Saving options for college

Every family with a child that is about to enroll at the college of his or her dreams are not aware that they do not have to spend a fortune in order to have the expenses for the studies covered in time or at all.

The rising college costs continue to plague students and families across the United States and worldwide.

The new survey released this week shows that parents are more likely to consider making sacrifices at home budgets, such as putting off retirement or cutting back on the little luxuries, instead of exploring ways to save on the cost of college itself.

The survey, that was sponsored by Ivy Bridge College of Tiffin University, an online college that helps students create a cost-effective plan for their college education, included responses from nearly 900 parents who had a student planning to enter college in this school year or the next one.

  • 90 percent of parents said that the overall process of planning and paying for college was stressful on the entire family
  • 87 percent said that cost affected which school their student decided to attend.

Parents that are funding more than one college education were especially impacted by the rising tuition and many of them felt forced to reevaluate their finances.
– 30 percent planned to cut back on “extras”, like dinners, parties, vacations and clothes
– 20 percent were delaying retirement.

Families were also considering other ways to pay for their students’ education:

  • 72 percent were ready to co-sign on their child’s student loans
  • 29 percent of parents expected their student to cover more than a quarter of annual college costs
  • almost 30 percent would consider having their student live at home to reduce total costs

In spite of the cited importance of cost in decision-making, most of the parents answered that they plan to cut back on family expenses to find ways to save, while fewer were exploring ways to reduce the cost of their student’s education.

  • 17 percent would recommend their student take summer courses to graduate earlier
  • 34 percent considered having their student attend a two-year community or online college, rather then transferring
  • 10 percent had not considered any options to reduce the cost of their student’s degree at all

Jennifer Ruggiero, College admissions and career counselor at Ivy Bridge College said: “I was surprised to see so many parents planning to make major sacrifices, even delaying retirement, before thinking about other options that could actually reduce the cost of their child’s college education and future debts from student loans. After hearing what families are saying, it seems like many just stick with what they know, tightening budgets, rather than examining the options that have the potential to make college more affordable.”

One of the possible reason that parents may not be aware of all their options in respect to their children education prospects is the fact that they’re not talking with counselors or advisors about rising college costs, but are seeking answers from their own network.

When asked what resource they found most helpful, when making critical decisions about choosing and paying for college:
– 28 percent answered friends and family;
– 31 percent said the Internet and books;
– 21 percent mentioned talking to a school counselor.

Ms Ruggiero explains: “It’s great to do research on your own and I always consult my friends and family on important decisions. But I’d hate for families to miss out on opportunities because they dismissed an idea before looking into it more. That’s how counselors can help. Attending a two-year school or taking extra courses over the summer may call for more planning and foresight, but these kinds of options can dramatically reduce the cost of a student’s overall degree program. In the case of transferring, students can sometimes reduce their costs as much as $64,000.00 depending on their end school.”

At Ivy Bridge College, the institution that sponsored the actual survey, counselors like Ruggiero can help students explore ways to save on their overall education by outlining a plan for two- to four-year college transfer.

As part of their services, the online college offers a robust college mentoring program , through success coaching and counseling that successfully helps students create a path for their education that works with their financial situation and degree and career goals.

When advising how to create a successful plan for college, Ivy Bridge’s experts, recommend that parents and students consider the following:


Transfer options and partners

Choosing to start at a two-year college, and then transferring to finish a bachelor’s degree is a time-honored way to save on the total cost of a college degree.

Many parents and students do not know that almost every school, even top-tier programs, have established relationships with two-year community and online colleges that make it easier for students to transfer from one school to the next.

Students who know they want their degree to come from a particular institution should always check the school’s website or talk to the counseling office, in order to see if there are transfer partners in the area or online.

Many schools offer dual-admission “2+2” programs, where students fill out one application and enroll in both schools at the same time.

Transferring is a great option for students whose grades or SAT scores may be just below the requirements for the school they’re interested in. If attending a two-year program first, they have a chance to bring up their grades. After this they are more likely to be accepted as a transfer student as an undergraduate.

Class size and availability

College enrollment in the United States is all-time high phase and many colleges are taking on more students than ever before. As a result of this, the classes (and especially the general education courses students, take their freshman and sophomore year) may become overcrowded and even unavailable. Consequently, this can cause and increase in tuition for students who are forced to take courses, that do not work towards their degree in order to stay full-time and receive financial aid.

Students who need to meet popular prerequisites and requirements before they move forward with their program, may find themselves having to pay tuition for extra terms in order to get the course they need to graduate within four years.

Checking out the school’s class sizes and looking at whether or not there are waitlists for popular courses, enables parents and students to get a better idea of whether or not they’ll be affected by overcrowding.

Online courses and Blended options

Undoubtedly, the online education has come a long way in a short period of time. It is a proven fact that in early every institution, including larger state schools and private institutions, there are classes and entire degree programs that are offered online.

Online courses generally cost less than their in-person counterparts, and with this can provide opportunities for students to save by living at home, eliminating commuting costs, and working as they pursue a degree.

Online courses can provide more options for students to get into popular courses and can make it easier to take more classes per term and speed up the path to a degree.

Undoubtedly, the options vary from school to school, so when considering a four-year or a community college program it is good to see whether online courses are available and check the cost difference.

If students are considering a fully online college (like Ivy Bridge), it is important to make sure they talk to the admissions department and ensure that the online learning environment and course schedule will work for them.

Unfortunately there is still a myth that online learning is easier than taking courses in person. What you should know is that the online programs are just as rigorous as in-person courses and that there are still deadlines for assignments and tests students need to be prepared to meet.

Ms Ruggiero clarifies: “Options like taking courses online or creating a plan for transfer aren’t for everyone, but neither is putting off retirement, taking on a second job, or cancelling vacations. Families and students have a lot more choices to make college more affordable than they think.”

If you are looking to learn more about Ivy Bridge College of Tiffin University and their online associate degree and college transfer program you may visit College cost survey

About Ivy Bridge College

Ivy Bridge College of Tiffin University is an online college with a tradition of excellence and as an online branch of Tiffin University of Ohio, it is a part of the private institution founded in 1888.

Ivy Bridge provides students with a direct path and support services to earn an associate degree online, as well as to transfer to one of over 150 public and private four-year partner institutions across the United States.

Created through a joint venture agreement with Tiffin University and Altius Education, Ivy Bridge offers students from all walks of life, the college mentoring, academic foundation, engaging online learning experience, and college connections they all need to successfully graduate with their Bachelor’s degree and pursue a rewarding career.


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