I have been working in the college world for over a decade and have helped families save millions of dollars off the cost of college. I really believe the best way to reduce college debt is by having a plan on the front end to reduce the cost before you enter college. If we spend a few minutes and think about this logically, when the cost is reduced on the front end, before your child even enters first semester of their freshman year, you owe less when they graduate. This can be accomplished organically, with a clear understanding of how the college game is played, who the players are and what opportunities each family has. I am not a big proponent of families spending thousands of dollars to get a plan to teach you how to “game” the system. I have helped families from low income to over $400,000 of AGI reduce their cost of college without spending a dime for the information. If you have a few thousand to spend on a plan, you are probably better off using it to pay for college. About 10-15% of the families need to spend a few bucks to have someone help them get into college, and the right one.
In my experience, if a family is on the same page during the junior and senior year of high school then the student will choose a better “fit” for the college they attend, which has many benefits. First, if a student is getting into a college or university that wants them, you can expect more financial benefit and better awards, maybe an additional $20,000 over four years. That can come in the form of merit money or scholarships. Another benefit the student has is a higher chance of getting out in four years, not five or six. That is another $40,000- $60,000 savings. Finally, when everyone knows the boundaries that are in place they can work towards a common goal. It should be getting the student into a career that is viable and will pay for the student loans they must take to complete the process. Mom and dad are not expected to pay for the whole education, at least not the families I speak with. When the student has some skin in the game, they feel like they own it and will work harder.
There are many other resources that were not available when I went to college that will help reduce the cost for families today, even how they get scholarships is different. They now have micro-scholarships which are a game changer. Most high schools can help guide that ship, but we always make sure mom and dad are following up to acquire those dollars that are floating out there waiting to get grabbed and used.
Certified College Debt Specialists at Responsible College Advocates have the tools, knowledge, and technology to keep you on track, your goals at the forefront, and your dollars working for you and not your lenders.