College tuition is expensive. I attended a state university in the 90s and even then, the cost of tuition, fees, and books was more than my parents could afford with three children and a blue-collar income.
Only 2% of high school athletes are awarded sports scholarships at NCAA schools.
Sadly, only six sports offer “full-ride” scholarships: football, men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, tennis, and women’s gymnastics. Most college athletes have only partial scholarships. Even then, the amount of time they spend training and practicing their sport can severely impact their performance in the classroom.
A relation was awarded a “full-ride” scholarship in volleyball. She originally dreamed of becoming a doctor but the course load was not possible with her volleyball schedule. She graduated with a degree in business and after graduating, realized she would need to get an advanced degree (on her own dime) to be marketable. My brother in law also sought an additional degree after graduating with his bachelors degree on a track scholarship.
CNBC says you have a better chance of being admitted to Harvard, Yale, Princeton or Stanford than receiving an athletic scholarship in a major sport.
My kids are both swimmers. My son has had great success early and some of our team parents have encouraged us to pursue a more focused training regimen. Sports can be a great teacher. Our kids learn about teamwork, discipline, work ethic, being a good loser, and so many other important life lessons.
However, we are not chasing a scholarship. Swimming is important to us but we made a decision as a family long ago to strive for a simplified, joyful life. Conflicts arise regularly and we therefore don’t participate in all the swim meets on the team schedule. We weigh the pros and cons and make choices as a family.
It is inadvisable to spend more money on your child’s sports than you are putting in their college fund.
So — with all that said, how does a family provide for the higher education of their children. How can we manage to pay the rising cost of tuition?
Teaching Our Kids About Money
One of the most important steps to financial independence is teaching our kids about money. We have never given our kids an allowance, expecting them to earn commission for their hard work when they were yet toddlers.
We began applying Dave Ramsey principles to our life in earnest last year after listening to the audio book Smart Money, Smart Kids. Ramsey encourages kids to earn their own money and to set aside a percentage for their college education by earning commissions as well as through entrepreneurial endeavors.
Chores are something everyone in the family does to contribute to the family. Chores not only teach responsibility but are part of being needed and valued by the family.
Being a young entrepreneur doesn’t mean you have to think of a new idea to make money. It just means you need to find a way to make money doing something you love. You have to think out of the box a little.
In addition to encouraging our kids to save their own money for college, we also set aside a percentage of our income into their college savings plans. Two smart ways to save for your kids’ college are 529 college savings funds or ESAs (Education Savings Accounts). These are both tax-advantaged savings vehicles that let you save money for your kids’ education expenses.
My daughter Geneva will be entering high school this fall, so college is something we have been talking about more regularly. Her dad and I set up a 529 college savings fund for her when she was just an infant and we’ve been adding to it gradually every year. In addition to her own savings, she has begun keep a list of potential scholarships for which she will be eligible.
I’m happy that together we have some savings earmarked for her higher education, but of course, it’s not enough. We know we will have to supplement by paying out of our earnings and hoping for scholarships. Our ultimate goal is to NOT take out student loans and we are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to make this happen.
Enter to Win Money for College
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If I win, the money will go straight into her 529 college savings plan.
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