How to Navigating Over-Budget College Options
Deciding on a college can be a challenge for all involved. Especially navigate the higher-budget college options. Students may have to make a decision that will affect the rest of their lives. But parents can also feel the pressure of their child’s decision.
It can be hard to know how to handle your child’s desire to attend an expensive college. Here are some helpful steps you can take before, during, and after making the big financial decision about college.
Before: Discuss and Plan
Before deciding on college, you should make a plan. Everyone involved in the college’s decision-making process should sit down and discuss the options. The discussion should allow all parties to make their contributions to the conversation. This helps everyone to prepare not only for the big decision itself, but also for the next.
This decision was considered a partnership
Your child enters the adult world, and with that comes difficult decisions. This includes difficult financial decisions. Offer to sit down at the table and talk to your child about his choices and the financial implications of those decisions.
Talk to your child about his options
Even if your child wants to attend a college (focus on desires) that costs ten thousand dollars more than the other colleges on the list, don’t ignore all the other options.
Make a pro/cons list for each of their top college options and see the financial side of each list. Doing this can show your child that the negatives of this financial burden outweigh the positives of the organization. Or, second, it can help you as a parent realize that extra funding is worth a long list of positives for school.
When you sacrifice in one area of life, you may have to sacrifice something else. For example, deciding on more expensive school fees could mean a cheaper living situation, no big spring break trip, or no extra job. Setting expectations early can help prevent disappointment later when something big comes up.
Create a college savings plan
It’s never too early to start planning and saving for college, especially if you know it’s going to be more expensive than you thought. Creating a savings plan can make it easier to achieve college funding goals.
During: Budget and Apply
Making a big financial decision isn’t just a one-time thing. There are usually many small decisions in one big decision. Not only will you decide which college your child goes to, write a big check, and never think about money again. For most people, you will still need to take steps to reduce your financial burden after making the decision. Children especially will need help when it comes to figuring out how to pay for university if you have limited ability to support them. Budgeting and planning help navigate college options on a budget.
Set a budget with your child
Once you have decided, it may be wise to set a budget with your child. Budgeting is a great skill that many adults use, so why not introduce it to your child at a young age to build good habits for the future.
Tuition fees will be the biggest cost, but there will be other big expenses as well. For example, room, dining, books, food, and gas are some of the more expensive items to consider.
Apply for loans, grants, or financial aid
Student loans, scholarships, and financial aid are all great options that can help fund college. Remember that not all of your money has to come from one place. Apply for as many financial opportunities as possible and see what opportunities are best for your child. This can be done before and during their time in college.
If you and your child are still looking for these things, Wonderluhst can help you find scholarships and find student loans. Scholarships and loans are great ways to cover the initial cost of college and can range from small to large amounts. The challenge with scholarships is that they are sometimes hard to find and receive. The challenge with loans is that they must be repaid with interest in the future. Let us help make your scholarship search a little easier and help you find the best rates on student loans.
After: Review and Review Again
After you make the decision and pay the money, you can always review and reevaluate your plan. If the financial plan you have is no longer working for you and your family, you can make some adjustments.
Transferring to a college is cheaper
Another way to reconsider is to go back to the original list of colleges and help your child choose the cheapest option. If a year or two at an expensive college isn’t worth the extra money, consider an affordable institution.
Refinance your student loans
Often a common change people make after college is to refinance any student loans they may have. In this way, we hope that you and your child will get a loan at a better interest rate.
Everything about college is a big step, finances included. Navigating high-budget college options can be challenging. After all, the financial factor of a college can sometimes be the deciding factor when it comes to choosing a college. Knowing what to do when you can’t afford college can feel paralyzing. The college you or your child is interested in can easily be ten thousand more than the next college on the list. But don’t let that stop you from slowing down and thinking about options. There are many things you can do at any time on your child’s college trip that can help them make informed decisions about their college experience and future.