The cost of college is still on the rise, and that means families need to take advantage of every opportunity they can to cut the cost of college. Grants and financial aid are your best bet at reducing your bottom line, but there are other expenses where you can save that you should know about.
Parents and students need to know that they can reduce the cost of their dorm expenses, with just a little thought and planning. When you attend college fairs, or go on college visits, you should ask about the option of becoming a Resident Assistant, or an RA in the future. An RA is usually an upper classman who lives in the dorm and helps supervise and counsel fellow residents. RAs are usually in charge of enforcing rules and helping troubleshoot roommate problems. In exchange, they often receive free room and board, and sometimes a small stipend as well.
Many parents also consider investing in a rental property near campus in order to cut the cost of room and board. Just keep one room for your student, and rent the others out to fellow students. Their rent covers your mortgage, taxes and utilities.
Another way to cut college living expenses is to keep tabs on what you're spending for a new student. Dorm rooms are very small typically, and there isn't always a lot of extra space for furniture or decorations. Be sure you tour your child's future dorm, to get an idea of what to expect, and have your student touch base with his or her roommate in order to better coordinate and share expenses for items such as a dorm refrigerator, lamps or a chair.
Ian Welham is an expert at helping students find the best-fit college and helping their parents pay for it. For more information, visit completecollegeplanningsolutions.com or vist the Complete College Planning Solutions page on Facebook.