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College Is Expensive -- Here Are 3 Ways to Make It Work

Aug 18, 2007
Whether your children are still young or old enough to go to college, paying for school is a challenge. While the returns on an investment in education are usually huge, you don't want to spend a fortune on college if you don't have to. Here are a few things that might help keep your costs down.

If your children are young, consider signing up for uPromise. This website offers a great way to help you finance your child's education. Consumer guru Clark Howard says, "The method is similar to airline frequent flyer programs with member merchants and companies contributing credits to your personal saving for college account when you use services or purchase products."

It's free to sign up and the site offers ways to increase your savings over time. When you've accumulated rewards, you can have them deposited in a college savings 529 plan. The site has several to choose from. According to Clark Howard, the only downside to the plan is if "you end up spending more with member merchants than you would elsewhere just to get the account contribution. You need to look at the site as a win-win and shop wisely to receive the ultimate benefit." So it's important to be careful not to let this tool become something that actually costs you more money.

Clark also "suggests that you talk with your son or daughter about attending a 2-year community college program and taking an additional 3 years to complete the remaining two years while working part-time. Attending a community college just about cuts the cost of a 4-year degree in half. Stretching out the remaining two years to work will also provide savings benefits. Another way to save is to complete a 4-year degree in just three years." Earning college credit through high school AP classes or other means is a great way for your child to cut down the amount of time it will take him or her to earn a degree.

And, finally, make sure your children go to college to learn skills with which they can make a living, or at least to learn thinking skills and disciplines they won't learn elsewhere. If your children go to school to party, socialize without studying, learn a hobby, or learn something they could learn on their own, then college is a waste of money. You want any money you spend on a college education to be an investment, not an unnecessary expense.
About the Author
Steve Kroening writes for Success magazine and also publishes Wisdom's Edge. You can get Biblical tips on health, finance, relationships, parenting, and success, delivered to your email inbox every week. Simply visit http://www.wisdomsedge.com and sign up for this free e-zine.
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