Surmounting the mountain of UT college costs

College is expensive. Wherever you live in the country, and no matter which university your child attends, you will have a large bill to pay. Utah, ranked ninth-best state for overall education, is attracting students due to its high standards and improved education system. According to a CollegeCalc review, the average annual tuition fee in Utah is $12,348.

Just because college costs are inevitable doesn't mean you can't prepare for them. Here are some ideas to help narrow down the cost gap to your child achieving a college degree. 

Savings

According to a Statista study, the percentage of American parents saving for their child's college education has dipped. However, a recent Sallie Mae research paper shows parents’ income and savings still ranks as thetop two sources for college funding. This means that many parents consider college costs their financial burden. And although figures show parents saving less for tuition, they are still the first line of attack against college debt. 

Financial Aid: Scholarships and Grants

Financial aid is widely available if you know where to look. The Sallie Mae paper also says that eight in every 10 families access scholarships and grants to help cover college costs. The New Century Scholarship Program and the Utah Regents Scholarship are just a couple of options available in the beehive state. Similar programs are available outside Utah.

In-State Schooling

This requires a little more foresight from parents, but attending a UT college when living in-state will give you considerable savings, with fees as low as $6,000. Salt Lake City high schools offer a variety of private, public, and charter school options if you are considering moving to the state.

Employment

For the 2018-19 school year, 68 percent of college students found jobs during term-time. Students finding work remains a popular choice for living expenses and reducing college debt. Federal work-study programs exist for students, but other opportunities are available.  Students looking for jobs whilst attending college need to strike a balance between financial needs and study time. 

Financial Aid: Student Loans

Utah has the lowest student debt and default rates in the US according to the Utah System of Higher Education. If you do need to review your loan options though, visit the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority's website. They have all sorts of helpful links, features, and steps about student loans and repayment plans, including loan consolidation, postponement options and teacher loan forgiveness. Joining the Peace Corps or the military is another way to reduce higher education expenses.

Other Creative Solutions

If a student really wants to go the extra mile to help pay for college education, here are a few ideas:

 — Have a yard sale. Never underestimate the value of your post-loved stuff. 

 — Explore crowdfunding. Tell the internet about your story and give them the chance to help out. 

— Have entrepreneurial talent? Then set-up a small business selling your artwork, cooking or computer skills.

 — Find work in more traditional student jobs, such as waiting tables, babysitting or dog walking.

Frugality

Frugal

Although they may be on a tight budget, students can save costs by being frugal. You'll be surprised by how much a few changes in routine can add up, and ultimately help pay down the student debt.

College is expensive but the reward is a boost into starting their future. Whether or not you manage to pay off college debt quickly, the key is to not lose focus. Determination, creativity, and hope are the three best allies in paying for college, and in enjoying college life.

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