speak to your HJ Sims advisor to refine your existing portfolio or to start an investment account that is dedicated to future education expenses.
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The material presented here is for information purposes only and is not to be considered an offer to buy or sell any security. This report was prepared from sources believed to be reliable but it is not guaranteed as to accuracy and it is not a complete summary of statement of all available data. Information and opinions are current up to the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. The purchase and sale of securities should be conducted on an individual basis considering the risk tolerance and investment objective of each investor and with the advice and counsel of a professional advisor.
The opinions expressed by Ms. Morrow are strictly her own and do not necessarily reflect those of Herbert J. Sims & Co., Inc. or their affiliates. This is not a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell any particular investment. All investment involves risk and may result in a loss of principal. Investors should carefully consider their own circumstances before making any investment decision.