A college degree is an amazing achievement. The more education you receive, the better your chances of landing that dream job and earning a good salary. Still, the rising cost of tuition has many families struggling to save for college and prepare for this major expense.
According to Sallie Mae, only 56% of parents are actively saving for their child’s education and they have an average of $18,135 saved. Based on information from College Board, this amount is just enough to cover one year of tuition, fees, and room and board at an in-district, two-year public college.
Although the financial implications can be intimidating, don’t let them discourage you from attending college and furthering your education. Follow these tips to help you save for college and you’ll be on your way to responsible, long-term financial management.
APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS
If there’s something that you excel at, why not get rewarded for it? Scholarships are useful grants that can help you pay for your education. You can qualify for scholarships based on academic or athletic achievements but there is a wide variety of scholarships available for local and international students.
START SAVING NOW
Just like with any investment, the sooner you start saving, the more time you’re giving your money to grow. Opening a savings account means that your money has the ability to make you more money. Starting a savings plan and stashing your cash as early as possible will make your long-term financial goals easier to reach.
Time really is money thanks to compounding interest!
If you haven’t started working on your long-term financial plans, no problem. It’s never too late to start saving so you can have money in your account when those plans become more concrete.
THINK ABOUT LIVING EXPENSES
Keep in mind that housing and other living costs vary by location and how close the location is to campus. Dorms and other student housing options can be expensive at some colleges — so do a little research. Determine the average rent prices in nearby neighborhoods and find the option that works best for your budget.
Another way of saving is to try cooking at home instead of going out to eat every other day. You’ll save some money and learn a few new skills!
FIND THE RIGHT JOB
If you’re looking for a job to pay for those college expenses, make it count and seek out positions that align with your academic goals. Apply for jobs that provide work experience closer to the environment that you’ll find yourself in post-college. Not only can you find something that pays above minimum wage but you can also grow your network and find connections that can help you land a meaningful internship in the future.
Another possibility is to find a campus job that offers certain perks that help you keep your living expenses down. Most work-study positions offer flexible schedules for your classes and there are no extra commuting costs since you’re already working on-campus.
OPEN A SAVINGS ACCOUNT
Saving for college means that you’ll need a safe place to keep that money and GECU is here to help you reach your goals. You can start accomplishing more with the tools, encouragement and support of our savings accounts. GECU offers free online and mobile banking so you can set up automatic transfers and easily move funds between your accounts — plus, a competitive interest rate and no monthly service fee so you can start growing your money right away.
Federally insured by NCUA, GECU has the tools and solutions that you need to save for college. Visit gecu.com today or call 778.9221, toll-free at 1.800.772.4328, to see how GECU can help you save and find out how easy it is to become a member.