From baby’s first gurgle or giggle, parents begin to dream of their child’s future and try to figure out how to handle the associated costs of parenthood. Some parents immediately dive into saving for their child’s education. Other parents may not start thinking about saving for college until their child gets older and they begin becoming aware of the cost of college.
Those parents in favor of helping pay for their child’s education believe by providing financial assistance, they are:
Other parents may believe their financial responsibility stops once their student heads to college with thoughts such as:
So, where do you stand on whether parents should help a child pay for college? There are good arguments on both sides and the answer comes down to the word “help.” Students are most successful, during both high school and college years, when they think of paying for college as a joint effort of student and parent that can inspire personal and fiscal responsibility, while not hindering the student’s ability to excel in school.
Few families are able to cover the entire cost of college on their own. Most expect college to be a shared expense – of the student, the family, and possibly the federal and state government, colleges and universities, and community organizations. There are number of ways to help pay for college – family savings and income, part-time jobs, scholarships, grants, and loans. In the senior year of high school, completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may find the student qualifies for financial assistance, some of which may not need to be paid back.
By saving for a child’s college, parents still have the flexibility to weigh their options or change their minds down the road. Then, if they still decide not to help the child pay for college when the time comes, the money can become available for other purposes. But, if they’ve realized how much their savings may assist their child, they’ll be glad to have money put away for college.
So, give yourself and your child a choice. Open an NC 529 account early. Enrollment is easy with no enrollment fee and contributions as low as $25 – scheduled when and how you want them, occasionally or regularly, by check, automatic draft, electronic funds transfer, or other methods. Contact us at CFNC.org/Save or toll-free at 800.600.3453 if you have questions.