College Costs: Beyond Tuition

Helping your children pay for college can be a costly endeavor, even if they manage full-tuition scholarships. With many colleges and universities starting up their fall semester this month, here are some tips and options to help you keep your head above water and your kids’ noses in the books.

Buddy Up, Split the Costs

If you’re lucky enough to have your student going to a school nearby - or even far away with a friend – see if you can tag-team the expenses. Renting a two-bedroom apartment near campus and splitting the rent payments can be much more cost-effective than housing the two students separately in on-campus dorms, especially if there’s a shuttle to campus or the kids can share a car.

Also, encourage your student to coordinate with others and invest in a membership to a discount club. This way, they can exercise their social brainpower as well as their growing financial savvy to save a bunch of money by purchasing essentials for the group in bulk and splitting the expense.

Invest in Digital

Especially if this is their first year of college, consider investing in an e-reader for your student. Textbooks are priced outrageously and often you can snag the same content at a fraction of the price if you opt for a download instead of a hardback. Over four years, this can add up to significant savings.

Other options include scouring Amazon and other books dealers for better prices than at the campus bookstore. Even better? Have your student contact the professor and the campus library to see if copies of the required reading for the course are on reserve at the library - for free.

Have Them Work For Their Own Rainy Days

Depending on your child’s propensity for collegiate antics, unexpected costs may crop up that they should probably be held financially responsible for, even if it’s important to you that your student forego the working world to focus on their studies.

You can help your kids find ways to save money without being tied to regular work responsibilities. Help them join freelance sites like PeoplePerHour.com or offer to pay them for help with projects around the house - with the stipulation that the money goes into a rainy day fund. By proactively building a small pool of savings, they don’t have to call you for 2 am cab fare, bail money, or minor urgent care after a YouTube-worthy - yet ultimately irresponsible - round of drunken boxing. Ah, college.

Plus, if push comes to shove, you can always give us a call here at ULCL. We offer personal loans to help you afford any number of financial hurdles while your kids are out there discovering themselves and ideally becoming more knowledgeable and skillful members of society. We wish you the best of luck this academic year and are here for you if you ever need a hand!

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