This was originally published on Monday, February 9, 2015, in the Pacific Daily News. Click here to subscribe to the PDN.
As parents we inherently want the best for our children. We can’t help but beam with joy when our kids express that college is an educational goal. Then the overwhelming stress of paying the bill is realized. Rest assured newly graduated high school students can find many strategies to aide them with college tuition.
• Apprenticeships: Large companies, state and federal governments offer high school graduates the opportunity to gain on-the-job training and related classroom instruction. Usually after a few years of training and education they are promoted within the organization.
• Training corps: In exchange for community service, some training corps will pay a majority if not all of a college student’s tuition. Some of these programs are Health Services Corps, Peace Corps, AmeriCorps and the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). Some organizations will even give a stipend to supplement living costs while attending college.
• Technical schools: Perhaps your child’s goal is to be a software program designer. They don’t necessarily have to go to a four-year traditional college. Instead, they can attend a school that specializes in that occupation. Specialty colleges are becoming more popular because it takes less time to earn your degree, therefore costing less to obtain a degree or certificate. Most technical schools offer tuition assistance and can even help secure a job after graduation.
• College assistance: Some colleges offer tuition assistance or scholarships to aide in paying tuition. You also may look into work/study programs on campus. My nephew is in a work/study program, which helps with his day-to-day costs while away at college. Some businesses on campus look to hire students. Students can also work for the school as teacher assistants’ or lab/research technicians. It is also common that if a student performs well and is placed on the Dean’s List or President’s List the school will offer a discount for the next semester.
• GI Bill: If you are a veteran you may be entitled to education benefits through the GI Bill. Depending which GI plan you have you may be able to transfer money to your dependents, including your spouse, to attend college. Go to www.gibill.va.gov to learn more about your GI Bill benefits.
• Military benefits: If you are military and retire in certain states, your children may be able to attend a state college or university at a discounted or free tuition.
• Employer: Some jobs offer a scholarship or grant to children of employees. Your human resources department should be able to assist you.
Sometimes going to the college of their choice may not be an option. Be upfront with your child about the costs of college. They may have to go to a community college or local university instead of leaving island. Many college graduates get their core credits at home where costs are lower, then transfer colleges to finish off the credits for their majors. Research if the credits will transfer to the new school. Many colleges and universities have residential and non-residential tuitions. Non-residential tuition can be quite a bit more expensive. Living in that state to meet the residential requirements before going to college will help lower costs as well.
Going abroad to study also may be an alternative to high college costs. Besides education, your child has the opportunity to learn about another culture and make lifelong memories.
Unless you have planned to include college tuition in your nest egg or 401K, don’t dip into your retirement fund. There are lots of opportunities for your child to go to school; do not put your retirement in jeopardy.
Michael Camacho is president and chief executive officer of Personal Finance Center. He has more than 20 years of experience in retail banking and at financial institutions in Guam and Hawaii. If there is a topic you’d like Michael to cover, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and read past columns at the Money Matters blog at www.moneymattersguam.wordpress.com.