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Saving money on college expenses

College is expensive. Paying for a college education out-of-pocket is a financial burden most parents cannot manage. Taking out a home equity loan is not the best option. Before you spend your retirement on a child’s college tuition, look for ways to cut costs without cutting quality.

School choice

In-state public colleges and universities give you the best tuition rates. While your child may have dreams of traveling across the country to attend an Ivy League school, they may have to find a school in-state that offers a similar course of study. Choosing a public university over a private one can save thousands on tuition costs.

Community colleges offer many of the same first year courses as the local colleges for about half the price. Most local universities will accept transfers from community college students as long as the student meets a minimum GPA. Talk with the community college to see which courses will transfer to local universities.

Living arrangements

Living on campus is expensive. If your student wants to live on campus, they should also expect to find a job in order to pay for it. That is part of living on your own. Living off campus may be a better option if you reside nearby.

Scholarships and grants

Be sure to fill out a FAFSA form before the deadlines. This form is what every college uses to determine financial aid for your student. It is also how you obtain grants and subsidized student loans. After filling out the form, you will be notified as to what grants or loans your student qualifies for.

If your state has an education lottery, find out how to apply for a scholarship. This is usually the easiest type of scholarship to get. Check with your employer to see if they offer scholarships. Organizations such as 4-H, scouts, churches, and community based programs may offer scholarships. Have your student speak with the financial aid officer at the school they wish to attend. The financial aid office usually has a list of scholarships available. They will also have listings of work-study programs if your student qualifies.

Saving money

Used textbooks are less expensive than new ones. Sometimes digital textbooks are the best choice. Textbook rentals can be another low-cost option for books.

If your state has a tax-free holiday, use this to purchase large ticket items. Computers, tablets, and clothing are usually tax-exempt during the holiday.

Sell off your homeschool curriculum when your child heads off to college. If you will not need the books for another child, sell what you can and use the money for college expenses.

Some states offer a refund on sales tax paid on textbooks and other items. Check to see if your state offers this. Save your receipts to prove that you made the purchase.

Some college tuition is tax deductible. Speak with your tax professional about this.

Lynda Altman has homeschooled her 4 children over the last 16 years and she continues to homeschool her youngest child. She believes that homeschooling is a parent’s G-d given right. Lynda writes a blog called Homeschooling When Mom has Cancer. Get notices when this page is updated by clicking on the subscribe link, by email, or contact Lynda @fusgeyer on Twitter.

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