One of the most difficult and important decisions that high school students face is deciding where to go to continue their education. Selecting the right college or university to fit their needs is a decision that takes time, thought and planning. Because of the many factors that go into the decision, it is one that will shape the future of the student.
Some of the factors that go into the decision-making process for selecting a school are whether you are looking for a private or public school, whether the school is local or out of the area, two-year or four-year school and what area of study the student wants to focus. These are all important things to consider when parents and students get together and decide which school is best for their situation. Generally speaking, the college planning process for students and parents should start as early as possible.
One of the largest, and most expensive, pieces of the puzzle is how to pay for the education. In recent years the cost of college has steadily increased which has put a strain on parents and students to finance the education. Because of the higher cost of education, students and parents have become more creative in planning for college, including exploring the options of distance learning education. Parents should start planning when a child is early and start putting aside money that can be used for college expenses.
Students can also be helpful in this process. Many high school students take jobs after school or during the summers to help save money for use at college, either through school expenses or living expenses. Also, if the student works hard in school, they may be eligible for scholarships which can help offset the cost of college. This along with parents college savings, student grants, student loans and parent loans can help finance a college education.
To help you learn more about paying for a college education, we have put together the following helpful resources:
- College Planning Information – Information for students which can help them begin the process for college planning.
- College Planning – Useful article which discusses many of the issues that are important to students in preparing for college.
- College Admissions – Informative web page which serves as a portal of information about college admissions.
- College Preparation Help – Information and resources to help students in the journey for college.
- College Preparation – Summary of the process in which students research and decide on a college.
- College Planning Timelines – Useful information for parents and students which provides a timeline for the planning process.
Saving for College
- College Saving Plan – Tips for students and parents providing information on how to save for school.
- Saving for College – Informative page which provides information and ideas on how parents and students can save for college.
- Smart Saving for College – Resources and information on how to save for college.
- Saving for College – Article which explains how a 529 savings plan may be a good decision for college saving.
- Introduction to 529 Plans – Informative page from the Securities and Exchange Commission which introduces parents to a college savings program.
- Scholarship Search – Searchable website which provides students with information on available scholarships.
- Scholarship Information – Web page which provides information and a database of available scholarship money.
- Finding and Applying for Scholarships – Useful resource for students to utilize in assisting to find and apply for scholarship money.
- Grants for College – Informative web site which provides students with information about grants and how they may qualify for them.
- Student Loans – Federal web site which serves as a portal of information about student loans and the process that needs to be followed.
- Federal Direct Loans – Useful page which outlines how the direct loan for students work to finance colleges.
- Student Loans – Guide for students looking to learn more about the student loan program.
- Student Loan Information – Helpful article which provides links to news stories about student loans.
- Student Loan News – Article which provides information and news about student loans for students and parents.
- Federal Student Aid – Information for students which contains information on the federal student aid program.
- PLUS Loans – Information on the federal loan program aimed at parents to assist students.
- Parent Federal Direct Loans – Helpful page which provides an overview of the federal parent loan program.
- Parents Loans – Article from the New York Times which outlines the dangers to parents in financing an education for children.
- Parent Loan Trap – Informative article which informs parents of the potential concerns over taking loans for education.
College Financing Process
- Master the Financial Aid Process – Article which discusses the procedure which should be followed for financial aid.
- Paying for College – Article which shows the three-step process for financial aid.
- Guide to College Financing (PDF) – Informative article which helps take the confusion out of the financial process.
- The Financial Aid Process – Useful page which leads students through the financial aid process.
- Financial Aid Application – Information on how to apply for financial aid for college.