College Savings

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, earnings are higher and the unemployment rate is lower for people who have high levels of education. Your Wealth Alliance Advisor can help you invest in the education of your children, grandchildren, and future generations.

ESTIMATING THE COST OF COLLEGE

Tip: Public Costs. Average in–state tuition and fees for public four-year institutions was $9,410 for the 2015-2016 school year. Out-of-state tuition for these same institutions averaged $23,893.
Source: College Board, 2015

It doesn’t take a degree in finance to see the cost of college continues to rise.

In its 2015 report, the College Board showed that public four-year institutions raised prices an average of 3.4% annually between the 2005-06 and 2015-16 school years. Put another way, a $5,000 education in 2005-06 would cost $6,985 in 2015-16.

For a few families, the lion’s share of education costs falls on parents and, in some cases, on grandparents. Generally the majority of families rely on a combination of scholarships, grants, financial aid, part-time jobs, and parent support to help pay the cost.

Fast Fact: Private Costs. Tuition and fees for private four-year institutions averaged $32,405 for the 2015-2016 school year. If you add room and board, the figure rises to $43,921.
Source: College Board, 2015

If your child is approaching college age, a good first step is estimating the potential costs. The accompanying worksheet can help you get a better idea about the cost of a four-year college.

If you’ve already put money away for college, the worksheet will take that amount into consideration. If you haven’t, it’s never too late to start.

Resources

There are a number of resources that can help individuals prepare for college. The U.S. government distributes certain information on colleges and costs. Here are two sites to consider reviewing:

www.studentaid.ed.gov
The government’s college and financial aid portal.

www.collegeboard.org
The group that administers the SAT test.

Estimating the Cost of College

Estimating the Cost of CollegeEstimating the Cost of College

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2017 FMG Suite.

A CHEAT SHEET FOR SENDING YOUR KID TO COLLEGE

College marks a great milestone in a child’s life. It may be the first time he or she will live away from home. Dropping off your child at college may be an experience loaded with emotions, so here are a few tips for a smoother transition.

Accept that the Parent-Child Dynamic Has Changed

Your child is always your child, and will need you as much as ever. However, parents need to understand that their role has transitioned from “supervisor” to “mentor.”

Make the Move Simple

Do not bring the moving van. Not only will it embarrass your child, but dorm rooms just aren’t that large. Bring only what’s appropriate.

Consider pre-ordering essentials (soap, bedding, shower caddy, etc.) for pick-up at a location by the school. This will save space whether your trip is by car or plane.

Don’t Leave “The Talk” to the Drop-off

While college represents a gateway to many wonderful experiences, parents will want to have a serious conversation about safety, responsible behavior, finances, and expectations about staying in touch.

Do not leave it for the drop-off. It is sure to sour the moment and may rush a conversation that deserves more time and mutual dialogue.

Time to Learn Financial Responsibility

Your child will need spending money. You may want to provide a debit card attached to an account that has a set sum for the full semester, or one that’s refreshed with monthly deposits. College is a perfect time to learn budgeting.

Take the Lead from Your Child

Let your child have the discretion to make decisions about what to bring. However important you think a dust skirt for the bed is, try to avoid fights. Let your child make a mistake. It’s the best way to learn.

Your child will likely send signals when it’s time for you to go. Listen to them. It’s time for him or her to begin connecting with new roommates. Expect that final “good-bye dinner” to be canceled since your child may prefer an impromptu introductory dinner with the new roommate.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2017 FMG Suite.

COUNTDOWN TO COLLEGE

Tip: Parlez-vous Francais? Many universities like to see multiple years of foreign language on a transcript.
Source: Collegeapps.about.com, March 11, 2016

Most parents want to give their children the best opportunity for success, and getting into the right college may help open doors. According to the Census Bureau, 33% of American adults have a bachelor's degree, and those with a bachelor's degree earn 67% more on average than those with just a high school diploma. ¹

Unfortunately, being accepted to the college of their choice may not be as easy as it once was. These days, preparing for college means setting goals, staying focused, and tackling a few key milestones along the way.

Before High School

The road to college begins even before high school. Start by helping your elementary and middle school children develop a love for learning. Encourage good study habits and get them dreaming about college. A trip to a nearby university or your alma mater may help plant the seed in their minds. When your child reaches middle school, take the time to find out which prerequisite courses may set the right track for math and science in high school.

