I was motivated to write this post after having a college planning chat with a good friend of mine. I know planning for college can seem overwhelming for the student and the parents.
my friend is a parents educator and the mom of Three. This was a good conversation but, it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be, I was excited and anxious to hear what my friend had to share with her parents. I most mention that only one of my friend’s kids still lived with her and had to make a college decision at the time of our conversation, my friend started her speech to her parents that day by saying: “it is impossible to save and plan your children education, knowing that you’ll always have a car payment. I knew right there and then that this wasn’t an easy topic for her in spite of the fact that two of her children were grown and gone.
But, there’re so many options to help your teenager get ready. I know, I know, you have to deal with the SAT and ACT scores, keeping grades up in high school and researching the best schools, but your teenager also has to start filling out applications for colleges, scholarships and grants. Stay positive There’s so much to do that it’s easy for your mind to go numb because of all the details.
But as much as your teen might want to get lost in their video games and forget about application deadlines, you can’t let them do that! This is their future we’re talking about.
As much as you and your teen may want to wait and procrastinate, it’s not a good idea to put all these applications off until the last minute. When they do that,they’re more likely to make mistakes, which could cause delays in the application process. Or they could cause their applications to be rejected altogether!
Sit down and make a plan. Once the acceptance letters start rolling in, I promise you won’t regret it!
Consider also an ESA (Education Savings Account) you not always have to have a car oayment that is a shallow way of thinking. An ESA are Funds in these accounts that grow tax-free and are tax-free when withdrawn for K-12 or college education expenses before age 30. ESAs also offer increased flexibility. Investment options are virtually limitless, and you can make investment changes at any time the reason I like ESA vrs 529 is because with an ESA you have more control of the money and therefore you can make decisions as to the 529 where you invest more but have no control. Yes with an ESA Contributions are limited to $2,000 a year per child. You’ll be subject to the same taxes and penalties as a 529 plan if the funds aren’t used for eligible expenses. The ability to contribute is subject to income limits, but children also can contribute on their own behalf.
At a Glance of ESA vrs 529
|529 College Savings Plan||Coverdell ESA|
|Qualified withdrawals can be used for K-12 expenses||X|
|Qualified withdrawals can be used for post-secondary expenses||X||X|
|Wide variety of investment options||X|
|High contribution limit (more than $250,000)||X|
|No income limits for contributors||X|
|No withdrawal age limit||X|
You can considere also: Federal Aid: The good news about federal aid is that it accounts for the largest amount of aid available. The bad news is that federal aid is largely based on financial need. So if your family’s income is above the maximum income for eligibility,don’t be discouraged. You can take advantage of several other sources of aid.
State Aid: This is based on a combination of financial need and achievements. From now until you head to college, you should work on your grades, test scores and extracurricular achievements to increase your eligibility for these scholarships
Military Aid: If you or an immediate family member have served or plan to serve in the military, then look into military aid. This is a great way to serve your country and get your college paid for!