Saving for college can have a very different meaning depending on the current age of your future student. No matter where you are, this guide to planning for college provides information you should be aware of:
From the time you are expecting through the first years of elementary school, college may seem many years away. Time passes quickly though, and college costs are increasing an average of 5 percent annually. Here are some things you should know:
If you've already begun saving, now is the time to ensure your plan is still on track to meet rising tuition costs. If you haven't begun saving, it isn’t too late to start. Even if you can’t save enough to cover tuition at this point, any amount can help offset the need for loans.
Hopefully, at this point, you are well on your way to saving for college. If so, continue to re-evaluate your savings plan regularly and make any adjustments. Your student can also contribute through summer or part-time jobs. If it appears your savings will fall short or you have not begun to save, there are numerous funding options you should be aware of, including financial aid and scholarships.
Financial aid for college students is available through four resources: the Federal government, state government, colleges and universities, and private organizations. To qualify for many types of aid, you should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov in the second semester of senior year and annually thereafter. The deadline for submitting the FAFSA can vary, so it is best to submit it early in the year, as most federal and state aid is limited and awarded on a first come, first served basis.