How to Make College More Affordable

The two fastest-rising costs for the past 10 years in-a-row are health care and college

CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) The two fastest-rising costs for the past 10 years in-a-row are health care and college. If you stay healthy and fit, you could avoid hospital costs, but how can you avoid skyrocketing college costs? Paul Hemphill, College Planning Expert and Author of “How to Win The College Game,” shared ways to make college more affordable.

Making College More Affordable 

What is the maximum out-of-pocket I am willing to pay for my child’s college education?

The answer forces you to focus on making common sense choices of those colleges that can meet your budget. Once you’ve decided, for example, that $10,000 is all you can afford each year, then create a list of in-state STATE colleges that will likely fit your maximum out-of-pocket. The answer to this question alone will tell you that you can afford a college education.

Can taking summer college courses save money?

Yes. Big time! Ask your college advisor what credits can be transferred to your college from a local college near home. Summer classes at that college can cost up to $1,000 per course, but the same course at the private college you are attending can cost as much as $3,500. Taking 2 summer courses can save you as much as $2,500 per course! Do this for 3 summers in a row – starting the summer BEFORE freshman year – and you can graduate from college six months earlier and be in the work force six months earlier than your classmates. It will communicate a work ethic every employer dreams about.

Should I put aside any money for a private SAT tutor?

Yes! Allow as much as $1500 or more for a good quality tutor whose track record shows an average 200-point increase in scores. Higher SAT scores can mean a lot more grant money because the college sees your higher scores as increasing their SAT average. A higher average means the college can be more selective and charge future students more. You have given them a financial incentive to bribe your student to attend their college.

How much should I spend on my child’s college expenses?

Nothing. Tell your child all expenses have to be paid from their summer jobs and jobs during the school year. I did it with my 2 sons and saved over $30,000 over 16 semesters (2 students X 8 semesters each over 4 years) by making them responsible for their own expenses. On both of my son’s resumes – after graduation – was the following statement: “4 years of money management experience” and both were offered jobs after every interview.

How can a parent spend absolutely nothing for a 4-year degree?

Your child can commute to a community college for 2 years on a Stafford Loan, which they sign for – not you, then transfer to an in-state STATE school as a commuter and have the same Stafford Loan pay the last two years. The student has loans and the parents pay absolutely nothing. Down side: the student lives at home another 4 years; upside: you continue to “bond” with your child for another 4 years!