Make Financial Planning Part of Planning for College

College Gurl tells you the steps to take this summer

A post-secondary education is one of the most significant investments a person can make in his or her life. Because of that, planning for college may be an exciting time, but it may also be a daunting if you don’t have the funds to pay for it. Early planning is critical to your financial success.

Providing for your family’s financial security is an important part of the college planning process, especially since many students and families don’t know the annual cost of college. The first step in seeking a post-secondary education is financial planning as a family. Together you can understand how much a college education costs annually, and what you can contribute to your child’s education or your own.

To reduce debt and unpaid balances, many institutions are now requesting that, before the semester begins, students provide a financial plan that spells out their plans for financing their education outside of the financial aid, loans, or grants they’ve been awarded from the school.

Having a secure method of payment on file plays a big role in your matriculation. Many schools will not let you register for classes, unless you’ve paid off your account balance. If the prospective institution does not see that you have resources secured, you may be denied enrollment.

Use this summer to create your to-do list. The list will keep you organized so you can more easily follow up on information. Moreover, keeping track of what you or your child needs to do to secure funds is important to your financial security.

Here are some tips to follow:

  1. Use your downtime wisely.
    Take the summer to prepare for the upcoming school year, especially if you are a parent of a rising high school senior. Research costs of attendance and review your finances to see what prospective schools might be financially feasible for your family. 
  1. Begin saving!
    It is never too late to start saving, as every little bit counts. Research 529 Plans, savings accounts, Education IRAs, and savings bonds.
  1. Find scholarship and internship opportunities.
    Scholarships help offset education expenses by providing funds that do not have to be repaid; an internship will provide professional experience and potential awards that may be used to pay on your student account.

For more information, visit www.collegegurl.com.

This post was written by Jessica Brown, founder and CEO of College Gurl.