When it comes to planning for college, it can be easy to thumb through glossy brochures while ignoring one important reality: COST.
The average tuition and fees at private four-year colleges and universities increased by 11 percent since 2010 according to the College Board. With this figure in mind, the experts at Wells Fargo are offering tips to help families make a financial plan for college:
Get a Ballpark Figure
College costs can vary widely, depending on the institution. Will your student be attending a private or public college? Will you be paying in-state tuition? What about room and board? Check out a specific institution’s published college costs for an accurate number that takes into consideration different factors.
Explore every avenue for supplementing college costs. All families should start by completing the FAFSA, which is a free application for federal student aid, to determine your eligibility—Families should apply in October of a student’s senior year.
Next, investigate merit-based scholarships. From small grants to full rides, a scholarship of any size can reduce costs without the stress of payments or interest. A database of scholarships can be found online at tuitionfundingsources.com.
There are plenty of free resources available to prospective students and their families. For information on scholarships, student loans, federal and state aid, building credit, as well as money management tips and tools, visit Wells Fargo’s “Get College Ready” website at wellsfargo.com/getcollegeready.
College-bound families should make financial plans as soon as possible. From identifying and securing funding to amassing adequate savings, the sooner you get the discussion started, the better.