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My oldest daughter turned 16 in October, so paying for college has been “on the brain” recently. Personally, I would like for her to go to the local community college first for the first two years and then transfer to another state college using the Bright Futures Scholarship to pay for all (or the first) four years.

Recently, we’ve also started looking into other types of scholarships more seriously. Looking for scholarships can be a confusing business though. I’ll be doing more research on scholarships and will share with you what I find over the next few months. 

Jean Chatzky suggests most parents shouldn’t try to pay the full college bill for their children: 

“For most of my childhood, my father was a college professor and my mother substitute-taught. They paid my college tuition by subdividing the property our house stood on and selling half the lot (for which I’ve always been grateful).

But so much has changed since then — most importantly tuition prices, which in recent decades have been going up at two to three times the rate of inflation. That’s the reason that two-thirds of students receive at least some financial aid today. 

So, here’s my suggestion: Don’t aim to pay the entire bill. If you can come up with a third of the money your kids need for college before they go, you are doing a good job. Think about paying another third out of your then-cash flow. And have them borrow the final third.”

I’m starting to read up more on other financial aid options like federal grants and student loans. US News offers a free financial aid guide that you can download. I also love the 101 ways to pay for college from

Mortgage refinancing and home equity loans wouldn’t really be helpful for us since we only purchased our home 2 years ago, and there isn’t any equity in our home. However, after looking at, it appears that refinancing our mortgage could possibly help by reducing our interest rate and monthly mortgage payment, and we could use the monthly savings there to help pay for college. 

Living frugally is one thing we’re trying to do to help save for the expense of having 3 children approaching college age. We coupon, complete projects around the house on our own (rather than hiring someone) using resources like HGTV, try to buy only what we need, review our budget and spending regularly, and use cash as much as possible. 

Sometimes, though, it can feel like we’re not getting anywhere. Something’s always coming up that needs to be paid for… like my car that decided not to start on Tuesday.

How are you planning to pay for college? Have any of your children gone off to college yet? If so, how did you pay for it?

One Response to “Paying for College”

  1. Elena

    My son is enrolled in College Plus. He is taking CLEP tests and so far has 12 college credits. When he has about 60 credits, College Plus will help him enroll in Thomas Edison University, an accredited online school where he will finish his entire business degree. The estimated total cost is around $15,000 – which he can easily manage himself with his part-time job at a pizza shop.


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