If your child is on the verge of entering college, the first thing you should do is to celebrate this achievement; the very next thing you must do is starting to worry about your child’s admission and the fees. It is probably going to be a hard time for you if you have not saved anything for college. But you are not alone. There had been instances when parents with no or little savings have sent their children to college. And so can you. All that is required is to make some extra effort for your child.

Sit with your child and have a detailed discussion over the courses that he or she has in mind. Do a thorough research on the availability of those courses and the amount of money needed to pursue them from different schools. This will help you find out the best possible options for your child and you will be able to make a practical estimation of the expenditure that awaits you.Once you have a clear view of the amount you need to spend, you can plan your course of action. The following tips should help you plan better.

1. Make an unprejudiced choice of school

If your child wants to get into an elite school, there is nothing wrong on his or her part. If you as the parents have a similar mindset, change it and think a little more practically. Going for expensive schools without savings will have an immeasurable negative impact on your family’s present and future.

Sending your child to an average school, where he or she will be among the best students is probably the best thing you can do. These schools are likely to accept a sincere and bright student happily. Your child may even secure scholarships and work-study offers.
You need to have a very frank discussion with your child and make the kid realize that going to an expensive school may jeopardize his or her future instead of securing it.

2. Borrow responsibly

Taking a loan is unavoidable if you have no savings for your child’s college. You need to be careful about the amount you borrow. The less you borrow, less will the interest be. Usually, the government limits the loan amount, based on estimated family contribution. The rates of interest and repayment terms of these loans are usually affordable.

Pawning valuable and luxury assets is a good way to acquire some quick money. You can sell or pawn luxury assets for cash. Pawn jewelry or a car at a reputed pawnbroker and get some money that you can use to help the cause of your child’s education.

3. Do not be afraid to think out of the box

It is not necessary to enroll in college immediately after graduating from high school. If a student works in part-time jobs and saves for a year, he or she can earn enough to pay most of the tuition fees. The experience that a student earns by working for a year can help him or her to get a job after college.

Opting for community college is also a good way of cutting short the expenses. Although it is not a free alternative, a community college will usually cost only half as much as a traditional residential college. The flexible schedules of a community college allow a student to work on part time jobs. Most importantly, two years of community college will not offend any grad school or employer.

Going against the convention is not bad, especially if it helps you out of a tricky situation. Think of these alternatives while planning your course of action and encourage your child to try them fearlessly.

4. Attend online classes instead of traditional tuitions

As you have agreed to think out of the box, it should not be very difficult for you to encourage your child to attend online tuitions. It helps you save money in many ways. Although the online tuition costs are usually equal to the traditional tuition fees, you get rid of transportation and housing costs and save the excess money. Online tuition makes it easier for the student to work on part-time jobs. It is true that attending tuitions through the internet cancels the opportunity of interacting with teachers and peers in person, but it does decrease the cost of your child’s education considerably.

5. Look for scholarships and grants

Students can receive a large portion of the cost of their education in scholarships and grants from both governmental and private sources. While it is very rare that a child attains a scholarship that covers the entire cost of college education, a talented kid can surely win a substantial amount.

One should apply for as many scholarships as possible; so, it is the parents’ responsibility to keep an eye open to all the opportunities. The most common federal grant program, Pell Grants awarded a maximum of $5,730 for the 2014-2015 academic session.
Needless to mention, you have a better chance to win smaller and less known scholarships than their counterpart. So make sure your child uses all the opportunities of getting a scholarship, grant or tuition waiver that he or she comes across.

Nothing changes the reality that sending your child to a college is difficult if you have not saved for it. Choose the school wisely; use the loan carefully; be open to alternatives and aware of the opportunities. Methodical planning accompanied by your child’s talent and tenacity will see you through.

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