BOSTON (CBS) – How do you plan to pay for college? Renting out your daughter’s room is not really a viable solution. If your kiddo is in her senior year it’s too late to do much more than stick whatever extra cash you can in a savings account.
Colleges will look at your assets and your income to determine financial aid. Financial aid consists of grants which do not have to be repaid, loans or work-study programs. If your income is over $80,000 it will be tough to qualify for grants unless you have more than one child attending college.
Work study programs are good for the kids for they will need to learn to manage their time working, studying and playing.
Colleges sponsor loan programs and payments usually start in September of freshmen year. There are several federal loan programs that you may be eligible for as well. Perkins loan, Stafford loans and there is the PLUS, Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students.
There is lots of good information online. Start with the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority’s website. If you are not computer savvy get your student to do some research for the loans. It is her education after all.
Consider using some of the equity in your home if you have any. I am not a big fan of using your home as a revolving bank account. Look to refinancing or taking out a home equity line of credit. The interest becomes deductible even if you use the money for college expenses.
Last resort: Using your retirement assets. You may be able to borrow from your retirement plan at work, your 401(k) or 403(b). Not always a good idea for if you lose your job the loan will need to be paid back immediately or it is considered a withdrawal. Then taxes are due and if you are under 59½ you will be hit with a 10% penalty
You can also tap into your IRA. But once the money is withdrawn there is no putting it back, for it’s not consider a loan by the government but a withdrawal. There is no 10% penalty due if the money is used for higher education expenses. You will owe taxes on the dollars withdrawn.
If you have a Roth IRA you can tap into the contributions you made to it and because you have already paid taxes on the money you will not incur any more.
UPromise. They have a rebate program and you register your credit cards and grocery cards to earn money for college!
One more thing: Triple A, yes the Automobile Association, is offering some courses on financial aid for college, Financial Aid 101 in December and January. Check out their website for more information.