It’s only natural to want what’s best for your children, and that often means giving them the best education possible. In today’s economy, it is no secret that a college degree is pretty much a pre-requisite for any successful carreer (although there are of course exceptions). However, the costs associated with higher education are often high.
The best course of action is certainly to set up a college fund for your child, usually in the form of a saving account to play it safe, or with alternative investments. The earlier your start putting money aside, the less you’ll be overwhelmed when your child comes up with the tuition fee of $60,000 for a year at Yale…
Of course, not everyone can afford to put aside a college fund for their children. However, there are alternative ways to support your child should he decide to undertake undergraduate or graduate studies.
The first step you need to take is to help your child look for the vast number of scholarships available to students today. If not everybody can get a full scholarship, it is a good idea to set a goal to reach – for example, enough to pay for housing throughout his studies. Keep in mind that there are many types of scholarships out there: some come directly from the universities, others are based on academic achievements, sports, extra activities… In the United States, scholarships are also sometimes set up for particular ethnic or cultural backgrounds. So between public and private organizations providing financial support for education, there are many options to look at. Be sure to study them all.
With or without scholarship, your child will probably have to take a student loan. This is not necessarily an easy task, so be sure to support him and not hinder his attempt by not being able to act as a cosigner. Make sure to keep your credit score in check and to pay your debts so that you can support your child in this decisive moment.
Finally, keep in mind that your child will be responsible for his finances throughout his study. He will most probably need a credit card of his own, so it is important that he understands the importance of managing his own finances. After all, a running joke on campuses these days is that ‘If Jesus turned water into wine, I managed to turn my student loan into vodka.’ You certainly want your child to avoid that, and for him to clearly understand that his credit card is for emergencies or necessary items, such as textbooks.
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Indeed, the best you can give your child is not a fund, but a solid grounding on how to manage his own finances and act responsibly. He will thank you for it, and hopefully leave college with a degree, not having turned his student loan into liquor.