COLLEGE SAVINGS 101

Savingforcollege.com

What would you do with free community college?
http://www.savingforcollege.com/articles/what-would-you-do-with-free-community-college-711

Posted: 2015-01-15

by Kathryn Flynn

In case youíve been living under a rock for the past few days and havenít heard, President Obama recently announced a plan that would allow some students to attend two years of community college for free. If Congress approves the plan, students who attend at least half-time and maintain a 2.5 GPA will qualify. Credits earned would be transferable to four-year schools or workforce training programs. The average full-time community college student who takes advantage of the program would save around $7,600.

Here are five daydreams we had on how families can take advantage of the potential savings - as long as theyíre "willing to work for it".

A More Affordable Bachelor's Degree

Weíve mentioned before how taking courses at a community college can be one of the easiest ways to cut down your education expenses. According to the College Board, two years at a public four-year school would cost you around $18,278 using the 2014-15 tuition rates. If this plan is approved, students can eliminate those costs entirely by earning their first two yearís worth of credits for free at a community college!

Four ways families are tackling high college costs

Save on Room and Board, Meals and Gas

Community colleges can be found in almost any, well, community. For recent high school grads, that means thereís a possibility of living at home with mom and dad or other relatives while they earn their degree. The savings are substantial - If you attended a four-year private university this school year, you would be paying over $11,000 for room and board. Not to mention you may avoid having to pay for your own groceries, utility bills and gas for long drives to and from campus. What would you do with that extra $11,000 a year?

A Lucrative (and quick) Career Path

Of course, a four-year university isnít for everyone, and it doesnít have to be. For example, dental hygienists earn a median annual salary of $66,750. Thatís at least $10,000 more than someone with a bachelorís degree earns, according to the College Board. Whatís more, the only required education is an associateís degree, which could end up being free if Obamaís program is approved. So while your friends are busy paying down student loans, youíll already be on your way to building a solid financial future. A free degree + a high paying job = more money in the bank.

Five types of students who benefit from 529 plans

Make That Career Change

Just because a person didnít go to college doesnít necessarily mean that they didnít want to. Maybe they couldnít afford it, maybe they found a great job that didnít require a degree or maybe life just got in the way. Obamaís plan would be available to students of any age, so if youíre regretting the fact that you ended your education after high school, take this opportunity as the second chance youíve been waiting for. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2013 the median weekly earnings for someone with a high school diploma were about $651. Those with associateís degrees earned $126 more per week and bachelorís degree holders earned $457 more. Itís never too late.

Enjoy Your Leftover College Savings

Letís say youíve been following our blog and decided that you want to save money by going to community college for two years before heading off to a four-year school. Looking at your college fund, you decide a public university is a better fit for your budget. Yet, if the community college years end up being free Ė what do you do with the leftover money? How about considering transferring your free credits to a private school that originally seemed too expensive? Or you can evaluate your future career path to determine if graduate school makes sense. If you still end up with leftover funds you can always save the money for your own childís education down the road.

Top five ways to spend 529 savings

In case youíve been living under a rock for the past few days and havenít heard, President Obama recently announced a plan that would allow some students to attend two years of community college for free. If Congress approves the plan, students who attend at least half-time and maintain a 2.5 GPA will qualify. Credits earned would be transferable to four-year schools or workforce training programs. The average full-time community college student who takes advantage of the program would save around $7,600.

Here are five daydreams we had on how families can take advantage of the potential savings - as long as theyíre "willing to work for it".

A More Affordable Bachelor's Degree

Weíve mentioned before how taking courses at a community college can be one of the easiest ways to cut down your education expenses. According to the College Board, two years at a public four-year school would cost you around $18,278 using the 2014-15 tuition rates. If this plan is approved, students can eliminate those costs entirely by earning their first two yearís worth of credits for free at a community college!

Four ways families are tackling high college costs

Save on Room and Board, Meals and Gas

Community colleges can be found in almost any, well, community. For recent high school grads, that means thereís a possibility of living at home with mom and dad or other relatives while they earn their degree. The savings are substantial - If you attended a four-year private university this school year, you would be paying over $11,000 for room and board. Not to mention you may avoid having to pay for your own groceries, utility bills and gas for long drives to and from campus. What would you do with that extra $11,000 a year?

A Lucrative (and quick) Career Path

Of course, a four-year university isnít for everyone, and it doesnít have to be. For example, dental hygienists earn a median annual salary of $66,750. Thatís at least $10,000 more than someone with a bachelorís degree earns, according to the College Board. Whatís more, the only required education is an associateís degree, which could end up being free if Obamaís program is approved. So while your friends are busy paying down student loans, youíll already be on your way to building a solid financial future. A free degree + a high paying job = more money in the bank.

Five types of students who benefit from 529 plans

Make That Career Change

Just because a person didnít go to college doesnít necessarily mean that they didnít want to. Maybe they couldnít afford it, maybe they found a great job that didnít require a degree or maybe life just got in the way. Obamaís plan would be available to students of any age, so if youíre regretting the fact that you ended your education after high school, take this opportunity as the second chance youíve been waiting for. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2013 the median weekly earnings for someone with a high school diploma were about $651. Those with associateís degrees earned $126 more per week and bachelorís degree holders earned $457 more. Itís never too late.

Enjoy Your Leftover College Savings

Letís say youíve been following our blog and decided that you want to save money by going to community college for two years before heading off to a four-year school. Looking at your college fund, you decide a public university is a better fit for your budget. Yet, if the community college years end up being free Ė what do you do with the leftover money? How about considering transferring your free credits to a private school that originally seemed too expensive? Or you can evaluate your future career path to determine if graduate school makes sense. If you still end up with leftover funds you can always save the money for your own childís education down the road.

Top five ways to spend 529 savings

 

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