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Financial 101 for Post-secondary Education

If Your Child Is in Pre-School, Kindergarten or Elementary School…

Save, Save, Save!
Look for small and large ways to save for your child’s education. Putting aside a specific amount at a set interval will get you there little by little. The earlier you start, the more you save, and the less you’ll need to rely on loans. For example, if you save $1 a day and put it in an account that earns 5% interest, you will build up $9,600 at the end of 17 years.

Set up a Savings Account for Your Child’s Post-Secondary Education
There are multiple options, from simple savings accounts at your local bank to specialized savings programs with tax advantages, such as State 529 College Savings Programs and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts. For information about State 529 Programs, visit http://www.collegesavings.org. For a fact sheet on Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, go to http://www.collegeboard.com/prod_downloads/highered/res/cc_tips/Coverdell05.pdf.

If Your Child Is in Middle School…

Continue to Save, Save, Save!
It’s not too late to start a savings plan and open a savings account for your child’s post-secondary education. See above for information about specialized savings programs.

Think About Financial Aid
Use the FAFSA4caster at http://www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov to find out how much federal financial aid your child may receive to help you plan ahead.

If Your Child Is in High School…

Continue to Save & Encourage Your Child to Think About Saving Too
It’s not too late to start a savings plan and open an account to save for post-secondary education. See above for information about specialized savings programs.

Learn About Federal Financial Aid and How to Apply
Get in-depth information on federal student aid from Funding Education Beyond High School: The Guide to Federal Student Aid at http://www.FederalStudentAid.ed.gov/guide. Guides are available in English and Spanish. Use the FAFSA4caster at http://www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov to estimate how much federal financial aid your child may be eligible for.

Support Your Child’s Search for Scholarships
Encourage your child to speak to School Counselors about scholarships. Find out if your employer or organizations your family belongs to or in the community offer scholarships. Find out about scholarships offered at post-secondary institutions your child is interested in attending. Your child can also search for scholarships through the U.S. Department of Education’s scholarship search http://www.FederalStudentAid.ed.gov/scholarship.