Monday, September 25, 2017

Dean Scott Discusses Saving for College with Fox 13

Salt Lake Community College Dean of the School of Arts, Communication and Media Richard Scott visited Fox 13 to talk about the importance of saving for college early and tools to help people make higher education more affordable.


For the 2017-18 school year, the average cost for in-state residents at a public university is more than $9,600. That cost increases significantly for private institutions and out-of-state residents. College costs include a plethora of expenses, such as tuition, meals, books, supplies, transportation and housing.

Many graduates from community colleges find they can save money on their postsecondary education by earning a two-year degree before transferring to a four-year university for their bachelor’s degree. You can do five things to make college more affordable or can at least prepare you for the expense.


Savings and borrowing options

·      If you’re a parent, consider researching college savings options that include tax-free 529 savings plans, prepaid tuition plans and individual retirement accounts. A good option for Utahans is the Utah Educational Savings Plan, which you can learn more about at uesp.org. Other savings options include tax breaks like the American Opportunity and the Lifetime Learning credits and the student loan interest deduction.


·      Loan options that make it easier to pay for college include federally subsidized loans and state-supported low-interest loans with payments deferred until graduation without accumulating interest.


Financial aid

·      You might consider applying for one or more of many different scholarship opportunities. Check with your school’s financial aid office to find out which scholarships are worth more and what their requirements are to maintain eligibility.


·      You might also consider applying for financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which could put you in line for a Federal Pell Grant. Some colleges also have funds to help students cover the cost of tuition and fees, like SLCC Promise. 


Think outside of the box


·      If you invest in the stock market, you might want to avoid riskier, high-growth funds by the time your child reaches 14. Remember, investing under the child’s name can result in higher tax rates.


·      Other methods of funding a college education can include the Coverdell Education Savings Account (earnings can be withdrawn tax-free when the student begins college), an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), savings bonds, a custodial account, a variable life insurance policy and the good old bank savings account.


Seek online resources


·      Websites like College Data, The College Board and the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid page help you financially plan for college. These and other sites can help you with creating a budget, balancing jobs and school, applying for aid, loans and scholarships and researching affordable institutions.


Tuition assistance programs


·      You can find tuition assistance through employers that realize, by helping their employees pay for college, they benefit when workers improve their skills and education, which often adds to their income and company loyalty.


·      Four– and two-year institutions are increasingly offering tuition assistance programs, such as SLCC Promise at Salt Lake Community College, guided by the belief that everyone, regardless of income level, deserves affordable access to a higher education.

Here are a few scenarios that show how much SLCC will cost your child and how much you should save. The takeaway is simple: the sooner you start saving in your child’s lifetime, the easier it will be on your family budget.

If your child is a freshman in high school now, it will cost about $8,716 to attend four semesters at SLCC four years from now. You’d have to save about $2,179 per year or about $84 per paycheck.It will cost about $9,876 to send your sixth grader to SLCC for two years, which means saving $1,411 per year or about $54 per paycheck.

If you have a kindergartener, it will cost about $12,682 to send that person to SLCC, meaning you have to save about $975 per year or $38 per pay period. And if you just had a baby, in 18 years an education at SLCC will cost about $15,620, which by saving $868 per year until then means you only need to save about $33 per paycheck.