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Consumer Tip of the Week

 College Saving Strategies

As college students wrap up the summer break, the weight of college costs becomes increasingly clear. Many students work through the summer in order to fund their education, though it seems there is never enough. Many students must rely on financial aid and student loans to cover tuition costs.

Whatever you are in your education career, start saving now so that you end up graduating with less debt. America Saves is a campaign managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA), which seeks to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. Below are their 5 tips on saving for college:

  1. Start Saving as Soon as Possible – Even small amounts of saving will build up over time and will reduce the amount of loans you have to pay back later. Two popular ways to save are through 529 plans and savings bonds. There is a lot to know when choosing a savings option, so visit the links to learn more.
  2. Find Free Money – This can be the key to saving you thousands of dollars in interest you would need to pay later. There are billions of dollars available to those who put in the effort to apply. Check out StudentAid.ed.gov, go.salliemae.com/scholarship, and https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college.
  3. Work While You’re in School – Remember that any money you can save or earn before and during college will reduce the amount of loans you need to take and save you money you would pay later.
  4. Consider Your Options – College costs a lot. You may have dreamt about going to that Ivy League school since you were young, but can you afford it? Compare the amount you will need to pay at the colleges you get into. You may find that one school offers you more grants than another.
  5. Get Tips and Reminders to Save – America Saves can help students and their parents keep college savings top of mind. Sign up for our free text message tips and reminders by taking the Pledge to Save and choosing “Education” as your savings goal.

Check back next week for more tips on managing student debt, or in the case of this article, keeping it from accruing out of control in the first place.

Additional Resources

Smart About College: Student Assistance Foundation's mission is to provide students and families with the knowledge and tools to pursue and fund their postsecondary education.

Prepare for College: Federal Student Aid, an Office of the Department of Education, guide to understanding college costs and preparing for student expenses

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): Federal Student Aid, an Office of the Department of Education, Free Application for Federal Student Aid

For more information, please visit the Consumer section of www.montanalawhelp.org/.  Or, call the Montana Legal Services Association Helpline at 1-800-666-6899.

This Consumer Tip and MontanaLawHelp.org is a joint project of Montana's Credit Unions and Montana Legal Services Association.  MontanaLawHelp.org has information about consumer issues, housing, money management, and more.

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