How Much Money Will It Take?While averages as indicated above are between $8,000 and $21,000 per year, each school's situation is different, and each student will have variables as well. The ACT website, brought to you by the people who administer the ACT tests, has an excellent college expense estimator. Investing a few minutes gathering your information will give you a feel for what you can expect.
What Should a Student Be Expected to Do?Focus on Academics and Extracurriculars. Your student's academic status in high school is a key determiner. Despite some claims to the contrary, a student's grade point average, class standing, standardized test score and extracurricular activities are still the measures for most scholarships for college education. The higher the GPA and either SAT or ACT score, the more likely an academic scholarship is to be found. So a good place to invest your time is in helping with homework, essays, practice tests and encouraging outside activities.
Earn Part or All of Your Way. Additionally, a student's resources before and at college can help in terms of working a part time job while going to school. If your student is willing to work part time during the school year and full time during the summers, a good share of college expenses can be earned by them.
Be Realistic About Where To Go To School. Like it or not, every student cannot realistically plan to attend an Ivy League or private school. Consider options for schools that are closer to home, where you might be able to control living expenses. Even if you have desires to attend a more prestigious institution, consider going to a local college or junior college for a year or two early to keep overall costs lower.
What Family Resources Can We Offer?The things a dad and/or mom can bring to the cost of college can be significant. These fall into several categories.
Financial Resources. If a family is fortunate enough to have the money in the bank or a sufficient income to support a college student, then there are few worries. But most of us are not blessed with an extra $10,000 to $20,000 a year not needed for other things. But sometimes there are extended family members who would be willing to help. Occasionally you might have a grandparent or a rich aunt or uncle who are looking for a way to contribute. Don't ignore those possibilities.
College Savings. Many parents started early to develop a savings account for college expenses. While it is never too late to start, it is certainly easier to start early. Be aware, though, that some college savings plans have only one or two opportunities each year to withdraw funds. Plan ahead.