Helping with College Finances

This is a guest post.


A college education can be incredibly valuable for a number of reasons, but it can also be incredibly expensive. Most students end up paying their tuitions with financial aid and student loans, but these don’t cover everything, and even when they do they put students deeply in debt.


In many ways, going to college is about financial management—for students and their parents. Most college students who have just completed high school don’t have the means to support themselves without help. Many of them are living on their own for the first time, and they often don’t know how difficult it can be. Many of them have to rely on their parents for some financial support, but that can be just as hard on parents. If you are a parent who wants to support your children as they go to college, here are some things you should consider.


Talk to Your Children About Money Management

It can be tough to teach children how to live on their own and on a budget before they actually move out. But you should at least be teaching them the importance of keeping a budget and managing their finances. Help them manage their money if they have a part-time job. Instead of letting them spend all their money on whatever they want, encourage them to set some of it aside. Make sure they know what needs to be saved to pay bills and pay for food every month, and teach them how to make wise purchases that will save money.

Take Advantage of Online Courses

Many universities and institutions, like MIT, Harvard, University of Maryland and much more, offer a wide variety of their courses and programs online either partly or fully – and some are completely
eligible for credits.

Even though there are a whole lot of them to choose from, you can check out this list to take a look at some of the best.

Review Your Child’s Financial Aid Awards

If you and your child applied for financial aid and have earned at least some financial aid awards, make sure you review them to learn exactly what your young college student will be receiving. A savvy and thrifty college student can practically live off financial aid while he or she is in school, but you will want to make sure that is a possibility. Contact the college’s financial aid office to learn about your child’s financial situation, and make sure that you let them know about any major changes in your child’s financial situation that may occur.


Apply for Scholarships

One of the best ways for a student to pay for his or her college education is to apply for scholarships. These do take a little bit of work, and there’s always the chance that your child won’t qualify for some of the best scholarships, but it never hurts to apply for as many scholarships as are available. If your student plans to study in Canada, consider applying for country-specific scholarships, such as the one where giving away $5000 to lucky students, if they have dual citizenship. Otherwise, talk to the financial aid offices at your student’s possible schools for other scholarships. You should encourage your child to talk to a high school guidance counselor as well because they can be a great resource for possible scholarships.


Choose Your Child’s College Wisely

If your child is serious about a college education, he or she will probably have one or two “dream schools.” Earning a degree from an expensive Ivy League college would be nice, but not if it will plunge you and your child too deeply into debt. If money really is an issue in your family, don’t be afraid to suggest a cheaper school. There are plenty of colleges that will provide a quality education without putting students in debt for the rest of their lives.




I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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  1. Thanks for the tips! My parents didn’t help with my college expenses at all so I would have no idea where to begin! These tips definitely help, even though I have quite awhile to wait.

  2. I’m all about community college for the first two years to help with cost!

  3. My son has to take an online course to pass high school and I’m thinking of making him take a personal finance class.

  4. My mom spent pretty much my entire senior year working on my financial aid, helping with scholarships, and the like …. as a result, I ended up with a 100% funded college degree and NO student (or parent) loans.

  5. Ack, college is so expensive these days.

  6. I think money management lessons start while kids are young so they can have those habits long before they’re responsible adults. I’ll certainly do what I can to help ensure my kids have as much financial assistance as they need for college.

  7. My parents couldn’t afford to help with college, so I’m up to my neck in student loans.

  8. I’m dreading the prices when M goes.

  9. I don’t hear about too many parents helping with finances anymore, because college is crazy expensive. These are wonderful tips!

  10. I had to borrow money for college and I wish I didn’t. I really need to put more into a college fund for my daughter.

  11. My daughter will be attending college next year and we’re so dreading the expenses.

  12. Thanks for these tips. We have awhile to go, but we have definitely started saving.

  13. I know so many kids with big debt from their 1st year or two at an expensive school, who switched to a state school to finish.

  14. I would definitely encourage anyone applying to college to apply for every scholarship they can. Scholarships helped me pay for a big portion of my school.

  15. This is great info. I definitely recommend applying for those grants and scholarships early.

  16. I am doing my best to help save for my boys’ college educations, these are some great tips to go by.

  17. Our daughter thankfully received a full scholarship for tuition and fees for 4 years and a stipend for each semester as well, putting our out of pocket expenses to a minimal amount.

  18. I had to do student loans, which I paid off, thankfully, but I hope my son can get scholarships.

  19. My husband had to do student loans, but we push our kids to keep their grades up in hopes they will get full scholarships with it and sport.

  20. Scholarships take so much time to apply for, but they are definitely worth it.