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Start saving for college in September

When: September

What: As senior year looms, high school kids talking about where they are going to go to college wouldn’t be out of the ordinary. But one thing they may not be talking about is student loans and finances. Getting a college education is expensive. Make sure college students are prepared during College Savings Month.

Background: The cost of attending college is always on the rise, and parents often feel an obligation to begin saving as soon as their babies are born. But a responsibility to be financially smart also falls on the shoulders of the future college grad. College Savings Month is a perfect time to provide financial education and guidance to those students.

Story Pitch: According to Pew, in 2010, 19 percent of households in the United States had some sort of outstanding student loan debt. Saving for college and educating young adults on how to start saving has never been more important. Financial advisors, specifically ones who deal with college loans and how to manage them, may encourage their clients to begin saving as early as possible. High schools have a responsibility to educate their students not only in standard school topics, but also in how to be responsible with money. They will want to alert their students on the dangers of debt and offer classes on how to manage finances. Banks and financial institutions would do well to promote the importance of saving, starting at an early age. They can target new parents, providing them with details on how to begin a college fund as early as possible.

Story Hook: Pew reported that in March 2012, 39 percent of 18 to 24 year-olds were enrolled in some sort of higher education program. Consider the following when you make your pitch:

  • How can teachers and educators help students prepare for college financially?
  • What can parents do at home to help their children understand the ins and outs of financial aid and student loans?
  • How can students find out what sorts of scholarships are open to them?
  • What sort of services and financial planning tools are available for both parents and students?

Tips: A college advisor who deals mainly with financial aid can provide great insight into how to prepare your students for college. In addition, a college student who has actively saved money and planned for college would have great tips and suggestions for other students looking to save their pennies.

Resources:

College Board
(212) 713-8000
www.collegeboard.org

College Savings Plans Network
cspn(at)csg.org
www.collegesavings.org

FinAid
www.finaid.org

National Association for State Treasurers
www.nast.org

U.S. Department of Education
(800) 872-5327
www.ed.gov

 –Researched, compiled & written by Kimberly Cooper
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