1. Open a 529.
"I'll keep it short and sweet: Open a 529 account and start putting money in when your child is born! I've already started, and I'm so glad I did."
2. Avoid ~certain~ investments.
"My father advises taking out government undergraduate loan options before private student loans, as those have the best terms. And parents: Really consider if you’ll want to cover both undergraduate and graduate school…covering both can really add up!”
3. Consider a monthly plan.
"My mom noted that what really helped her and my dad was that my school offered a monthly payment plan for tuition instead of demanding all of it upfront; this way, we didn't have to take out any loans. Not every school offers this, but, because mine did, it really helped us out in the long run."
4. Start a conversation.
"My mother recommends speaking to parents of graduates — people you know and are close with who have experience putting a child through school. They'll have specific insight you really can't find anywhere else."
5. Don't be shy: Ask for more aid.
"My dad suggested honing your negotiation skills before diving into conversations with your school's financial aid office. Sometimes, if you can create a strong enough case for yourself, it can quite literally pay off."
6. Find your own way to finance the things that aren't necessities.
"My parents said that what helped them a ton was the fact that I commuted to school. I knew that if I wanted to dorm, I'd need to find a way to cover my room and board. That's partially how I ended up as an RA."
7. Prioritize needs over wants.
"My dad strongly recommends creating a budget. Itemizing everything you must spend money on — needs not wants — is essential. Then track all spending for at least a month and see where the money is going. Then curate that strict budget and stick to it."
8. Don't skimp on scholarships.
"My dad says: If possible, try to meet necessary requirements to graduate in under four years, get involved in a work-study program, and seek out as many scholarships as you can."
9. Think outside the box.
"So my dad is actually a professional pole vaulting coach for high school–aged kids. He told me that many of them end up getting great scholarships because it's such a unique sport. Finding something niche, like pole vaulting, that you actually enjoy can really end up benefitting you in the long run."
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