Among the apples-to-grapefruit aspects of planning for college costs is the substantial differences in what’s included in Cost of Attendance at different schools. All schools will quote costs for tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies and personal expenses. But often, those are just a starting point.
Saving & Paying
Perhaps the most frequently asked question we get is how to balance saving for retirement and college. And I can’t answer that in a blog post because the right way to balance depends on your specific circumstances. We have told clients to pause retirement savings to meet college years cash flow needs, we have told clients to stop funding college…
A recent Sallie Mae study shows that on average, parents begin saving for college when their child is 7 years old. This makes sense: it’s right around when a child transitions from preschool or full-time daycare to full-time school, so for many families it’s the first time that they have any financial breathing room.
Many families think there’s no point in doing the FAFSA because they assume they don’t have financial need. That reflects a fairly limited view of the FAFSA; in fact, there are plenty of good reasons why every family of a student who’s even potentially college-bound next year, regardless of the family’s financial position, should do it.
It’s time for my annual financial aid presentation at my kids’ high school. This year the topic is Five Questions for College-Bound Students, which your families might also want to discuss.