Guest Post and Giveaway: Affordable Strategies for College–Day 3

This week we’re focusing on “College for Less.” Ellie Kay who is a past Hearts at Home workshop speaker, is helping us to think beyond student loans.  If you’ve missed Day 1 and 2 you can find them below (or here if you receive my posts by email).

We’re also giving away six books this week including my book, Living With Less So Your Family Has More.  To enter, simply leave a comment on today’s post!

 Balance in All Things

     Bob and I are very careful about the fact that we want our kids to be kids and not have adult responsibilities too soon. There is, however, a balance. While we are real sticklers on homework and housework and don’t allow the kids to treat us like we’re their maids, we do understand that they are still kids and need to have fun in their childhood. Consequently, if they are enrolled in AP, IB or college classes while in high school, we try to make sure that they do not overdo it. We limit their extracurricular activities and discourage a regular part time job so that their primary “job” will be to get good grades in their advanced courses.  It would be a self defeating effort to have them take advanced or college classes only to have their overly busy schedules negate their ability to get good grades.  Remember, there is not credit if they don’t pass the AP or IP tests or pass the college course they are taking! So look closely at the curriculum before you sign your student up for these classes, establish work/study habits, set boundaries to preserve the integrity of their grades and leave room for kids to be kids and have fun!

 Community First, Four Year Later

     Think of it as a half price sale for education: You buy two years at full price, get two for half-off or more. The average community college tuition rate is 40 percent of the average tuition rate at four-year public colleges and 10 percent of the average tuition rate at four-year private institutions. If your child attends a community college for two years, you’ll not only save money on tuition, you’ll also save on room, board and transportation by sticking close to home. The key to getting the most value for your education dollar is to make sure these college credits are transferable and assure that it is working toward the four-year college goal.

Employee Discount

    My high school friend, Karyn Maxwell had a dad who was a baseball coach. He worked his way up to the college level and by the time Karyn’s older sister graduated high school, he was the baseball coach atTexasChristianUniversity. Both Karyn and her sister went there for free due to his employee benefits. If you, or your child, has some latitude in your career, consider working at a local college for the tuition benefits it would afford you or your child.

     Most universities offer some form of tuition remission to their full-time employees and others extend the benefit to part-time employees as well. If you can’t secure a staff position at the school of your choice, don’t forget that many companies offer tuition reimbursement packages. A study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management estimates that 67 percent of all employers offer financial assistance to employees seeking an undergraduate degree.

I hope our discussions this week have been helpful! Tomorrow we’ll look at college savings plans for every family!

What about you? Did you go to college? How did you balance work and grades?  (If you’re reading this in email, click here to leave a comment and enter the book giveaway!)

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21 Responses to Guest Post and Giveaway: Affordable Strategies for College–Day 3

  1. Robin Still says:

    It was a blessing that I did go to college and graduate. I too had parents that were quick to not hand me to many adult responsibilities before my time. I was blessed that I never worked while in high school. Now when in college I did work, marched in the band and took a full load. I am one of those people who seem to do better when my plate is full…I wonder why I do it but do seem to strike a balance better. When I was in college I had what was called a Plus Loan…I had to apply every semester and began paying it back almost immediately while still in school. It was a low cost $30 per month but it taught me to balance my money. I went to the local college instead of my dream college because my parents lost everything they had in the oil crisis that hit Lousiana. As I look back, having nothing really taught me how to make something out of nothing. I also can now see God’s hands all over it…I learned much about balance, money and working. As I am older and have a daughter about to go to college…I am searching for ways to make more out of less…

    May you be blessed today to overflowing!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Robin

  2. Din T says:

    I worked while I was in high school but a lot of the college level courses offered now were not available when I was in school so it was much easier to balance work and school.

  3. Ann Garrido says:

    Yes, I went to college. It wasn’t easy though. At first, I was rather immature. I went back when I was 21, and had to pay it by myself. Of course, I had to take out student loans. But by this time, I was married and had my first son. I was lucky enough to be able to just focus on school at the time. I started at a community college, then transferred to a four-year. That’s when I had to work at the same time as going to school full-time, plus being mommy. I still had to take out loans. I don’t know how I did it. I will be honest though, my grades did suffer from it all. But I graduated. I don’t know how, but it all worked out. It just takes a lot of hard work!

    P.S. Would love Living with Less So Your Family Has More!

  4. Gloria D'Arcy says:

    I worked part time in high school and did not attend college as my parents could not really afford it and I didn’t feel I needed a degree to pursue my career goal. That was true, but now do wish I had gone on to higher education so my earning potential would be greater. We have no savings for college and just praying for wisdom and God’s plan for our 2 teens!

  5. Tami says:

    My husband went to community college for 2 years and then transferred to a state college. He paid for everything himself – however – I would just warn parents to make sure that all the credits will transfer. My husband ended up having to go an extra semester because some credits did not transfer! Also – awesome tip on trying to get a job at a college. I know a mom who got a job at a 4-year college and has to be employed for ONE YEAR and ALL OF HER CHILDREN will get to go there FOR FREE!!!!

  6. For me, doing an online program for my master’s degree in Literacy (Education) was an awesome experience and great money saver!
    Would love to be entered in the giveaway!

  7. Annette says:

    I did work while I went to college … but I also had loans. I know I would have done things a lot differently if I had known other options in my younger years. Thank you for posting these articles from Ellie to help us better plan for our family (college for 2 boys)

  8. Lisa Q says:

    I was blessed not to have to work while I was in college. My son, on the other hand, goes to a private university that is very expensive and therefore must work to help with expenses. I worry a lot about whether he can handle it all but I also think it helps him learn time management and how to manage many different responsibilities. He assures he me he is doing fine!

