(BPT) - The second half of summer brings a welcomed sense of familiarity for families across the country as back-to-school season approaches, and enthusiasm is particularly strong after more than a year of uncertainty upended the education system as we know it. While a widespread return-to-campus is a particularly exciting time at the college level, some families may also feel a sense of apprehension, especially in the wake of COVID-19.
In fact, affordability and dealing with the debt burden that often goes hand-in-hand with a degree is the top concern of both parents and students, according to the Princeton Review’s 2021 College Hopes & Worries survey. With many parents trying to balance daily expenses, savings progress and the cost of college simultaneously, supporting four years of higher education can be a struggle. Some may even be prioritizing college payments over their retirement contributions (not usually recommended by financial advisors), or other investments.
The good news is that with proper planning, parents can continue making progress toward saving for their own future while also helping ease the cost of college. In addition to long-term tools (like 529 College Savings plans), there are ways parents can get strategic about how they finance the remaining gap that exists when tuition comes due later this summer.
It's possible to help a loved one achieve a better financial future without sacrificing yours. Here are a few tips to consider:
An added bonus: get your student involved in the decision-making process! Not only will they learn something, but providing them with the added context around any financial commitments made may inspire them to make healthy financial decisions along the way.