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College is expensive, especially with rising tuition rates, books and the need for faster and better computers. But, you can make college a little more affordable by planning ahead.
Start Saving Now
There are a lot of options when it comes to saving money for college. You could just put the money away into a Share Certificate. A Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA) and an Oregon 529 Plan are also good options and may help increase your earning potential.
You can start your Oregon 529 Plan right now with the Oregon College Savings Plan. They offer plans with no maintenance fees and no application fees. With as little as $15 per pay period, you’ll be planning ahead for a future education.
Finding Financial Aid
Believe it or not, applying for Federal Financial Aid isn’t hard. Visit Federal Student Aid and start your Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It’s a simple form. Yes, it takes time, but you can save your progress along the way. Just be sure to start yours shortly after October 1 of the year before you plan to attend college. That’s because the money available for grants and financial aid is on a first-come-first-served basis.
Should You Use Student Loans
Most families and students require some form of student loan for college. But that doesn’t mean you need to max out and incur life-altering debt either. When you apply for financial aid, you will be offered several types of student loans, including a Federal Perkins Loan (no interest charged while in school), Direct Subsidized Loans (for those with proven financial need), Direct Unsubsidized Loans (interest accrues while in school), and Direct PLUS Loans (parents co-sign and are liable to pay the loan back).
So, what about co-signing for a student loan? Yes, that can help your student afford college, but you will be liable to pay back the loan if they are unable to make the payments.
Free Money is Available
There are a lot of federal and state programs that offer scholarships. The U.S. government has put together a site that can help you find thousands of them. Click here and start your search.
While looking for scholarships, don’t forget to apply for the InRoads Video Scholarship.
- *The Oregon College Savings Plan Disclosure Booklet is available by calling 1-866-772-8464. Consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing. Investments in the plan are neither insured nor guaranteed and there is the risk of investment loss. Before investing in a 529 plan, you should consider whether the state you or your designated beneficiary reside in or have taxable income in has a 529 plan that offers favorable state income tax or other benefits that are only available if you invest in that state’s 529 plan.