The Big Expense: College Financing Tips

A college education is one of the wisest investments a person can make— think of how much more earning-power comes with that seemingly magical piece of paper. Not to mention the personal growth that develops alongside it.

But college is expensive. Let’s reiterate that: college is expensive. The costs of education rise disproportionately to the rate of inflation, and because demand is so great, post-secondary institutions will charge as much as the market will bear.

Are you panicking? Don’t. There are ways to save and ways to cut costs:

Save early. A wise maneuver is to start a college fund for someone as soon as they are born. Taking investment risks early on can lead to big gains later, helping combat inflation.

Try a 529 account. A new savings method, the 529 allows for tax-free growth and withdrawals, specifically for going to college. However, a penalty waits if the child in question does not attend school.

Let’s say a student and her parents have been saving along, and now she’s been accepted into Bankrupt U. Apparently, no other school offered a comparable program for a lower price.

They’ve talked with their B.U. financial aid officer and received a few grants and a scholarship, but they need to use student loans to cover the remaining costs. Are there still ways to reduce their expenses and take on less debt?

Yes! Even little cost-cutting measures make a difference:

Take AP courses in high school. Fortunately our student challenged herself early on, and has received enough course credit to eliminate a whole semester of college, possibly even a year.

Shop for housing. Our student learns that B.U.’s dorms are a better deal than the local town’s apartments, even though she has less privacy.

Transfer from community college. Bargain Tech offers courses that can transfer to Bankrupt U., so our student enrolls in a couple over the summer for a significant price break.

Consider a tuition installment plan. By breaking tuition payments into smaller amounts, our student’s family can build college into their budget less painfully.

In the end, their loans are smaller, and the student has less debt look forward to after graduation.

How are you saving and cutting costs?

Alexander Carl

Alexander Carl

I find it difficult to brag about myself. Too modest? Perhaps.

Anyway: my name is Alexander Carl. I am a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I spent four blissful years earning a degree in Communication Studies. Now I face the real world of economic downturns, student loans, and the absence of “academic” camaraderie.

Yet I refuse to be bummed. My economic philosophy is to live simply, save, and maximize whatever I can. Consumer culture is undeniably pervasive, but you don’t have to sell your soul to co-exist with it— there is great power from using your economic resources wisely.

I started writing when I figured out how to hold a pencil. Since then I’ve written short stories, poetry, screenplays, and have blogged. In fact, three of my screenplays have been produced into short films, two of which I directed. I’m no stranger to the media, having served as a DJ at a freeform radio station and worked as a crew member for live TV.

Pastimes include traveling (I’ll visit virtually anywhere), swimming, jogging, hiking, and hunkering down with a good movie.

Overall I’m a peaceful person, though not in a creepy New Agey way. I get my energy from music, good conversation, and the outdoors (I was an active Boy Scout, earning my Eagle). I consider myself “inquisitive” and “wry”, and for the sake of autobiography I’ll assume that I am.
Alexander Carl

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