Sticker Shock: Creative Ways to Lower the Cost of College

 

Even with all of your savvy college shopping and research about financial aid, college costs may still be prohibitive. At these prices, you expect you’ll need to make substantial financial sacrifices to send your child to college. Or maybe your child won’t be able to attend the college of his or her choice at all. Before you throw in the towel, though, you and your child should consider steps that can actually lower college costs. Although some of these ideas deviate from the typical four-year college experience, they just might be your child’s ticket to college — and your ticket to financial sanity.

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Paying for Graduate School  – Calculate the costs

Before you jump into investigating graduate school funding sources, the first thing to do is calculate how much your education will cost. Along with direct billed tuition and fees, make sure to add in collateral expenses that won’t show up on the bill, such as room, books, commuting costs, day-care expenses, and so on. And if you plan to give up your job, factor in the time you’ll be without a paycheck and the time it might take you to find a new job. Once you have a cost estimate, it’s time to look for the money.

Following are some suggestions on where to look for financial help.

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How can we save for retirement and our child’s college education at the same time?

 

Answer:  It’s seldom easy to achieve a balance between saving for your retirement and saving for the ever-increasing cost of a college education within your present income. Yet it’s imperative that you save for both at the same time. To postpone saving for your retirement means missing out on years of tax-deferred growth and playing a near-impossible game of catch-up. To postpone saving for college means possibly significant borrowing and years of student loan payments. In a perfect world, you want to contribute to each. But to accomplish both goals, you may need to compromise.

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