How to Reduce Financial Stress on College

If you or your child is planning to attend college, the stress related to the financing of this education can often be overwhelming. Tuition payments, books, and student housing can all add a tremendous amount of financial stress on you and your family. Many strategies are available to help you understand how to reduce financial stress on college for students and their families. Following a few cost-conscious options will help give your family the peace of mind in knowing that college expenses will not ruin the family budget.


  1. Image titled Create an Educational Scholarship Fund Step 10
    Start saving for college early with a systematic savings plan.
    • When it comes to saving for college, time is critical. Starting a savings plan a year or two before college starts will most likely lead to an inability to meet your goals.
    • By saving money on a regular basis over an extended period of time, you will be able to accumulate a significant amount of savings without adding too much stress to your regular budget.
    • Starting a regular savings plan when your child is young will give you ample time to build a large college fund. Contribute an amount with which you are comfortable, and maintain discipline in contributing regularly. Put an automatic deposit plan into place at your bank so money comes out of each paycheck and into the special savings account.
  2. Image titled Apply for Grants for Single Mothers Step 2
    Choose a tax-efficient investment vehicle for college savings funds.
    • Contributions to 529 plans (tax-deferred college savings accounts available in most states) by parents or relatives grow on a tax-deferred basis and are available for withdrawal by the student for qualified education expenses.
    • Series EE savings bonds can be redeemed tax-free if used for qualified education expenses. These savings bonds carry a fixed interest rate determined at the time of purchase.
  3. Image titled Apply for Grants for Single Mothers Step 4
    Contact the school's financial aid office to determine criteria for scholarships, grants, or work-study programs.
    • Many schools offer grants or scholarships on an as-needed basis. If your family falls within certain income parameters, you may be eligible for this need-based assistance.
    • Work study programs can help to reduce financial stress while attending college. These programs generally offset tuition expenses for part-time work. Some positions may pay an additional stipend which could be used for living expenses or books.
  4. Image titled FAFSA
    Complete an application for FAFSA - the Free Application for Federal Student Aid - to determine eligibility for loans or grants through the federal government.
    • Certain federal grants, such as the income-based Pell Grant, are only available through the FAFSA application process. The application process will determine the amounts and types of loans or grants for which you may be eligible.
    • Loans through the federal government typically have a lower interest rate than loans available on the private market. In addition, subsidized federal student loans do not begin to accrue interest until nine months after the student leaves school.
  5. Image titled Pay for Law School Step 12
    Make up any shortfalls through part-time work and private student loans, only if necessary.
    • Encouraging your child to work part-time during college helps them learn financial responsibility as well as provides them with discretionary spending money. This will also reduce the amount of loans which will be needed to supplement other college savings.
    • Private student loans generally have higher interest rates and more stringent repayment terms than federal loans. While they can be useful for making up shortfalls, they should be limited to the extent possible.

Article Info

Categories: Budgeting and Financial Aid for College