The earlier you consider how you expect to pay for college costs the better. The average college graduate today owes $37,172 in debt, while the average salary for a recent graduate is $49,785.²

Freshman Year

Before the school year begins, consider meeting with your child’s guidance counselor. Discuss college goals and make sure your child is enrolled in classes that are structured to help him or her pursue those goals. Also, encourage your child to choose challenging classes. Many universities look for students who push themselves when it comes to learning. At the same time, keep a close eye on grades. Every year on the transcript counts. If your child is struggling in a subject, don’t wait to get a tutor. One-on-one instruction can be a huge benefit when mastering difficult material.

In addition to academic performance, many colleges want prospective students to be well rounded, so encourage your child to engage in extracurricular activities, such as sports, music, art, community service, and social clubs.

Sophomore Year

During their sophomore year, some students may have the opportunity to take a practice SAT. The practice test is a good way to give your child an idea of what the test entails and which areas need improvement. If your child is enrolled in advanced placement (AP) courses, encourage good performance on AP exams. A solid grade shows universities your child can succeed at a higher level of learning.

Sophomore year is also a good time to get some depth in extracurricular activities. Help your child identify passions and stick to them. Encourage your child to read as much as possible. Whether they read Crime and Punishment or Sports Illustrated, they will expand their vocabulary and critical thinking skills. Summer may be a good time for sophomores to get a job, do an internship, or travel to help fill their quiver of experiences.

Junior Year

Near the beginning of junior year, your child can take the Preliminary SAT, (PSAT), also known as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT). Even if he or she won’t need to take the SAT for college, taking the PSAT could open doors for scholarship money. Junior year may be the most challenging in terms of course load. It is also a critical year for showing good grades in difficult classes.

Top colleges look for applicants who are future leaders. Encourage your child to take a leadership role in an extracurricular activity. This doesn’t mean he or she has to be drum major or captain of the football team. Leading may involve helping an organization with fundraising, marketing, or community outreach.

In the spring of junior year, your child will want to take the SAT or ACT. An early test date may allow time for taking the test again in senior year, if necessary. No matter how many times your child takes the test, colleges will only look at the best score.

Senior Year

For many students, senior year is the most exciting time of high school. They will finally begin to reap the benefits of all their efforts during the previous years. Once your child has decided which schools to apply for, make sure you keep on top of deadlines. Applying early can increase your student’s chance of acceptance.

Fast Fact: Pre-Approved. The U.S. Department of Education says that all students, regardless of financial status, are eligible for up to $31,000 in federal Stafford Loans over four years.
Source: U.S. Department of Education, 2017

Now is also the time to apply for scholarships. Your child’s guidance counselor can help you identify scholarships within reach. Also, find out about financial aid and be thorough. According to research by NerdWallet.com, nearly $3 billion in free federal grant money goes unclaimed each year simply because students fail to fill out the free application.³

Finally, talk to your child about living away from home. Help make sure he or she knows how to manage money wisely and pay bills on time. You may also want to talk about social pressures some college freshmen face for the first time when they move away from home.

For many people, college sets the stage for life. Making sure your children have options when it comes to choosing a university can help shape their future. Work with them today to make goals and develop habits that will help ensure their success.

South Paws Wanted

Your child doesn’t have to be the high school valedictorian to qualify for a scholarship. In fact, thousands of dollars are awarded each year for the most unusual things. Consider these:

Countdown to College
  1. Right-handers need not apply. Frederick and Mary F. Beckley offer $1,000 to lucky left-handed students (who also want to attend Juniata College in Huntington, PA).
  2. Stick It. Duck Brand Duct Tape offers $3,000 to students who go to their high school prom dressed entirely in duct tape
  3. How Tall Is Tall? Tall Clubs International offers $1,000 each year to a tall person attending college. Get out the measuring tape. A woman must be at least 5’10” and a man must be 6’2” or taller to qualify.
  4. Candy Connoisseurs Unite. The American Association of Candy Technologists offers $5,000 to students who have exhibited an interest in confectionary technology.
  5. From “Mr. Top Ten” Himself. David Letterman offers $10,000 to students of Ball State University (his alma mater) who produce an original video, audio, written, graphic, or film presentation.

Source: Financialaidfinder.com, 2017

  1. Census Bureau, March 2016; Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 20, 2017
  2. U.S. News and World Report, May 9, 2016; Time.com, May 12, 2017
  3. NerdWallet, January 27, 2016

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2017 FMG Suite.