What To Know Before You Enroll
April 12, 2012 | Alliant Credit Union
While your teen buzzes on and on about the possible college he or she will be attending in the fall, you swallow the lump in your throat and think, "Who is going to pay for that?". College tuition is no small fee and many teens don't understand the amount of student debt they are about to encounter. Here are five tips to share with teens before they pack their bags and head to the dorms.
1. College isn't free, but it can be more affordable. Many companies are dedicated to funding the tuition of good students. Sit with your teen and discuss the opportunity for scholarships early in their high school years so he or she is prepared when the time comes to apply for colleges.
2. Community college is a less expensive way to receive credits for required classes. Core classes such as Math, History, Science and English are available at community colleges and are a more affordable and convenient way for college students to save money while still getting a great education before leaving for a university.
3. Take out student loans with low interest rates. Be sure to do your research to verify the loans your teen has applied for have low interest rates. Student loan interest rates vary, so make sure the loans your teen will receive have low rates.
4. Research the occupation statistics before you enroll. Some schools claim 90% of students receive job offers six months after graduation - this doesn't necessarily mean all 90% of those students accepted a position within their chosen field of study. Keep in mind: Student loan repayment typically begins six months post graduation; this is a major element many students overlook.
5. Try to limit student loan debt. Typical rule of thumb: don't borrow more each year than you anticipate earning your first year after graduation. If the estimated entry-level salary for the field your teen has chosen to study is less than $35,000, encourage him or her to keep state schools in mind rather than private schools. This will give your graduate a financial step-up after college to buy a first car or home.
Sources: alliantcreditunion.org, msn.com, newsmax.com, forbes.com
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