The cost of college has skyrocketed over the past few decades, at a higher rate than inflation. Does that mean young adults shouldn’t even bother going to a university? Of course not! The price of attending college, while scary, is completely manageable. As a Lockheed Martin employee, your late nights of studying at the library fueled by Red Bull are behind you, but your children or grandchildren may soon be headed in that direction. Luckily for them, and you, there are quite a few ways to pay for higher education. Many students end up with a sizable amount of student loan debt, which is one way to go but not the most advisable. Let’s take a brief look at a some of the many options.

  1. Scholarships Scholarships are one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to pay for college. These are usually need-based or merit-based. Check with the university’s financial aid office for all the various scholarship opportunities. You can even search online and will find a plethora of websites that will help your college bound student to create a profile and have specific scholarships emailed to them.  It is wise to apply for as many scholarships as the student is eligible, there are never too many!

529 Plan 

Arguably, this is the best type of account for education funding. This investment account allows for contributions from the parent, grandparent, or anyone, and grows with the market. The investment options in a 529 Plan will usually be more aggressive during the child’s younger years and more conservative as the child approaches college age. Each state has its own 529 Plan, but the child doesn’t have to attend university in that state nor reside in that state to participate in the state’s plan. Click here for a great resource to compare various 529 Plans. 

UGMA/UTMA 

The acronym of this account stands for Uniform Gift to Minors Act/Uniform Transfers to Minors Act. This type of account allows you to transfer assets to a child without the need for a trust. The parent is considered the account “custodian,” since he/she has control of the account, but the ownership is actually in the name of the child. The funds in this account can be used for anything that benefits the child: tuition, housing, vehicle, laptop, etc.  Be cautious, the UGMA/UTMA is considered an asset of the child, which can negatively impact the availability financial aid. 

Student Loans 

These loans are either subsidized or unsubsidized. With subsidized loans, interest does not accrue while the student is in school whereas the unsubsidized loans due accrue interest while the student is in school. Subsidized loans tend to be more need-based. Student loans typically become payable six months after graduating and tend to have a term of ten years. Learn more at https://studentloanhero.com/.

Tax Credits 

Even though paying for college is expensive, luckily the IRS provides a break with education tax credits. These credits directly reduce the taxpayer’s income tax liability. The two tax credits are the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit. The American Opportunity Tax Credit is for undergraduate students and has a maximum credit of $2,500 per student per tax year. The Lifetime Learning Credit is for undergraduate and graduate students and has a maximum credit of $2,000 per family per year.  The Lifetime Learning Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit cannot be combined. Only, one credit per year is allowed. A best practice is to keep track of college expenses and have them handy when filing taxes that way these tax credits can be utilized.

These are only a few methods of paying for education. At Strittmatter Wealth Management Group, we have helped many children and grandchildren of our clients with education planning, as it is an integral aspect of the financial planning process. Some of our clients even decide to return to college themselves! Paying for college can be a stressful experience, but our Lockheed Martin Retirement Specialists are here to make the process more manageable. We provide services in various aspects of personal finances such as retirement, taxes, estate planning, investment management, and of course, education planning. Our clients even have access to a 529 Plan through our TD Ameritrade platform and we do all the leg work to set up the account.  It is never too early to start planning! Give us a call today to schedule your complimentary consultation. 

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Be sure and check back next week for more incredibly valuable information. Cheers!

Disclosures*

Financial Planning and Investment Advisory offered by SWMG, LLC a Registered Investment Advisor.

This blog is being provided and sponsored by Strittmatter Wealth Management Group, LLC. Lockheed Martin and its subsidiaries do not endorse, recommend, or make representations with respect to any information, advice, services, or products discussed in this blog. 

Lockheed Martin Retirement Specialist is not an official title or professional designation nor is it conferred by Lockheed Martin on any individual or company.

Our Complementary consultation and free report are for informational purposes only and provided free without any obligation to utilize or retain our investment advisory services.

SMWG, LLC is not affiliated with or endorsed by Lockheed Martin Corporation. Our expertise comes from working with LMT employees for several years and helping them to retire with confidence.

Investing involves the risk of loss, including loss of principal. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investment products are not FDIC insured, have no bank guarantee, and may gain or lose value. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that any specific investment will be profitable for a client’s investment portfolio.