US College Funding Gap Grows

In the UK, the stories of debt and huge overdrafts for students is something we’ve come to expect. Of course, these have grown since tuition fees have been introduced so how do students in the US cope, after all they’ve always had tuition fees to pay.  Well it turns out the story is relatively similar, and although Americans are saving more than ever for their further education it isn’t nearly enough.

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Most Americans save into something called the ‘529’ plan, so named because of the tax code it is associated with.   Although this isn’t the only way to fund a college degree, it is one of the most popular routes.  In a recent survey it was discovered that the average value of this fund was approximately $20,000 a sizable amount and up considerably over the last few years.  The problem is that in the US this isn’t nearly enough to fund a college education in the vast majority of states.

The rise is of course good news, and is largely due to some increase in tax benefits – the fund is tax free if it’s used for tuition fees.  The improvement in the economy has also helped with values of stocks and shares linked to these funds starting to grow more significantly over the recovery.  These increases have softened the blow slightly but it still represents a huge shortfall in the real cost of college.

The costs for a college education of course vary significantly depending on where you go and where you study.  However even the cheapest costs, tuition fees charged to in-state students, combined with room and board come to $18,000 nearly enough to wipe out the whole fund in less than a year.  If you choose an out of state private school then this figure is even higher and a figure double that cost is required.

Most experts consider the costs to be worth the future employment benefits and the fact that funds are rising is good news.  Any amount that can be saved reduces the overall costs and means that interest will not be payable on any further debt.  It still represents a huge financial risk for students and their parents though which many are having second thoughts about.  The problem is that students need to think carefully about their future employment prospects before moving into study.  Many courses and skills don’t offer the increased reward that graduates expect.

Lots of people are also starting to consider distance learning, where a degree can still be taken in large reputable universities all over the world.   For many you don’t need to change your IP address like this or sign up from specific locations anymore, the courses are truly global.  The main advantage is that of cost, they are normally much cheaper for students and they can be taken from home saving on boarding and accommodation costs.  There are drawbacks of course, the ‘social element’ is reduced somewhat but many of these courses offer weekends throughout the term when students can get together.

James Hallows

The NInja Surfer

 

Some Useful Suggestions on How Parents Can Pay For College

If you’re a parent wondering how you’re going to be able to afford to send your child to college, this article will provide you with some useful suggestions. For most parents, though, college is considered a necessity, which is why you want to find some way to make it feasible. It’s essential, though, to be as thorough as possible when thinking of ways to make college more affordable.

Anyone that has children in high school, at some point, needs to get them ready for college. All of this preparation will help them qualify for scholarships and grants, plus the college that they want to attend in order to get their degree. You should impress upon them how important it is that they prepare for the ACT or SAT tests and do as well as possible on them. They could be eligible for more scholarships if they can get a high enough score. Any extracurricular activities that they can participate in will look good on scholarship applications they put in. The things that they look for our school activities such as vice president of the student body or involvement with clubs of any sort.

The availability of grants and scholarships is quite plentiful even though people are not aware of most of them. Criteria for qualifying for scholarships and grants may vary, but need and merit top the list in regard to accessibility factors. Perhaps you were going after a particular career, or maybe you have the right last name. These are all qualifiers for certain forms of funding for school. Some books on scholarships are available. You can also go online to discover what your child may qualify for in terms of this type of funding. By researching little-known scholarships, your children can apply for them and more than likely be awarded the funding. Remember also that even smaller grants and scholarships are worth applying for, as they can add up.

Teaching your kids the skill of budgeting money is something that you should impart with them before they leave for college on their own. Some kids learn how to manage money at an early age. Most kids like Mom and Dad to do this for them as budgeting money is not their forte. It is important to teach your children about budgeting – the sooner the better! You need to be able to stick to a reasonable budget during their time in college. It really depends on their spending habits, and there are some parts of the budget that are simply going to be there until they graduate. Make sure they keep track and are able to access their balance online, for those studying abroad there are some good proxy sites which can allow access. The budget that they have should be curtailed to conform with what you can afford to provide.

College is something that is going to be very expensive for any parent, but it can be made affordable to some degree. Parents need to play a role in helping their children choose the appropriate college by doing research early on. You are investing into your child’s future, not just paying a bill, so keep that in mind. This article has shown you some ways to make college affordable which will, hopefully, help you keep money in your bank account.

Keith Devlin

Citation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzwP5Y2tyms

Is America Saving for College?

If you have children and any sort of aspiration for them, then you’ve probably thought you should be saving towards paying for college for them. But the facts are showing that people are doing little about it or perhaps just trying to avoid the issue.

It’s not really surprising, in the current economic climate, many feel fairly lucky simply by just paying their bills and keeping a roof over their family’s head. Investing money for the possibility that your children would like to go to college ten years from now is something that’s easily put off.

Unfortunately in order to make building a college fund affordable then it’s important you start as early as possible. It’s not as if the value of a college education is diminishing, most reports and surveys show that it’s still one of the best investments you can make for your child.

So are Americans saving for their children’s education? Well at the moment the average saving fund for a US citizen for the dreaded college fund is about $15,000 which is certainly up from a few years back when the recession cut levels to around $11,000. Unfortunately this is not enough to finance most college courses.

The problem is that many parents don’t really do the sums, they just try and save. However when you start adding up the costs of tuition, room and board, vpns, books and supplies the total cost can be extremely surprising. Which is why that the reality for most students is leaving their college and graduating with some level of student debt. But the reality is the more you save the lower that debt is likely to be, which can make a huge impact on your children’s future.

Graduating with a few thousand dollars in debt is much more manageable than the thirty thousand dollars plus that many students find themselves having to borrow to complete college. Many students are additionally considering completing their education abroad, with technology available today you can invest and the best vpn software products can help kids to keep in touch and often the cost of education can be significantly lower in some countries.

Community College for all

Community Colleges provide a much needed boost to families who may have financial worries when it comes to encouraging their children to go on to higher education.

Children who come from a less privileged background don’t need to give up on their dreams simply because they cannot afford to. You often hear single parents worry about the future of their children as they feel that they would not be able to support them financially at school, they should not have to do this.

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Despite the obvious benefits, Community Colleges have their critics with many people stating that it makes the distinction between classes wider in society, and other, perhaps more conservative views suggesting that those who cannot afford higher education should not be awarded this privilege and they clearly have not worked hard enough. It is this mind-set that increases the stigma surrounding Community Colleges.

They are important resource for bringing education to people who may have previously  missed out.  Just like the growth of the online educational resources (MOOC) which also have accessibility high on their list of advantages.  Remember the internet is not just about leisure and relaxation, although if Netflix have their way that will stop too if you live in the wrong country – read this for more information.

We live in a society now where equality is high on the agenda, and we should all be given the same chances in life, especially when it comes to academic growth. Learning is a source of enjoyment that should not be taken away from other simply because they do not have the ‘ideal’ background. Community College gives more people the chance to grow and this should be encouraged.