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Geneseo Republic - Geneseo, IL
Blog: Reducing college costs to reduce student debt
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By Royal Neighbors of America
Aug. 28, 2014 2 p.m.

Graduation season was a reality check for many parents. Whether their children are still in diapers or just starting high school, they are inundated with the signs….graduation announcements, parties, decorations, gift ideas, etc. This is when the thoughts of rising college tuition costs hit. How will THEY pay for college for their children when the time comes?

Outstanding student loan debt has now reached $1.2 trillion dollars according to 2013 estimates from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Yet there are ways to help reduce the amount a family or student borrows to fund college dreams.

“It’s never too late to manage and reduce the costs of higher education,” says Cynthia Tidwell, CEO and President of Royal Neighbors of America, one of the first women-led life insurers in the U.S. Since 1962, Royal Neighbors has awarded over a $4 million dollars in college scholarships.

“The key is to think creatively – whether it’s looking for financial tools that allow for cash savings when children are young, or earning college credits and researching scholarships while they are in high school. Don’t mortgage your own financial future or saddle your children with debt that could keep them from reaching their dreams.”

Four ways to beat college debt

1.      Learn about college savings financial options. There are many different financial products to help start saving for college when children are young. Even certain life insurance policies offer cash savings options to help pay for expenses such as college tuition. Look for permanent or whole life policies with cash value accumulation options.

 

2.      Earn college credit in high school. Many high schools offer students the opportunity to earn dual high school and college credit before college through advanced placement (AP) courses.  Learn more about AP programs.

 

3.      Consider a community college. Average annual community college tuition and fees are less than half those at public four-year colleges and universities and one-tenth those at private four-year colleges and universities, according to a 2008 report from the National Center of Education Statistics.

 

4.      Research scholarships early.  Scholarships are available for traditional and non-traditional students, but don’t wait until high school graduation to research. Some require organizational membership, volunteer hours, or criteria that may take time for the student to be eligible.

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