5 Financial Surprises that College Parents are Not Prepared For – Part 2
Yesterday we showed you the first two out of five types of unexpected expenses that both parents and their children can face when it comes to paying for college. Today we continue with that list, which, if you are a college parent, will help you prevent these expenses and be ready to avoid unexpected strains on your wallet.
Here they are:
3. Meal budget:
This one is easily one of the most overlooked costs of attending college for any student. It can also be one of the most significant ones, aside from being completely unavoidable. That said, one of the most common (and expensive) mistakes that parents can make when when paying for the food of their children when they attend college is to take one of the many campus meal plans, which not only tend to be expensive but also limited in choice.
If you are a college parent and all the same you choose for your child to go with the campus meal plan, do some research. You might find that your child’s college or university allow students to scale back their plans even mid-semester. Others allow them to roll excess meal points or cash over to the following semester to be redeemed then. Parents should also make sure that the college their children attend allows to spend unclaimed meal points on bulk items, like water cases and such. This ensures that, even if paying a lot for meals plans at college, not a single cent will be wasted.
4. Student loan interest rates:
Student and personal loans are oftentimes included as a part of college financial aid award packages. But the fact that they come included like this does’t mean that they are free money. Quite the opposite in fact, they have to be repaid, and with added interest. The big problem with this is that the amounts for these student or personal loans tend to be quite substantial and since repayment periods also tend to be long, the added cost of the personal loan can end up being enormous.
In order to avoid this scenario, parents can instead negotiate with third party lenders in order to get more favorable terms, like lower overall interest rates or more reasonable repayment periods of time. Additionally, parents can also reach out to the college’s financial aid administrators, who might be able to help as well.
Obtaining a scholarship is definitely one of the dreams of anyone attending college, and indeed there are many opportunities to procure a college scholarship. However, it is finding the necessary funding which requires some digging. So, if you are a parent or college attending student you should at all costs fight for a scholarship and look for all the available resources that might allow you to get one.
A helpful tip for parents or future college students: The search for a scholarship should start early during high school and should be given all the necessary time in order to prepare all the necessary essays for the colleges they plan to apply to.This will greatly increase their chances of being granted a scholarship or to at least of standing out for additional funding on one of their colleges of preference.
There you go. As you have seen, being a college parent is not an easy task by any means. It requires prevention and acting early on during a student’s high school years in order to save the necessary amounts and avoid things like overspending or acquiring student or personal loans.