Did you know that September is College Savings Month? It’s never too early (or too late!) to start saving for college! Here are a few general savings tips:
- Start saving as early as you can. However old your children are, if you want to help fund their college education, start saving. It is never too early, or too late, to start saving for your child’s college.
- Find more ways to save: Analyze your spending to see if there’s anything you can cut out to increase your savings. Finding ways to save and making cuts can really add up over time.
- Automate your savings:The simplest way to start saving is to make it easier on yourself. See if you’re able to automatically deposit a portion of your paycheck into a college account or any savings account for that matter.
- Prioritize your finances:The world doesn’t stop for college savings, nor does the rest of your financial needs. You need to pay off any debt, especially any credit cards or other high-interest debt. You also need topay off your own student loans (if you have any), establish an emergency fund for yourself, and save for retirement as well.
What happens when you just can’t financially help?
Sometimes the dream of paying for your child’s education is just not within your reach. Or maybe, like some parents, you want your child to pay for their own education to learn how to stand on their own feet and become independent. Either way, there are still things you can do to reduce their student loan debts and how much they’ll have to pay.
- Motivate them in high school.Work hard to encourage them and keep them motivated during high school. The better grades they have, the more likely they’ll be able to receive scholarships. High grades can also mean they’re eligible for advanced placement courses, which can count toward college credits and therefore reduce the amount of tuition owed. Also encourage them to volunteer and participate in extracurricular activities to increase their chances of getting scholarships.
- Encourage them to work through high school.As soon as they can get a job, encourage them to do so. This may require your participation, such as driving them to work or helping them fill out taxes when that time rolls around. Have a discussion about what percentage of each paycheck should be put toward college.
- Help them apply for scholarships.When the time comes, encourage and help them to apply for scholarships.
- Teach them about student loans.A vital thing you can do for your child is take the time to teach them about financial aid, student loans, what they’ll owe upon graduation, and what that will mean for them in the long run. Help them keep track of financial aid deadlines and make sure your child fills out the FAFSA. This conversation can lead to ways to reduce their student loans while still in school, such as encouraging them to stick to a budget, not misuse student loans, and picking an affordable college to start with.
Citizens Bank Minnesota does have a scholarship opportunity where we award two or more scholarships each year to local graduating seniors who will be attending post-secondary education. Scholarship America performs the selection process and administration. This program was instituted at Citizens as a way to show our commitment to the community and our belief in today’s youth. Citizens plans to continue this tradition for years to come!
You can find out more information about our scholarship at http://www.citizensmn.com/personal/real-life-investors
By: Sarah Seifert, Marketing Assistant/Youth Club Coordinator