Here are the key considerations for developing your college funding strategy:
- The cost. How much money do you need to come up with? Can you afford the school you have chosen? Have you taken inflation into account?
- When you have to pay. When will your child start college?
- Pre-funding the cost. Will you be investing now to pay costs later or will you wait until the end ("I'll worry about that college expense when the time comes")? What are your resources now? How much can you save each month for college? Where should you invest the money?
- Sources of loans. If you need to, where will you be able to borrow money? How much can you borrow? How much should you borrow?
- Financial aid. Will you qualify? How much money will you get? When should you apply for financial aid?
- Consider other resources, such as earning more income (working overtime, spouse going back to work, etc.), having your child work, having your child attend a college with a co-op program, scholarships, ROTC programs or attending a military academy.
- See the "Putting It All Together" worksheet. How much of the total college cost will come from each of the pieces above? How will you manage if there is a shortfall?