In an ideal world, every parent would be able to put away plenty of money for their child’s education. But life is expensive, and unexpected financial hardships can cause you to lose the money you always planned to put away for your child’s future. While student debt is an almost unavoidable aspect of getting a higher education in America, there are always ways you can still contribute to your child’s degree. Below are five ways you can pay for your child’s college even if you don’t have a savings account.
Take Out a Home Equity Loan
If you’re a homeowner, you may be able to apply for a home equity line of credit that lets you borrow money as you need it to pay for tuition and pay back the balance over time. Home equity lines of credit offer greater flexibility and lower interest rates than credit cards or private loans, but they can be just as beneficial. You can review a guide on how to apply for a home equity line of credit (HELOC) here to decide if it’s a good option for you.
Sell Your Life Insurance Policy
If you’ve had permanent life insurance for a while, you may be able to sell your policy for a large lump sum. Selling your life insurance to a third party means your beneficiaries don’t receive your death benefit, but you can always buy another policy later to protect your loved ones. Many parents invest in life insurance because it is a good way to generate a cash value that’s useful for retirement or funding their child’s education.
Look for Scholarships Together
You and your child can look at different scholarships together and work on submitting applications. There are many need and merit-based awards issued every year, and your student could easily gain several thousand dollars of free funding every year. If they are attending a state school and receiving the resident tuition rate, scholarships can cover half or nearly all of their annual expenses.
Ask Family Members for Funding Instead of Gifts
Let the family know that your child is planning for their future, and ask them to make financial contributions toward their degree instead of buying them expensive gifts for birthdays and holidays. You can open a 529 college savings account and allow them to contribute to it directly. Beneficiaries for this type of account can be any age, so even if your student is heading to school in their 20s, they can still benefit as long as the funds are put toward earning a degree.
Cosign a Federal Parent PLUS Loan
If you know that you won’t be able to finance all of your child’s college costs on your own, you can help them by cosigning a federal PLUS loan. These loans help students with no credit history access greater financing through their parents with fixed interest rates and income-based repayment plans. After your child graduates, you can remove yourself from the loan by refinancing through a private lender. PLUS loans have fixed interest rates for the entire lifetime of the loan, so you can plan ahead with your child to discuss future repayments and not worry about any unexpected charges.