College Planning:  Is Less Expensive Tuition on Your Holiday Wish List

BY: Brent Landrum

Many parents worry about their ability to fund all or part of their children’s college experience…but what if someone else paid for college?

Below, our college financial planning experts share some other sources to explore for college funding besides your own pocket.

Finding Win-Win Opportunities

In my experience both as a student and as a professional, work study arrangements and tuition reimbursement are great ways to ease the stress of college tuition bills while also attaining great life skills and work experience.

Work study opportunities can range from simple book store cashier to department assistance within your major field of study, and it’s all up to the student to find a good fit for them.  A number of my college peers saw work study as more than a job and found ways to make it benefit them during and after college.  Here are some added benefits you may not think of when it comes to this option:

  • Location: A majority of work study jobs are located right on campus, which is great for those students who do not have access to a vehicle.  You also save on gas money if the student doesn’t have to drive to and from their job!
  • Financial: The student can earn money to put toward tuition costs or any other expenses. Use of your paycheck isn’t limited to tuition, which allows for a little more flexibility. For those students who have not had to worry about the concept of working and paying bills, this is a great introduction to the concept before graduation.
  • Experience: Work study can be an opportunity for the student to gain experience related to their academic studies.  For example, a graphic design major could find a work study job in the communications department creating various PR pieces for their school.  Think of this type of work as added experience for a resume after graduation. If you find the right fit, your work study job can offer similar benefits compared to an internship.

Tuition reimbursement was an option I personally should have explored more during my time in college.  For those students who have goals of working for certain companies or are already with one who offers this option, you can ease the stress of tuition quite a bit.  Let’s look at this option a bit more to see why tuition reimbursement might be a win-win for all involved:

  • Employer benefits: If the student likes where they are working or are with a company that is related to their field of study, find out if there are tuition reimbursement options.  Some employers may find the possibility of retaining an employee long-term through such assistance programs a sound investment.
  • Time dedication: Putting in your time at a job while still a student or shortly after graduation can earn the student valued experience and leverage within a company. 
  • Non-traditional benefits: As someone who took some time off from college and then went back to school after working full-time, I can attest to the fact that tuition reimbursement can be a great tool for paying tuition and making your time away from school even more valuable.

What’s important for the student and parents to keep in mind is that you should be thinking ahead.  Make work meaningful and enjoyable, if possible.  College is a time to explore various careers and if the student can gain experience AND learn more about their chosen career path while also paying off tuition, that adds up to many life and financial benefits!

Watch for more information on planning for college expenses each month in this newsletter. If you would like help in planning appropriately for college tuition, contact Brent or call 608-798-5233

Brent Landrum

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