The cost of college tuition continues to astonish anyone who needs to pay for this education. For the college year 2018-2019, the average tuition, fees and room and board expenses were $48,510 for a four-year private college and $21,370 for a public college. That number is for just one year of college expenses.
The reality is the younger the child, the more college is likely to cost, and when you add up the four years per child, it will likely be one of the largest family expenditures. The future four-year college costs are estimated for a newborn to be $503,000 for four-year private college and $222,000 for four-year public college.
This estimate assumes starting college at the age of 18 years old and having the current expenditures grow at an inflation rate of 5% per year. Daunting numbers even for one child let alone multiple children.
We have discussed in previous posts about saving for college in a tax-deferred account known as a 529 plan. This allows parents (or other family members and friends) to add money to an account on behalf of a child.
In addition, when the 529 account is used to pay for college and related expenses, the money can be removed without paying capital gains taxes on the growth.
In this post, I am going to highlight some ways that students who are entering college now can find some free money for college. Even with advanced planning and saving for college, there is often a shortfall.
Here are some comprehensive and free search engines that have been recommended by college counselors throughout the United States. These opportunities should help extend those that may be available through their local high school and local community. It is best to throw a broad net to try to get some assistance in paying for tuition.
Studies have shown that about half of all families receive grants and scholarships, but these free gifts typically cover only a small fraction of the total college costs. However, every grant or scholarship would help offset this large expenditure.
Here are some sites to consider with the understanding that some of these resources share students’ information with third-party providers. None of these sites require that you pay to get access to this information and I would recommend that you never pay anyone who claims to be able to provide or assist in providing financial assistance.
SEARCH ENGINE SITES:
College Board: go to www.collegeboard.org home page and click on scholarships to find information about scholarships, and other financially needed internships from 2,200 programs. The College Board itself now offers $5 million in scholarships each year, beginning with the class of 2020.
Fastweb: A database that includes 1.5 million college scholarships totaling $3.4 billion. It can be found at www.fastweb.com.
Edvisors: After the student adds biographical information into the site, the site tries to match the student with possible scholarships in their search tool. The search tool is www.studentscholarshipsearch.com.
Scholarships.com: Students can search 3.7 million in college scholarships and grants totaling $19 billion in aid. Students can register to be matched to opportunities they qualify for, or search awards within various categories.
Cappex: College applicants can find scholarships using search criteria such as application deadline and minimum award amount. It can be found at www.cappex.com.
Careeronestop.org: This site is run by the U.S. Department of Labor and can be found at www.careeronestop.org. The site allows students to search for more than 8,000 scholarships, fellowships, grants and other aid opportunities. When at the site, click on the toolkit, and then on “scholarship finder”. (careeronestop.org/Toolkit/Training/find-scholarships.aspx)
I know many high school seniors like my nephew, Christopher, are now selecting their college of choice for the fall of 2020. Hopefully, this list will help some students find some financial assistance to offset the high costs.
Hope you have a great week!
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