Higher education is a goal for many young adults. College can open the doors to new friendships, fun experiences and rewarding career opportunities. It's also a significant financial decision, especially as tuition prices continue to climb.
If you're a parent of a college-bound student, you might be wondering how to help your student choose a school. How can you help them find a place where they will be happy and receive a quality education—without being burdened by too much debt?
Follow these tips to help set your child up for success:
#1: Start planning early
It's never too early to start the college planning process as a family. Discussing college early can help motivate students to focus on their academic goals as well as extracurricular activities. It also can give them time to consider their interests and potential career options.
Parents can get ahead by putting funds into a 529 plan or other college savings account. As a family, you can start to research colleges together and schedule visits later in high school. Planning ahead can make the entire process much less stressful!
If you're just getting started with college planning, be sure to check out Wright-Patt Credit Union's (WPCU) free resources and keep an eye on our event calendar for upcoming college planning webinars and seminars.
#2: Use tools to compare colleges
Once your child has applied and been accepted to college, the next step is deciding where to go. This stage can be exciting and overwhelming all at once. It's important to carefully compare the pros and cons of each option to make the decision that's right for your family. Luckily, there are tools to help!
All WPCU members have free access to Edmit Plus, a digital college financial advising platform that offers personalized college decision support tools, financial aid and scholarship estimates, scholarship search tools and more. Best of all, it's free for members!
#3: Be smart about paying for college
Many parents want to help their children achieve the dream of higher education. But if it comes down to choosing between saving for your retirement and paying for college, it's best to choose your retirement.
Putting your retirement needs ahead of your kids' college plans is not selfish; it's wise. If you don't save enough for your retirement, it will place a greater financial strain on your family in the future. Remember, there are scholarships, grants and loans for college, but not for retirement!
If your student is facing funding gaps after lower-cost sources of financial aid have been applied, WPCU's Student Choice private student loan could be a smart solution. This option offers a competitive rate with flexible repayment terms from a lender you trust, your credit union.
Make college planning a little easier!
Wright-Patt Credit Union is here to help your family make informed decisions so planning, saving and paying for college is a little easier.
Let us help you explore your options to fill educational funding gaps and make college more affordable. Schedule a one-on-one appointment with our College Access Counselor or ask a question anytime.
The views expressed by Edmit are not necessarily those of WPCU. This article contains a link to a third-party website and clicking on the link will take you to a website not operated by WPCU. This link is provided for your convenience only and WPCU is not responsible for the content of third-party websites. Privacy and security policies of the website to which you are linking may differ from that of WPCU.