3 Ways to Pay Less for College Outside of Financial Aid

"According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2016–2017 school year was $33,480 at private colleges, $9,650 for state residents at public colleges, and $24,930 for out-of-state residents attending public universities." 

Based on this data, the cost of college education should continue to increase in the coming years. The big question is how are you going to pay for your child's college if you don't believe that your child will qualify for financial aid. This is an even more critical issue for you. The bottom line is that you must have a plan in place. Your plan may need to include a combination of several funding sources such as a 529 plan, loans, or private scholarships. This plan is also known as a college funding strategy. I highly encourage you to set aside time with your college bound teen to create your college funding strategy.

Below are three strategies that should be included in your college funding strategy so that you can pay less for your child's college education.

1. Encourage your teens to prepare for college entrance exams now (PSAT, SAT, ACT)

Yes, your teen should start the preparation process for studying for college entrance exams. Students who score well on these exams can increase their chances of earning merit scholarships offered by their future college or university as well as increase their chances of earning private scholarships (not based on income). Additionally, your child's college entrance exam scores could influence the college admissions decision for your child. The best way to get started with preparing for the college entrance exams is to take advantage of online resources (free and paid) as well as contact your teen's school counselor for resources.

2. Encourage your high school junior and senior to enroll in your state's PSEO program

Contact your child's school counselor and inquire about your state's Post Secondary Education Options program. This program allows high school juniors and seniors to attend a local college and take free college classes (as long as they meet and maintain the eligibility requirements). This also covers the costs of college textbooks. This is a great way for your child to take a few college courses and start college as a second-semester freshman or higher.

3. Search for private scholarships

Did you know that there are scholarships for students that don't require a certain income level? Yes, these scholarships exist and I advise you to encourage your teen to start searching for them today. How do you find private scholarships? Your teen should start the scholarship search in your local community. Local businesses and organizations tend to support their local community including providing scholarships to local students to lower the costs of college for them.

Finally, the best way to implement these cost-saving techniques is to take action today! Talk with your teen today about how you both create your college funding strategy and cut college costs as a team effort