Monthly Archives: June 2015

From a 2015 College Graduate: Saving Money in College

My nephew Nick graduated from college this year, and his brother Chris will graduate this December. Over the weekend while we were visiting them, I noticed that although they mentioned a number of friends with big student loan debt, neither of them had any– and in fact, Nick has money left from his college budget to help pay for grad school. Their parents set a target for how much they would pay for college; anything beyond that was the student’s responsibility. Here is Nick’s account of how he graduated from the University of Washington in three years with money leftover in his budget: Continue reading From a 2015 College Graduate: Saving Money in College

529 Plans and Off-Campus Housing

Is your student planning to live off-campus this fall? If so, you can still use funds in your 529 plan to pay for room and board, but you may not be able to cover 100% of the cost from your plan. Be sure to ask your school’s financial aid office what the off-campus room and board allowance is because that’s the maximum “qualified” expense, regardless of what you’re actually paying for room and board. Be careful not to budget– with withdraw from your plan– based on on-campus housing costs because the numbers could be considerably different. For example, standard on-campus housing and a meal plan at the University of Oregon costs $11,430 for the 2015-2016 school year, but the off-campus qualified amount is $9,930.

What to Expect in Merit Aid

Merit aid is by far the most desirable form of student aid: it typically comes in large amounts and in the form of grants and scholarships. But figuring out in advance how much aid you’re likely to get can be difficult if not downright impossible. So how you do, as a parent, help your student find a good merit aid package before they get their heart set on a college? Continue reading What to Expect in Merit Aid