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College students will be headed to class in little more than a month. Financial expert Mark Lamkin has five steps that can help you pay for college.
5 Steps for paying for college
1. Determine costs How can you pay for something if you don't know how much the total costs are? There are several online calculators, school specific is better, that can help you calculate the costs. Remember, it's more than tuition and room. Think about food, laundry, tooth paste all the costs that it takes to live. If you're not going to be in a dorm, costs are going to be more. Be ready to have your total budget and understand the monthly costs in addition to your tuition.
2. Financial Aid Office This is the very first stop for every prospective student and enrolling student. There is no person on campus that understands your school and the available funds better than these employees. Every student needs to fill out the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This form is the gateway to federal financial aid and free money to go to school and if you don't fill it out, you'll never know. Grants, scholarships and subsidized loans are all a result of the FAFSA form.
3. Borrow Wisely Now that you know the total costs and what federal funds you have qualified for, you know the "gap" you need to borrow. Please know that just because a loan is available, doesn't mean you should take it. You have to pay every loan back. It is not free money! Lock in rates now. Use fixed rate loans as rates will be rising over the next five years. Always use government loans first and then, and only then, use private banks to fund your student loans. Search for Sallie Mae lenders to receive some of the best deals.
4. Wise work study Most colleges and universities have a work study program. Students rarely work more than 10-15 hours and every little bit helps. You can qualify for food or meal discounts, sometimes tuition and housing reductions. Best of all, you start gaining valuable work experience now. But jobs like these can pay for books and reduce your loans.
5. Local scholarships Local scholarships and grants are one of the most important overlooked funding sources today. Talk to your guidance counselor but don't stop there. Google is your friend. Think PTA, Civic organizations, or school clubs. Get online and beat the bushes as you may be surprised what you can find. $500 here $1000 there can add up and reduce the amount of loans that you may have to apply for. Working adults need to ask for tuition assistance from employers first.
Lamkin Wealth Management 5151 Jefferson Blvd., Suite 102 or 901 Lily Creek Drive Ste. 102 office: 502-961-6550 Office toll free: 866-961-6550 www.lamkinwealth.com
"Securities Offered Through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC and an Investment Advisor"