The Parent's Guide to College Planning

Resource Photo - The Parent's Guide to College Planning

In a competitive market and a damaged economy, finding a job or career that pays well can be a challenging task to complete, and giving your child the best odds of success means that you need to plan for college. Some people won't get started right away because they feel as though they will have plenty of time, but children can grow up faster than you might think. If you get into the habit of procrastinating, your child's high school graduation could pop up before you have a solid plan in place. The good news is that preparing for the future does not need to be difficult. In fact, starting as soon as possible makes it that much easier, and your child will thank you.

Start Looking at Different Options

Even though your child might not agree with you about what college makes the most sense, having a few in mind to give your child a sense of direction won't hurt. You will want to look at the job placement options with which colleges provide students. Also, consider that some colleges charge much more for the same courses before you break your budget. In some cases, you can save a lot of money by sending your child to a technical college for the first two years. If your child is going to move out of town to attend college, consider the housing options.

Saving for College

No matter your income level, sending your child to college can drain your wallet if you are not careful. You can reduce the financial burden by saving for books and tuition now. Some parents opt to open a standard savings account to get the job done. You must remember, however, that the interest earned in a savings account is taxable. On the other hand, you can use qualified tuition programs to start saving money. With this option, you won't need to pay taxes on the money you gain as long as you spend it on college expenses for your child. If you want to allow friends and family to donate to your child's college fund, enroll in the Gift of College program.

Chippewa Valley Technical College offers several resources to help make college more affordable.

Help Your Child Understand the Value of Education

You could take every possible step to prepare your child for college, but it won't do a lot of good unless your child is motivated to pursue an education. Take some time to stay in touch with your child's interests so that you can help your child choose a career path that is a good fit. You will also want to talk to your child about the average income differences between those who go to college and those who don't. When your child sees a clear picture of the advantages that can be gained, they will be much more likely to move forward and to enroll in classes after completing high school.

Final Thoughts

Going to college is a vital part of getting and maintaining a career that pays well, and planning for your child's future will create the foundation on which your child can achieve their goals. For many families, paying for the books and tuition is the hardest part, but saving money in advance can reduce the stress. Even if you can comfortably pay for the related expenses, having a college fund will simplify the process. Having several colleges in mind will enable you to guide your child down the right path, and you will know that you have done the right thing. Since the choices that you make now can profoundly impact your child's future, you don't want to waste any time.

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