Rhode Island Monthly Higher Learning 2014 : Page 7

board. Closer to home, the State University of New York (SUNY) system offers several low price options. At Binghamton University, the shining star of the SUNY group, your total costs per year average about $30,000 as an out-of-state student. Believe it or not, there are a few higher education options that are free. The super elite Cooper Union in New York is free and has programs in art, architecture and engineering. The small and selective Webb Institute in New York has only one major — naval architecture and marine engineering — but it is also free. The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia is a world-renowned music conservatory and charges nothing for tuition. Farther south in Kentucky, students at Berea College work ten to fifteen hours per week on campus instead of paying tuition, but students must have financial need to attend. There are also five elite military academies that train young men and women for the armed services. These charge nothing for tuition, room or board. In fact, you get paid to attend most of them. However, you accept a commission in the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard or U.S. Naval Reserves and serve for five years after you graduate. Zero Dollar Bargains investments including savings bonds, stocks and even real estate. However, it is important to remember that colleges will expect any income or assets in a child’s name to be used for college at 25 percent per year, whereas the calculation on parent income and assets is much lower (usually in the 5 to 10 percent range). Obviously, the best college financing strategy is to start saving early and be consistent about it. 529 savings plans and 529 pre-paid tuition plans are a great way to save for college, tax free. Some families may also opt to save for college via a variety of 529 Plans Aside from a home, this is probably the second largest investment any family will make in its lifetime. Too many parents and students start late and miss out on great options for colleges or funding. Since many college applications are now filed in the fall of senior year, families should have a college list in place no later than January of eleventh grade. They should complete all their campus visits by September of senior year and understand their financing options and paperwork obligations before applications are filed. When financial aid offers come in, families need to carefully evaluate the amount of loans versus money that does not have to be repaid in order to avoid saddling students with hefty payments after graduation. Having an honest discussion with your child about how much you can afford is also extremely important. With more than 3,200 colleges in the United States, there are options for every type of student and budget. It just takes careful planning and research in order to have the best outcome. HL Cristiana Quinn, M.Ed., is the founder of College Admission Advisors, LLC, a Providence-based educational consulting firm that provides strategic, individual counseling for college-bound students. Planning is CritiCal Join us at Open House to find out! March 23, 2014 1pm-4pm All girls. Catholic. Independent. College Prep. PreK -Grade 12 I am confident. I am a leader. I am a role model. 3070 Pawtucket Avenue Riverside, RI 02915 www.bayviewacademy.org 7 RHODE ISL AND MONTHLY I higher le ar ning I 2014

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