Remember:

Whether your child hopes to attend a public or private 4-year college, a community college, or a technical school, there’s a lot you can do as a parent or guardian to support your child in this process.

Prepare for that first tuition bill

The price of college listed on the website is called the sticker price. Don’t let the number scare you! Most families do not pay this price. The price of college to families after financial aid, grants, and scholarships is called the net price. The best way to prepare for paying for college is to have an understanding of the resources available to you and your family.

Here are some of the ways families pay for college:

Savings

The effort you’ve made to save for college will have a significant, positive effect on how you pay for college. Your child’s college savings account will reduce the need to take out loans and limit the financial burden loans may bear on your child upon graduation.

The effort you’ve made to save for college will have a significant, positive effect on how you pay for college. Your child’s college savings account will reduce the need to take out loans and limit the financial burden loans may bear on your child upon graduation.

While your child is still in high school, continue to make saving for college a priority and track the value of your funds. If you haven’t started saving for college yet, it’s not too late! Every dollar saved is a dollar you don’t have to borrow and repay with interest.

Financial Aid

Financial aid helps families pay for college. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) determines eligibility for federal financial aid and most scholarship programs.

Financial aid helps families pay for college. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) determines eligibility for federal financial aid and most scholarship programs.

The FAFSA launches October 1st of the year prior to college enrollment and is available at www.fafsa.gov. Financial Aid typically includes federal grants, loans, work-study, and institutional grants. Federal grants are need-based funds that you do not need to repay. Institutional grants may be need- or merit-based and vary based on the educational institution.

Loans

You or your child may have to borrow additional money to pay for college. Since loans need to be repaid with interest, it is important to only borrow what you need.

There are many different types of loans, and understanding the terms and interest associated with each type is important before making a decision to borrow. The federal government, state agencies, and private banks or financial institutions are the three major sources of education loans. Federal loans tend to offer low interest rates and flexible repayment options, specifically for families with demonstrated need. For more information on loans, check out the College Board’s resources.

Private or Outside Scholarships

A private or outside scholarship is money granted by local, state, or national organizations and businesses. These scholarships are usually awarded on a merit basis. Scholarship money may help reduce loans or pay for school supplies and books.

A private or outside scholarship is money granted by local, state, or national organizations and businesses. These scholarships are usually awarded on a merit basis. Scholarship money may help reduce loans or pay for school supplies and books.

Tips for applying for private or outside scholarships

  • Read the eligibility requirements carefully. Some scholarships are only for students intending to study engineering, or born in the month of May, or the first in their family to attend college.
  • Note the scholarship deadline. You don’t want your child to miss out on a chance to win money!
  • Look for local, state, and national scholarships. School counselors and principals are great resources for local scholarships, but online scholarship databases are helpful in finding national scholarships.
  • Understand how outside scholarships may affect your financial aid package. Check the financial aid policies of your child’s college or university regarding outside scholarships.
  • Keep all application materials. Many scholarships have similar prompts or requirements. Saving essays or resumes as inspiration for other scholarships can help speed along the application process

Student Contributions

Your son or daughter may contribute money from his or her own savings or a summer job to help pay for college.

Your child may contribute directly to tuition fees or use that money to pay for additional costs – like books and school supplies. Depending on your family’s financial aid package, you son or daughter may also enroll in a work-study program. Work-study programs are part-time jobs for students offered as a part of federal or college financial aid.

Prepare your child for lifelong learning

There are many ways to support your child as a learner. These tips aim to help you ensure your child is bound for academic success in high school and beyond.

  • Ensure that your son or daughter enrolls in diverse, challenging courses each year.
  • Make sure your child meets with his or her school counselor to talk about their academic future.
  • Talk to your child about what he or she is learning in school, and check in from time to time on his or her homework.
  • Help your child find and commit to extra-curricular activities that interest him or her.
  • Make note of and help your child prepare for standardized tests such as the PSAT, the ACT, and the SAT.
  • Talk to your child about why learning is important to you. Share what you learn in your adult life, what you are reading, or what you wish you knew more about.
  • Research post-secondary educational opportunities with your child.
  • Discuss the benefits to education beyond high school with your child.
  • Encourage your child to set academic goals every year, and support your child as he or she works towards these goals.