By Curtis Loftis
For many of us, the new year is a time to create resolutions we hope will have a lasting impact in our lives. We think of the new year as a blank slate, the perfect opportunity to prioritize what is most important to us.
For many families across South Carolina, helping their children achieve future goals and dreams is at the top of that list.
Though the goal of your own child’s college education may seem far off, securing a plan now that will help you meet the cost of college is a smart and important way to begin the new year.
One thing is certain: Someday your children will thank you for caring enough to save for their education.
Begin 2018 with the future in mind, and start saving for your child’s college education through Future Scholar, South Carolina’s 529 College Savings Plan. Here are some handy financial tips to help you save for college:
• Do your research and make a plan: Map out what your college savings goals are. Is your plan to save for tuition only or for everything your child will need, such as books or a computer? Do you envision your child attending a four-year university or a technical college?
Research tuition and added costs across different educational paths, and create a budget that works for your family. Futurescholar.com features calculators to help you make a plan for the future cost of college.
• Take advantage of resources: Giveaways and contests are often overlooked but can be great resources for adding to your Future Scholar savings. Throughout the year, encourage your child to participate in various opportunities to win contributions to an existing 529 account. Be sure to visit my office’s Facebook page to learn about upcoming contests and events.
• When your child gets close to attending college, turn in FAFSA forms as early as possible: The free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may provide qualified applicants with grants, loans or work-study funds to add to savings and help pay for educational costs. The sooner you submit your application, the more likely you will be to receive financial aid, so apply Jan. 1 of the year your child will be attending.
Here’s to starting the new year off on the right track.
From our Future Scholar family to yours, we wish you a happy and healthy 2018.
Curtis Loftis is the treasurer for the state of South Carolina and the administrator of Future Scholar.