  9. Kelley says:

    I worked while in college, and used the student placement office to find the jobs I had. This was very helpful! I also had scholarships, loans and grants. But I have to admit, I got very tired of making that $50.50 / month payment. Seemed like it took forever to get it paid off!

    As a funny, today my son, who’s 9, told me he wanted to use his money in the bank to buy a 3DS (which he may end up getting for Christmas). I make the comment that I’d like him to save his money for college… He tried to tell me he didn’t think he would be going to college (so I would let him spend his money on the game console). He then admitted he didn’t really understand ‘college’. I’ve got some work to do…

  10. Susan says:

    I really don’t have anything to add. I am loving the content this week. Thank you so much having the idea to address this topic.

  11. Pauline says:

    I paid my way through college and did it debt-free. I worked in the summers and then in the college bookstore. The bookstore was a great job because the long hours were usually before school began in the fall and between semesters so I worked less during the semester and was able to do well with my studies. I also got my books for a discount! I know this is unrealistic for my kids, though, because the price of tuition is so much higher that just working in the summer won’t even put a dent in the amount of money needed during the year.

  12. Erin says:

    I think it is excellent advice to find balance and not overdo activities and work. My parents had the same policy for me and I want to encourage the same for my children. This applies at many ages really…even young children need to be taught to make school a priority by finding balance and making good choices.

  13. amanda rempe says:

    I like how you point out that the kids need to be kids. Also it is great advice on how if the child is to busy with extra stuff how is he going to learn. Everyone suffers in the long run. Thanks for all the great advice!

  14. Lisa M says:

    Yes, I went to college. I worked small part-time jobs while in college – English tutor, babysitter for local family for 3 years, library aide in the educational science library and I waitressed during the summers. My parents paid my room, board, and tuition but my jobs helped pay for my incidentals and my phone bill!

  15. Shawna Wahl says:

    I went to Community College, but didn’t finish because the financial burden was too hard. I had no help at all from my parents, worked a full time and 2 part time jobs while trying to balance classes. I did get some financial aide because a friend helped me apply. I don’t have any problem with my children working to put some money toward college, but I will be helping them as well. I am thankful that I have links to posts like this to help me know how to best help my kids 🙂 Thanks!

  16. Chris says:

    It was expected in my childhood home that everyone go to college. I was very blessed to not only have that high expectation made clear from early on, but my parents also paid for college. I had to pay for books and personal expenses, but that was it. I did work part-time throughout college, but it was minimal. As I look ahead to my own children going to college, I want to have open conversations with them about the cost of college. I honestly had no idea how much my college education cost because my parents did not discuss finances with us. My hope is that through these open conversations my children will have a better appreciation for how much things cost and also make better financial decisions as adults than I have.

  17. Connie says:

    I went to college (4 year) and had to pay for it myself. My parents could not afford to send me. I used finical aid, loans (least amount that I had to get to pay for school), and worked part time during the school year and full time during the summer. It was hard at times but I did what was necessary to go to college.

  18. Katie says:

    I can still remember my first paycheck from my first real job, and how thrilled I was by the fruit of my labors! I am so thankful to and praise God for my parents for instilling in me the desire to work hard and achieve something. That also applied to my high school studies, where I worked very hard, and was therefore awarded an academic scholarship. I attended a Christian college, so my scholarship, while generous, did not cover all my expenses. I was very blessed to have some money left to me by my dear grandmother after her death. I also worked odd jobs during college to cover a few expenses. While it was lean living, college was a wonderful experience full of fond memories I will always treasure. My degree in nursing enabled me to enter the workforce right out of college, doing what I always dreamed of. Now as a mom I am able to work flexible, part time hours while still spending the majority of my time with my family. But I don’t think I would really appreciate what God has blessed me with now, without the long years of hard work during high school and college. Like another person said, college is going to so much more expensive for our kids, so I’m grateful for this series of posts. Thank you!

  19. Pauline says:

    I did attend college and along with loans, did have a work-study job. One piece that truly helped, was picking a work-study job that had to do with my passion…teaching and children, so I worked at the campus Pre-K & School Age Daycare. Currently, our oldest is juggling 3 different summer jobs and three work study jobs during the school year, aiding herself and us, in her college quest, as we dealt with major catastrophes: Major illness, radical job loss after 19 years of service, layoffs due to economy and underemployment for the same reasons. A challenge to say the least, yet she is passionate and disciplined. Time and again we put away, only to have the above struggles and then some. I myself, graduated with loans and certainly most challenging upon graduation, in terms of starting a family and wanting to be with my children! Grateful for my mother’s wisdom as a stay home mom, for so many reasons~! Though both her and my dad both passed away when I was 25…her life’s example continues to help soften life’s challenges. I have great concern for this oldest child of mine and her two siblings as they try to do all they can to help us parents.

  20. Tara Sloan says:

    Yes, i went to college BUT dropped out to get married and went back again after three kids! My 19 year is entering her second year and I encourage her to embrace her college experience. I want her to give it her very best and be focused during a time in her life when she is most impressionable.

  21. Barb says:

    I had never heard of these programs. Thanks for the information! I often think about how college tuition cost only $3,000 per semester when I went to school. I try not to worry about what it will cost when our children go to school:(