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Your Bank > Education and Advice > CNB University

Tips for Leveraging College Payments

Donna L. Cator
Donna L. Cator, CFP® is Vice President - Financial Planning Officer and can be reached at DCator@CNBank.com or (315) 781-2700 x42220.

Are you losing sleep worrying about your children’s college education? Where is the money going to come from? Will they be accepted to the "right" college? Will they graduate with a marketable skill set?

Don’t take on the challenge of college planning and funding alone, involve your children. After all, it’s their future. The more vested they are in the entire process, including paying for college, the better chances they will have of a positive outcome.

Here are some ideas that may work for you depending on your personal and financial circumstance.

  • You pay half and your child pays half. Your child can pay half by borrowing, scholarships, working etc., and you can match the amount dollar-for-dollar.
  • Encourage your child to take advantage of programs that are offered in high school. Most of the area high schools in the Finger Lakes Region offer college-bound students the opportunity to take college credits. It is conceivable to graduate high school with a year’s worth of college credit behind them.
  • If your child isn’t ready for college, encourage the idea of taking a year off and work in the "real world". Spending a year in the workforce may show the value of a college education, as well as provide an opportunity to mature. Your child will also get a feel for its strengths and gain clarity on future goals. The employer may even pay for a portion of the tuition.
  • Require your child to pay for their freshman year. If you child ends the first year with an acceptable GPA, you could pay for the additional three years.
  • Split the college education in two parts. The first two years at a community college, perhaps living at home, followed by two years at a 4-year college. This strategy could cut the total bill for a bachelor’s degree in half, particularly if the student completes the final two years at a private school.

These strategies go well beyond college. When you and your child work together in this way it encourages the development of a good work ethic, helps to prepare for college, and identifies the courses necessary to achieve your child’s career goals.