Managing college finances is often difficult enough for many families; from differing course requirements to crazy scheduling to, students facing continually changing plans from various institutions.

Individuals headed for college are quickly discovering that the upcoming semester is quite literally not what they signed up for. However, depending on the institution, the cost of these courses may or may not have been decreased – in spite of both scheduling and expectation upheaval.

On Friday, July 31, 2020 Forbes Advisor and Savingforcollege.com co-hosted a webinar on “Paying for College During a Pandemic.” Moderated by Brianna McGurran, student loans analyst at Forbes Advisor, the expert discussion featured top personal finance experts. Included on the professional panel were: Jean Chatzky, CEO of HerMoney.com; Mark Kantrowitz, publisher and vice president of research at Savingforcollege.com; and Michelle Singletary, personal finance columnist at The Washington Post.

Check out the financial expert panel discussion here!  If you don’t have the time to watch the entire video or want a sneak peek of the discussion before you follow the link, here are the main three takeaways to watch for!

Paying for College During a Pandemic:

  1. Communicate. The first tip from the personal finance experts is to verify the cost of what you’ll be expected to finance. Many people’s finances have changed, even since they filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). “Be vocal” Kantrowitz urges. Many colleges or institutions will understand; they would often rather help a student rework the financing than lose the student for that semester entirely. As with all communication, the key is to speak up sooner rather than later.
  2. Calculate. Consider the finances and avoid debt. “Hope is not a plan,” Singletary said. “And as smart and bright as you think your kid is, the likelihood of them getting a full ride is just not there.” Try to use savings and scholarships instead of loans as much as possible. If you must use loans, opt for federal loans instead of private loans. This will work out more beneficially for you especially since the government has paused required student loan payments until September 30, 2020 as well as set interest rates at 0% during that time. Federal loans allow for this type of generous benefit while most private loans may not.
  3. Contemplate alternatives. Times have changed and are continually changing! It’s time to be creative and to show initiative towards your own opportunities. The decision will be different for each student. “We have to pay attention to what our college is requiring of us, what the temperament of our student is, what they’re studying, what progression their courses are taking and how all of this is going to play together,” Chatzky explained. Whether pursuing a new job (or two), taking a gap year, or investing in community college (you have to take general education requirements somewhere), your experience this next semester will be a personalized one. Make the right choice for you.

Kansas City Credit Union is here to help support you in making the best possible decision for you and your financial journey. We want to make your wildest dreams come true knowing that your feet are firmly planted in financial security. Check out our website! For advice, loans, credit cards or self-education….whatever financial support you need to gain peace of mind, Kansas City Credit Union is here for you. Contact us today to start your path to financial freedom now!