Whether you’re a parent trying to figure out how to finance your child’s primary or secondary education, or a traditional or non-traditional student planning for the next few years of your life, one thing rings true…paying for an education takes planning, preparation, and often times some tough financial choices. Let Midland Credit Union help you navigate some of them.
Saving For Education
Starting early is the key to saving for your child’s education. If possible, as soon as your child is born, begin a college savings account for them. If you’re struggling financially, start with just $20 per month and build on that monthly amount as your finances improve. You’ll be surprised how quickly it adds up!
Build It Faster With a Money Market or Share Certificate
Your education dollars will compound more quickly if deposited in to a Money Market Savings account or Share Certificate. Both are a secure way to save for the future because your principal investments are not at risk, and the dividends paid are higher. Be sure to ask us about the options we offer.
Transition Daycare or Private School Funds to College
If both parents work outside the home and you pay for daycare expenses, be sure to shift at least some of those dollars into a college fund once your child goes to school. If you’re sending your child to private school, chances are those fees will be similar to the cost of post-secondary education. So, while you may feel a sense of financial relief once daycare or private tuition costs are gone, it’s best to stay focused on your end goal and funnel that money toward the future.
Paying For Education
How Much Should You Borrow?
Before applying for a loan, you will need to make a budget. First, calculate your expenses for the upcoming school year including tuition, books, transportation and the costs of living. Next, determine how much money you already have to contribute and how much you expect to make over the course of the year. The difference between the two figures is the amount you’ll need to borrow.
Also consider your repayment strategy. Are the terms of the loan acceptable? Will you be able to handle the monthly payments? If not, you’ll need to look for alternate ways to finance your education, or reduce your total costs.
In most cases, government student loans offer the best terms. There are no payments due and no interest until after graduation. However, there are also private loans that cover the gap between what you can pay for your education and the total cost of your education. Ask us for more information about borrowing for your education.
Grants & Scholarships
Don’t dismiss the value of applying for grants and scholarships. Both offer assistance in paying for your college…and neither of them have to be paid back! There are typically specific qualifications for grants, and scholarships have application qualifications – and sometimes maintenance qualifications – but a few hours could net you some serious dollars!
Often times your high school counselor or your college’s financial aid office can help you dig-up a variety of scholarships to apply for. There are more out there than you probably think! The key is to start early. Many times the application deadlines are several months in advance.
How To Do Your Banking
Accounts You & Your Parents Can Access
If your parents are assisting with your education and/or living expenses, it’s wise to have an account you can both access with ease. You can take Midland Credit Union with you wherever you live or work. Plus, we offer a variety of ways to access your accounts, such as Privileged Status ATMs, Home Banking, Mobile Banking & more.
Credit Card Offers
You’ll discover that you will be virtually inundated with credit card offers in college (if that hasn’t already begun). Don’t be swayed to open a credit card account simply because you’ll get a free t-shirt or slice of pizza – it could lead you to trouble in the future, and ultimately impact your long-term credit score. Instead, stick with a credit card that offers you a good rate and won’t take advantage of you.
The Importance of Your Credit Score
Don’t brush-off the importance of building and maintaining a good credit score in college. The best way to show future lenders that you deserve credit is by being responsible with credit from the start…and a bad credit score or credit report could impact rental contracts, job offers and interest rates in the future. If you have any questions about your credit report or credit score, ask us! We’ll be happy to explain them and the significance of each to you.