Global View Investment Blog

Why Have College Debt When it is Avoidable?

Many college graduates walk out with tons of debt. In fact, it’s one of students’ and their parents’ most common worries! It is very overwhelming and stressful when often, the amount of debt is way more than you will ever make in your field. These young adults are already trying to figure out life and what it truly means to be on their own. Therefore, there is no reason students should be leaving college with such a large burden on their shoulders.

As a somewhat-recent college graduate, I have felt this stress and burden of college loans. Below, I have provided some helpful tips that I wish my parents and I were aware of before and during my college education. Make the right decisions ahead of time to eliminate or minimize student loans – and make attending college a worry free decision. These tools apply to students throughout the state of South Carolina and nationwide.

(Click here for our breakdown of 5 specific scholarships offered to South Carolina students.)

 

It’s never too early to start planning for the future. Contact Global View to see how we can help.

 

State Scholarships

The state of South Carolina has four different scholarship opportunities for residents: The HOPE Scholarship, the LIFE Program, the Palmetto Fellow Scholarship and the Lottery Tuition Assistance Program. You are eligible to receive one scholarship at a time. Each state has their own scholarship and grants to investigate.

(For more on South Carolina’s scholarships, click here.)

 

Federal Student Aid – FASFA

Before each year of college, parents and students are encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form is used to determine federal aid eligibility. Many institutions and state programs also look at this form for funding they offer. Through the FASFA, you have the potential to be awarded a work-study job, federal loans and/or a Pell Grant.

  1. Work Study Jobs: Provides part-time jobs to undergraduate and graduate students to help pay for educational expenses. The jobs are normally offered through the school you are attending.
  2. Federal Loans: The amount awarded is determined based off the need per school.
    1. Direct subsidized loans are for ungraduated students and do not incur interest while in school.
    2. Direct unsubsidized loans are for undergraduate and graduate students and incur interest while in school.
    3. A Direct PLUS loan is available to graduate/professional students or parents of undergraduate students.
  3. Federal Grants: Grants are a source of free money. There are many different types of grants but the most common federal grant is the Pell Grant.
    1. Pell Grant: Awarded to undergraduate students whose needs are exponential. The awarded amount is calculated based of expected family contributions, cost of attendance, status in school (full- or part-time) and how long you plan to attend school.
      1. Expected family contribution is calculated by looking at your prior year tax return, adjusted gross income, family size and assets available for schooling.

For more information on student aid, click here.

 

Military/Veteran Parents

The VA offers many educational benefits for service members, veterans and their qualified family members. If you are serving in the military, are a veteran or are a reserve member, talk to your local VA office about the benefits that you may have remaining to use for your own education or for the education of your children. The GI Bill has been helping veterans since 1944 cover additional schooling and training. An additional bill was passed after 9/11 that provides additional benefits to those serving during that time (Post-9/11 GI Bill).

For more information on these services, click here.

Private Scholarships

Private scholarships are some of the easiest scholarships to be awarded. You simply must do your research and apply. There are scholarships awarded to students based off their talents, grades, graduating school, desired career path or other things.

A simple Google search will help you find scholarships in your area. There is no harm in applying for as many scholarships as possible. You never know when you will be the recipient.

Here are two great local resources:

https://www.greenville.k12.sc.us/Parents/main.asp?titleid=collegeschol

https://www.cfgreenville.org/scholarships/

 

Education Savings Accounts

A 529 plan is designed to allow parents the opportunity to save for their children’s education while allowing the funds to grow for many years ahead. By saving to your state’s 529 plan, you are setting aside the money to allow your children to attend college with less burden.

Once the funds are in the 529 plan, the funds will grow tax-free. If the funds are used for educational expenses, there is no tax or penalties. In some states’ plans, like South Carolina’s, you will receive a state income tax deduction in the year you place the funds in the account. If your parents or grandparents live in South Carolina and want to give an educational gift to your children, they can also receive the state income tax deduction.

A 529 plan is a great tool to start funding each month at the time a child is born. Aim to fund two years’ worth of a four-year, public, in-state school. This can be adjusted as the child gets older and you have a better idea of the true need. We all hope that every child will receive scholarships, but we also never know if they will attend a two-year trade school.

For more information, click here.

 

The Bottom Line

There are many options for funding education, but you must prepare ahead of time and help guide your children to success. As the wife of a college coach, I can tell you that coaches pay more attention to how much effort a child puts into schooling than most realize. Athletes aren’t just given scholarships; their coaches want to see just as much dedication in the classroom! That dedication translates into all areas of their life. All students need to strive their hardest to earn free money!

I encourage all students and parents to complete the FASFA, as you never know what you may receive. Continue to encourage your children to do their very best at school and begin preparing for the cost that may lie ahead. Don’t settle for loans because it is the easy way out in the moment. Plan, save, research and apply to give yourself and your children as much financial freedom as possible as soon as they walk across that stage. Make the decision worry free!

Please feel free to reach out to one of our team members at Global View. We will be glad to walk you through the process to assure you are on the right track for providing your children’s education. If paying for college is a financial goal of yours, it’s important to include it into your comprehensive financial planning early on.

 

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Erin Sweatt

Written by Erin Sweatt

Erin works as a paraplanner alongside our Advisors in managing client relationships and special financial planning needs, including retirement transition, education, and estate planning. Erin began working in the financial advisory business upon graduating from the University of Georgia with a BS in Financial Planning in 2015. She competed in the National Financial Planning Student Challenge in 2014. Erin is a member of the Financial Planning Association. She volunteers at Habitat for Humanity as a Financial Assessor.

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