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College Is Expensive

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					College Is Expensive -- Here Are 3 Ways to Make It Work

Whether your children are still young or old enough to go to college, paying for
school is a challenge. While the returns on an investment in education are usually
huge, you don't want to spend a fortune on college if you don't have to. Here are a
few things that might help keep your costs down.

If your children are young, consider signing up for uPromise. This website offers a
great way to help you finance your child's education. Consumer guru Clark Howard
says, "The method is similar to airline frequent flyer programs with member
merchants and companies contributing credits to your personal saving for college
account when you use services or purchase products."

It's free to sign up and the site offers ways to increase your savings over time. When
you've accumulated rewards, you can have them deposited in a college savings 529
plan. The site has several to choose from. According to Clark Howard, the only
downside to the plan is if "you end up spending more with member merchants than
you would elsewhere just to get the account contribution. You need to look at the
site as a win-win and shop wisely to receive the ultimate benefit." So it's important
to be careful not to let this tool become something that actually costs you more
money.

Clark also "suggests that you talk with your son or daughter about attending a 2-
year community college program and taking an additional 3 years to complete the
remaining two years while working part-time. Attending a community college just
about cuts the cost of a 4-year degree in half. Stretching out the remaining two
years to work will also provide savings benefits. Another way to save is to complete
a 4-year degree in just three years." Earning college credit through high school AP
classes or other means is a great way for your child to cut down the amount of time
it will take him or her to earn a degree.

And, finally, make sure your children go to college to learn skills with which they can
make a living, or at least to learn thinking skills and disciplines they won't learn
elsewhere. If your children go to school to party, socialize without studying, learn a
hobby, or learn something they could learn on their own, then college is a waste of
money. You wan

				
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