Preparing for college savings early

NEW YORK (CNN) – Families with college students are already navigating the costs of tuition and textbooks for the fall semester and it’s not always easy. However, parents of high school students can be taking steps to ease that burden before acceptance letters arrive.

“Have a conversation. Be open. Be truthful and honest about what’s realistic, what you want to do and what your heart is set on, but do it early and make decisions as a family,” said Mary Morris, Chair of College Savings Foundation.

Morris says it’s never too early to have those types of honest conversations. Even though parents may feel like they want to protect their children from family finances. The conversation doesn’t necessarily have to include a household’s hard numbers, but can touch on some broader ideas.

“Think about what you might want to do when you come out of college and how much money you’re likely to make and let that be your guide on how much debt you’re willing to take on,” said Morris.

High school juniors and seniors should read into the specifics of federal and private loans, especially, the terms of repayment.

“A lot of students really don’t understand what they’re getting themselves in for and it is a long term commitment so be careful,” said Morris.

That research can be crossed off the checklist before a student makes a final commitment, so families can move past the question of where to get funding, and turn the focus to planning how they’ll pay it back.

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