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Reduce stress with informed college funding plans

Parents have long faced the challenges of putting their students through higher education, as the cost and complexity of doing so can be immense. The Seattle Times recently reported that the latest data from the College Board indicated the total cost of four-year public universities rose by 3.3 percent between 2014 and 2015 on the national level, and similarly, that private university fees and tuition climbed 3.5 percent in that time. 

Rising costs and an ever-expanding landscape of lending options can be stressful, but seeking out a qualified college adviser can help families navigate through these processes a bit more seamlessly and intelligently. Empowered with the knowledge provided by a professional college advisor, the planning process will not be quite as obstacle-ridden, and parents will be able to focus on other aspects of higher education. 

The experts say start saving early however statistics prove we do not!
The best way to set a college funding plan up for success is to begin saving early. SurfKY News recommended parents begin saving up as soon as their children are born, potentially even signing up for an automatic debit that will credit the savings accounting each month or when paychecks clear. Because of the rising costs of higher education, the source also suggested parents aim to expand the annual investment each year, as this will help to keep the account on pace with tuition increases. The facts are that we, as a nation, simply don't start even thinking about it until our students are in high school!

Most analysts suggest beginning a college savings account early in a child's life.Most analysts suggest beginning a college savings account early in a child's life.

Furthermore, the news provider argued that higher education is indeed worth the headaches and financial challenges involved, stating that one study from J.P. Morgan Asset Management that found college graduates earn 38 percent more than high school diploma holders. Interestingly, SurfKY noted that the analysts included student loans in their measurement, meaning that the actual gross earnings are far higher for many college graduates. 

When the children have reached high school, NerdWallet's Brett Tushingham affirmed that parents will then begin to have a better perspective of what the true costs will be. At that stage, Tushingham explained that parents should conduct a broad search of both schools and financial aid packages, looking for both need-based support and those offered for academic achievements. The reality is that most parents simply don't do this.

Making sense of it all
Statistically most families have to turn to borrowing to pay for college and because the college lending market is so complex, many parents might end up missing out on opportunities for aid and other financial incentives when they try to navigate through the processes alone. Experts can step in to inform and guide the planning process for college funding, as well as other needs of high school graduates entering colleges. Parents can end up saving themselves from many extraneous costs and setbacks in the plan by getting all of the right information ahead of time. 

To ensure your family is on the best path, register for free for your own Smart TrackTM membership or get in touch with a Smart TrackTM college funding expert. This specialized support will pay off dividends down the road.