It’s that time of year again, no not the summer holidays, but the time when parents start looking for ways to pay for their children’s college tuition. Let’s face it, it’s not an easy time for anyone. And with college costs on the rise, many parents are at a loss at how they will be able to keep afloat. In that case, these four tips might just be what you are looking for:

Working whilst studying can affect financial aid awards

Many students, and parents, think it’s a good idea to get a part time job whilst they’re in college. However, be aware that this extra income, though nice to have, can have a major impact on the family contribution assessment carried out for financial aid awards. This part time salary, though it doesn’t seem significant, will be calculated by Federal Loans and consequently they can offer a lowered loan amount in the following years of college. It is important to take this into consideration before pushing your child into tedious labor that can also affect their grades.


Apply to Scholarships Early to avoid disappointment

You might already know this, but scholarships are extremely hard work and more often than not you are likely to get rejected. Though the marketing around them makes it sound like everyone has a chance, this is often misleading, especially if you are one of the last applicants. If you want a real chance at receiving a scholarship you should start applying even in sophomore year. Moreover, don’t but all your eggs in one basket, apply to different scholarships to increase your chances of getting chosen. The hard work definitely pays off, many scholarships can pay for books and tuition fees taking a load of stress off your back.

Choose courses wisely as changes have a big impact on financial support

An important tip for all parents is to help your child choose the right courses for them before starting college. Not only does this make them feel supported, but it could help you save money later on. If your child drops a course and fails to attain a full time status at the university, federal aid can retroactively change the credit amount for the previous years. This change causes your student to fall into the ‘balance owed’ category, meaning that they are in debt for the difference between a full time student loan to a part time student loan.

Public Assistance Can Restrict Your Child’s Education

Before jumping into the public assistance application forms, do your research on how it can affect your child’s options at college. Students who are granted public assistance from a state agency can be limited in their choice of majors, often restricting them to more vocational courses that lead to occupations such as teaching. This might sound good to you, but check what your child is hoping for in the future, especially if they are interested in the bachelor route as this can be hindered if you choose to apply for public assistance.

Sinead Mcintyre