Welcome to how to save for college in 4 years!
Maybe you find yourself in a predicament. You are in high school as a freshman and you’re going to college in 4 years. Problem is, you know college is expensive and you don’t have any money saved up for it or at least, not enough. To be honest with you, the road ahead is going to be difficult. But it is possible! Here’s how to save for college in 4 years.
Check With Your Parents
Have you talked to your parents about saving for college? They might have a college savings account already started for you that you are unaware of. Maybe they don’t have a specific account set up, but they are planning on paying for part of your education from their regular savings account. Ask them to share this information with you so you can have a rough idea of how much you need to save. If they aren’t saving anything, ask them to start! It’s never too late to get started! Even the smallest amount will make a big difference in the long run.
According to the College Board, the average annual cost of tuition and fees for a public college during the 2017-2018 school year was $9,970 for in-state students. For 4 years of college, you’ll need about $40,000. If you have 4 years until college, you and your family will need to save $833/month. Don’t lose hope! There are ways of lowering the cost!
Get a Job or Start a Business
The important thing to do right away is to get a job or start a business to begin generating an income. If you’re serious about saving for college, you should save as much of your income as you can. Get a part-time job and work 20 hours/week. It’ll be tricky to balance with school, but the more you work, the better.
If you work 20 hours/week over the next four years at a $7.25 hourly rate, you can make $30,160.
Create a 529 Plan Account
Take your hard-earned money and any other money that you already had saved (including your parent’s money) and deposit it into a 529 account. Most states have 529 plans. If you don’t know, a 529 plan is a college saving investment account that has tax-free withdrawals. The 529 takes your money and invests it across numerous funds. The plans usually have very good return rates which grow the money that you put into the account. It’s a good idea to put your college money in this account to keep it separate from your spending money. Continue to make monthly contributions and watch as your college savings grow!
Read 10 Budgeting Tips for Teens!
Apply for Scholarships
When it comes to making college less expensive, there are thousands of scholarships available to everyone. These scholarships can be awarded to you for a variety of things.
Believe it or not, something as simple as having blue eyes or brown hair can win you a scholarship!
Did you know that you can win full-ride scholarships that pay for all of your college expenses!? Almost anything you can imagine has been turned into a scholarship. All you have to do to win this free money for college is to apply! Apply for as many scholarships as you can! The more you win, the less you have to spend out of your savings! As a bonus, some scholarships send money straight to your 529 plan!
Check out the Best Scholarships for 2019!
Apply for FAFSA
To make college even cheaper, apply for FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You simply tell the FAFSA a little bit about you and then they grant you money based on your circumstances. You can be granted thousands of dollars towards your college expenses with FAFSA, and the best part is that everyone can apply!
Look at Less Expensive Colleges
At this point, if you don’t have enough money saved up, it might be time to abandon your hopes of attending your dream school. You should start to look at less expensive college options out there. Why spend $20,000 extra when you get the same piece of paper from somewhere less expensive? Some argue that a larger or more reputable college gives you more opportunities. But really, employers are just looking to see that you have a degree and that you are knowledgeable and experienced in your field. Going to a cheaper college will save you thousands of dollars both upfront and in interest from student loans.
Get a Loan
Once you’ve saved as much can and applied for as many scholarships as you can, it may be time to get a student loan. Student loans are relatively easy to get, but beware! You have to pay this money back, plus interest!
In 2018, the average student graduated with $30,000 worth of student loan debt. At a 4% interest rate, a 10 year-loan of $30,000 could be paid off for $304/month. However, you will end up paying $6,448 in interest!
Read this book on Eliminating Student Loan Debt!
You’re a little behind on paying for college, but it still can be done! Talk to your parents and see what they have saved. Get a job to start making money. Save your money in a 529 plan. Apply for as many scholarships as you can as well as the FAFSA. Try to pick a less expensive college. And finally, get a loan to cover any extra costs. Believe it or not, you can still save for college! Don’t lose hope, just keep working hard!
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Disclaimer: We are not experts or certified financial advisers. Our advice for you based on what has worked and continues to work for us. If financial problems occur we are not responsible for them and advise that you speak to a professional. That being said, we believe wholeheartedly that the advice we give to you will help your financial situation greatly.