This week we’re focusing on “College for Less.” Ellie Kay who is a past Hearts at Home workshop speaker, is helping us to think beyond student loans.  If you’ve missed Day 1 and 2 you can find them below (or here if you receive my posts by email).

We’re also giving away six books this week including my book, Living With Less So Your Family Has More.  To enter, simply leave a comment on today’s post!

 Balance in All Things

     Bob and I are very careful about the fact that we want our kids to be kids and not have adult responsibilities too soon. There is, however, a balance. While we are real sticklers on homework and housework and don’t allow the kids to treat us like we’re their maids, we do understand that they are still kids and need to have fun in their childhood. Consequently, if they are enrolled in AP, IB or college classes while in high school, we try to make sure that they do not overdo it. We limit their extracurricular activities and discourage a regular part time job so that their primary “job” will be to get good grades in their advanced courses.  It would be a self defeating effort to have them take advanced or college classes only to have their overly busy schedules negate their ability to get good grades.  Remember, there is not credit if they don’t pass the AP or IP tests or pass the college course they are taking! So look closely at the curriculum before you sign your student up for these classes, establish work/study habits, set boundaries to preserve the integrity of their grades and leave room for kids to be kids and have fun!

 Community First, Four Year Later

     Think of it as a half price sale for education: You buy two years at full price, get two for half-off or more. The average community college tuition rate is 40 percent of the average tuition rate at four-year public colleges and 10 percent of the average tuition rate at four-year private institutions. If your child attends a community college for two years, you’ll not only save money on tuition, you’ll also save on room, board and transportation by sticking close to home. The key to getting the most value for your education dollar is to make sure these college credits are transferable and assure that it is working toward the four-year college goal.

Employee Discount

    My high school friend, Karyn Maxwell had a dad who was a baseball coach. He worked his way up to the college level and by the time Karyn’s older sister graduated high school, he was the baseball coach atTexasChristianUniversity. Both Karyn and her sister went there for free due to his employee benefits. If you, or your child, has some latitude in your career, consider working at a local college for the tuition benefits it would afford you or your child.

     Most universities offer some form of tuition remission to their full-time employees and others extend the benefit to part-time employees as well. If you can’t secure a staff position at the school of your choice, don’t forget that many companies offer tuition reimbursement packages. A study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management estimates that 67 percent of all employers offer financial assistance to employees seeking an undergraduate degree.

I hope our discussions this week have been helpful! Tomorrow we’ll look at college savings plans for every family!

What about you? Did you go to college? How did you balance work and grades?  (If you’re reading this in email, click here to leave a comment and enter the book giveaway!)

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