Last time we looked at some solutions for college savings such as a regular savings plan and also working part time during High School.
What if you do those things, but it still isn´t enough to cover college costs? Or perhaps you are getting started late in the game?
Here are some ways to help pay for college even if you haven't saved much. (Besides winning the lottery or robbing a bank.) The first way is actually pretty obvious - although families don´t utilize it as much as they should. Contact the Financial Aid department from your college and make sure you have applied for any and all scholarship money that you have a chance to qualify for. Don´t leave any "free" money on the table.
Going along with this scholarship idea, does Johnny (or Jill) play any sports? Recently, on my Blog Talk Radio program, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/401kCoach/2009/09/02/Improving-Your-Financial-Health
I visited with Charlie Adams, the Senior National Speaker for the National Collegiate Scouting Assocaiation of Chicago. Charlie helps many high school athletes get scholarships to play various sports in college. Normally when I think of athletic scholarships, I would think of football and basketball at large universities.
However, Charlie points out that there are plenty of scholarships given to students who are decent athletes and good students. Colleges offer a wide range of athletic opportunities such as golf, lacrosse, cross country, and rowing. In fact, Charlie´s son Jack earned a scholarship to Millsaps College in Mississippi for cross country.
Charlie also talks about a book, "Athletes Wanted" by Chris Krause. http://www.ncsasports.org/about-ncsa/about-chris-krause The book points out that employers have a growing need to ¨hire quality people for their companies. Recruiters love interviewing candidates who have played collegiate sports. They have learned the value of goal setting, teamwork, time management, and motivation. So if Johnny or Jill have some athletic skills, look into this as an option.
One thing to keep in mind - Johnny and Jill need to keep their grades up. To qualify for scholarships at smaller schools in sports, there is more of an emphasis on the "Student" part of student-athlete. You may contact Charlie Adams at www.stokethefirewithin.com.
What if your child doesn't play sports? Could they be entreprenuers? There are several examples of students who saw a need and figured out a way to fill the need and profit from it. They learn (on their own) valuable skills in sales, marketing, and business management. This would also set them apart from other candidates when its time to leave college and interview for work. Here is an article on "Teen Money Making Ideas". http://teenmoneymakingideas.com/how-college-students-can-make-money-in-the-summer-in-12-of-the-top-home-based-businesses/
If Johnny starts a business and it really takes off, he may find his career in the process. There was once a college student named Bill Gates who actually dropped out of Harvard to focus on his Microsoft business full time. (Of course the reason was that he felt he wasn´t learning anything new about computers.)
If you like this option, you may want to look at books about young men and women who have started successful businesses. A great website for information is http://www.quintcareers.com/college_entrepreneur_resources.html
"OK" you think. "But I´m not Bill Gates or Shaquille O´ Neal.What else can I do?"
There are other ways to learn entrprenuerial skills in organizations which are already established. Looking back on my college years, I had an opportunity to work with the Southwestern Company. www.southwestern.com. Southwestern has been around since 1855. They have a long history of helping college students to earn money for college. Students also learn some valuable lessons in the process - motivation, goal setting, business management, how to sell, and how to deal with all types of people.
Southwestern works with over 3000 students per year in the US and the UK, and the average First Year student earns $2733/mo during the summer months. Like many other opportunities, as a student gains experience, they may become more proficient.
http://www.southwesterninfo.com/FAQ.aspx Please contact Southwestern for more information.
If none of these really work for you, there is one more idea on paying for college, and its also a great one. Talk to a local recruiter about military service. For the student who hasn't yet figured out what they want from college or what they want to do in life (and at 18, who really has it figured out?), the military gives you time to figure things out. Military service also teaches skills such as teamwork, goal setting, perseverance, and time management. And they can help you to pay for school. http://www.military.com/money-for-school/tuition-assistance/army-tuition-assistance
I've met a number of people who have served for 4 years, then went to college with money from the government. As I mentioned in my last article, a 20 year old freshman has a good chance of being more mature than an 18 year old. Wouldn't you agree then that a 22 year old freshman with skills learned in the military would be even more mature and ready to learn? It certainly adds to a resume, and can lead to all types of career choices later.
I hope these have been helpful ideas. None of them involve taking out a loan, and if we can avoid that, we'd all be better off. You can contact me at my website, www.helpmy401k.us or follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/deanvoelker. My Blog Talk Radio program airs weekly and the archives may be heard at www.blogtalkradio.com/401kcoach.