(BPT) - College costs can add up quickly. Not only are you and your child paying for tuition and fees, but you also have to factor in room and board, textbooks, extracurricular activities, the child’s personal expenses and more. For nearly three in four families (72%), the cost of college is more than they anticipated, according to a recent College Ave Student Loans survey. Costs families found surprisingly high included college tuition and fees (72%), room and board/rent and food (68%), school and activity fees (45%) and books and supplies (44%).
Good news: even if families find themselves short on cash, there are multiple, last-minute funding options available. Some of those include:
1. Submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
If your child hasn’t already, filling out the FAFSA should be every student’s first financial action item. Submitting this form will determine the amount of financial aid your child is eligible to receive, including grants, work-study and federal loans. In addition, some colleges rely on the FAFSA to help determine eligibility for certain merit aid.
2. Contacting the school’s financial aid office
If you find you are falling short on covering college costs, reach out to your child’s financial aid office. In many cases, they can lay out different funding options and help you or your child figure out a tuition payment plan. Especially if your circumstances have changed, your family may also be able to appeal their original financial aid offer. Each school has different options and policies, so contact yours to see what’s available.
3. Applying for last-minute scholarships
Encourage your child to continue to look for scholarships. According to the same College Ave survey, of those parents helping their child pay for college, grants and scholarships rank as the number one way families cover college costs (70%). Scholarships can cover from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, helping to lower the cost. They can also come from a wide variety of sources, including the school, private organizations, non-profit organizations and more. One easy one to apply for is the $1,000 monthly scholarship sweepstakes from College Ave.
4. Shopping for student loans
One of the best ways to get immediate financing to pay for school is by taking out a loan. If you’ve exhausted federal loans in the student’s name, private student loans can be a viable option.
"Private student loans are there for families who need extra financing for college," says Angela Colatriano, Chief Marketing Officer, College Ave Student Loans. "Do your research – not all private student loans are the same. Shop for one with a simple application, flexible repayment terms, good interest rate, and great customer service.”
College Ave offers private student loans that fit your needs, goals and budget, with competitive interest rates and flexible repayment options.
5. Encouraging your child to seek part-time work
If your child has the ability to, working a part-time job while attending school full-time may prove to be highly beneficial to them. Not only can the extra wages from a job help them cover school or living costs, but it can also help your child become a better student. Reports show students who work a part-time job during school end up getting better grades because balancing work and school can help them with time management.
6. Having a candid discussion with your child about costs
Most parents can’t outright pay for college, which is why it is so important to paint a clear financial picture for your child before they head off to college. Being forthright about the costs and your funding plan can help your child understand their financial responsibility. Be clear about who is paying for what and if you or your student are planning to borrow, who is going to repay the loans. Starting them on the right track early can help them avoid unnecessary financial stress in the future, which means peace of mind for both of you.
Some tips to consider when preparing your kids for college include teaching them how to build a basic budget and savings plan while leaving room for discretionary spending.
Find out what’s available for you
With so many unknowns, it can be hard to plan for everything when you’re budgeting for your child’s college education. Luckily, if you need last-minute help, there are multiple options available to get the funds you need. Check out www.collegeave.com to find competitive loan rates and flexible repayment plans. With a simple three minute application, you can breathe easy knowing you have college covered.