7+ Options for Teens to Afford College 

By Shannon Gurnee
In Budgeting
July 5, 2022
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Today, on Redhead Mom, I’m sharing a partnered guest post options for teens to afford college.

Teen in front of computer afford collegeSource: Pexels

As your teenager transitions into adulthood, the conversation about college will likely come up. And, while attending university can be an exciting rite of passage, it also comes with its fair share of financial responsibilities – for you as a parent and your child alike. 

If your family is part of the 85% of households in the US that rely on the parents’ income and savings to afford college, you are probably prepared to help your child through their education journey. But there’s also a lot that you can do to reduce expenses and help your teenager afford college. 

Start with the tips below!

First Things First: Understanding What’s Ahead

The first step to affording college is to understand what financial investment is required, how it will impact your household’s finances, and what resources you can tap into. According to recent estimates, the cost a student faces each year of college is around $35,331, including tuition fees, books, supplies, and accommodation. 

The survey “How America Pays for College 2021” conducted by Ipsos shows that over 85% of parents contribute an average of $13,721 through savings and income to each child’s higher education, making it the largest funding source. 

However, many families are now using funds borrowed by their children to pay for college, or their income and savings. Whether you wish to use a single type of funding or tap into multiple sources, having a conversation with your teenager and creating a written plan of how you’ll repay college can help you visualize the investment and effort required. 

Once you have a clear view of what’s ahead, use the tips below to help your teenager afford college in 2022 and beyond. 

Applying for Grants and Scholarships

Applying for grants and scholarships is the best way to access “free” funds – or money that doesn’t need to be paid back. This allows you to reduce the overall financial burden of college and guarantee continued education for your child, even in the event of a financial setback. 

But while scholarships can be a great source of free money, and 6 in 10 applicants receive some financial help, only a small percentage of families apply for one. Don’t leave money on the table and make sure your teenager applies for all scholarships and grants available. 

Applying for FAFSA Help

No matter your household’s income, you should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). This program aims to assess each student’s needs and deliver the financial help needed to afford college expenses. 

While only 68% of families apply for FAFSA every year, this kind of need-based financial aid can help you cover some of the costs involved with attending college. 

Taking Out a Private Student Loan

Once you have exhausted all options to access free or inexpensive funds, the best option for your teenager looking to attend college is to take out a student loan. This isn’t uncommon, and nearly 70% of prospective students of 4-year institutions took out a private student loan to afford college. 

Tailored options like SoFi college loans can help you find lower interest rates and a repayment schedule that works for your financial needs. 

Getting a Part-Time Job

Getting a part-time job while studying might not cover all college expenses, but it can help your teenager pay for rent or pay for other living expenses. In turn, this can reduce the amount of money you need to borrow and, with it, the interest added to the principal. 

Opting for an Online Degree

Online degrees have become increasingly popular, efficient, and appreciated by future employers. While online degrees are certainly not inexpensive, they come with lower tuition fees and reduced overall expenses. 

If opting for an online degree, your teenager can live at home, thus cutting down on expenses like traveling and accommodation. Plus, they can keep their current part-time job!

Tapping Into Household Savings

Recent surveys show that nearly 50% of families have a plan to pay for university. And, if you have been saving for college and retirement for years, you should now have accumulated enough to partly support your children through school. 

Comparing Different Schools and Colleges

Not all colleges are priced equally, and some prestigious schools can be twice or three times more expensive than others. Help your teenager understand what they wish to get out of their learning journey and what school would work best for their goals. 

About Has 2078 Posts

Shannon Gurnee is the author of Redhead Mom formerly "The Mommy-Files", a national blog with a loyal following. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development with a Minor in Business Management. Shannon and her husband, Frank, have a large family with 6 awesome kids and love living on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, California, as well as traveling around the world. A full-time Social Media and Professional Blogger, Shannon also serves as a National Brand Ambassador for many well-known companies. Her blog focuses on motherhood, family fun activities, traveling, fashion, beauty, technology, wedding ideas and recipes while providing professional opinions on products, performances, restaurants, and a variety of businesses.

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