Lots of ways to pay for post-secondary ed, but plan ahead, says HCCI counselor

There are many avenues to pay for post-secondary education and all of them should be explored before taking on debt.

“There will be a determination made by the school,” said financial counselor Roberts Brazier with Housing and Credit Counseling, Inc. in Topeka. “After I’ve completed my Free Application for Federal Student Aid and submitted it, I have a computation called an Expected Family Contribution. How much can my parents come up with to assist generally, or myself? That’s submitted to the schools in which I have an interest in attending. The school then makes a decision on how much, based upon their estimated cost of attendance, I can borrow or receive in grants, Pell Grants, for example.”

One option offered by the Kansas State Treasurer’s office is the Learning Quest 529 Program.

“It’s akin to a 401K, IRA, you contribute dollars,” said Brazier. “In Kansas, there’s actually a little bit of tax benefit too, for money invested in a 529. You’ll want to invest early so that money has time to compound and grow over the years.”

If at all possible, know where you want to go to school and what you want to do as far in advance as you can, so you can best compare costs.

“Pay as you go,” said Brazier. “Ideally, that’s the best way to go. The less you can borrow to go to school would be better. Pay cash. When I say cash, I mean either a parent contribution, child has earned money through jobs, grants, scholarships. Anything that doesn’t have to be repaid.”

If you don’t even know where to start, HCCI can help you make a budget and talk it out with your student. Contact them
at https://hcci-ks.org/.