This past week, regular decisions began rolling out from colleges and universities around the country. With them, financial aid packages. With both those important decisions, parents are beginning to look ahead to the fall and how they will pay for this expensive education.
In addition to tuition, room and board, there will be travel expenses, clothing, dorm supplies, textbooks and entertainment. Each year, these expenses will increase. How can parents put a vice grip on their wallets by controlling college costs apart from all the incidental expenses?
I gave my best advice to Collegiate Parent recently in the form of four simple tactics:
- Take advantage of scholarships.
- Apply for financial aid.
- Borrow wisely.
- Graduate on time.
To find out just exactly how these tactics work, read the article. But these four tactics alone can save you thousands of dollars over the next four years of college.
Other savings tips
In addition to saving money on basic college costs, parents can save even more on tuition, room and board and incidentals by taking advantage of these five cost-saving tactics:
- Get credit for AP or IB courses in high school
- Become an RA after freshman year
- Use the bare minimum student meal plan
- Take advantage of student discounts
- Rent, buy used, or exchange textbooks
- Spread out your tuition payments
Get creative. Save on dorm accessories by sharing with roommates. Book hotels and travel in advance of parent’s weekend before the rates skyrocket. Teach your student to budget wisely before leaving for college. Encourage your student to work part-time during college to contribute to the college expenses. Studies show that students who work manage their time wisely and study more.
Every little bit helps when it comes to paying for college. By using these simple cost-cutting techniques, you can protect your savings and help your student control costs.