How to Pay for College When You’re a Parent With Student Debt

Do you have a middle or high school student? What about a newborn? Maybe you’re still in the DINKs club (dual income no kids). Regardless of what stage of life you’re in, if you have kids or have thought about having children at some point, then you’ve probably thought about paying for their education.

On top of that scary thought, there is a chance that you still have student loan debt of your own. So how do you go about managing your student debt while figuring out how to help your child pay for college? It may take a good bit of planning and energy, but these few things can potentially help you tackle those education costs.

1. Refinance

You have the option to lower your monthly payments through refinancing. In this process, you will be replacing an existing loan with a new loan. The new loan should have better terms or features that could allow some extra cash to go towards paying off your student debt or saving for your student each month.

2. Make a family budget

Sit down with the whole family to create a budget. Include things like your loan payments, car payments, mortgage payments, grocery bills, and regular monthly costs. Decide if there are other areas in the budget that could be better spent towards making extra payments on your loans. Consider redirecting funds like:

  • Going out to eat
  • Subscriptions like Netflix, Hulu, or Spotify
  • Fun money – spend your family fun nights at home to save money and make memories.

3. Get someone else to pay

As the parent, you’ve probably exhausted all the ways to get free money for your education, but have you thought about getting your employer to pay for your student loans? We’ve seen great success in negotiating student loan repayment benefits. Whether you're accepting a new job or negotiating a raise with a current job, It’s always worth the try!

For your kids, there are a number of great opportunities out there for free college funds or credits. It takes time and energy to find free money for school, but if you start your research early you can really rack up the free cash. Some of those opportunities include:

  • Applying for federal student aid
  • Applying for scholarships
  • Having your kids take high school courses that earn them credits through the College-Level Examination Program.

Take advantage of the resources available to both you and your child and make it possible to manage debt. By taking the time to prepare and save you can be excited about paying off the education you worked hard for and putting your kids in a good position to do the same.