A reader faces paying for his loans and his daughter's. Thankfully, he has 4 solid options.

2 minute read

Question: My daughter just had her sweet 16, but it wasn’t sweet for me — she goes to college in two years, and I don’t know how my wife and I will pay for that. We’re also pregnant with a son, and I’m already worried about HIS college. While we both make good money — I’m a paramedic and she’s a lawyer — the sad fact is, we still have about $60,000 of student loans between us. How are we going to pay off our own loans while sending our kids to college? This wakes me up in the middle of the night.

— Mitch in Arizona

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Howard Dvorkin CPA answers…

Sadly, you’re not alone, Mitch. A new survey from the College Savings Foundation reports, “One-third of parents are still shouldering student debt but are determined to change that for their children.”

What are they doing? Quite a few things you and your wife can benefit from…

First of all, if you didn’t enroll in a 529 college savings plan for your daughter, do so for your son. While you could start one for your daughter even at 16 years old; the big savings come from starting young and contributing regularly. According to that College Savings Foundation report, a third of parents have 529 plans.

Second, your daughter can start now pursuing scholarships. Together, you can search for scholarships that fit her interests. Studying those requirements a year or two before she applies means she can tailor her activities and efforts to impress the judges. Don’t limit your search — as Debt.com has reported, there are eccentric scholarships for pumpkin carvers, peanut-butter lovers, and redheads. Debt.com’s scholarship is open to anyone who’s applied for lots of other scholarships!

Third, as I told one reader last year, consider community colleges for the first two years. Not only will two-year schools save your daughter on tuition, but there are so many community colleges — more than 1,700 — that one is likely to be within driving distance of your home. If you daughter lives with you those first two years, she can save thousands. That’s because U.S. News estimates room and board averaged $9,999 last school year.

Fourth, take care of yourself so you’re better able to take care of your children. You and your wife can slash your monthly student loan payments by taking advantage of several federal programs. In fact, you might be eligible for loan forgiveness because of your job, Mitch. To find out is free: Call one of Debt.com’s certified counselors at 1‐888-472-0365.

Bottom line, Mitch: There are many things you can do to help out your children — and let you get a good night’s sleep.

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About the Author

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

I’m a certified public accountant who has authored two books on getting out of debt, Credit Hell and Power Up, and I am one of the personal finance experts for Debt.com. I have focused my professional endeavors in the consumer finance, technology, media and real estate industries creating not only Debt.com, but also Financial Apps and Start Fresh Today, among others. My personal finance advice has been included in countless articles, and has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Forbes and Entrepreneur as well as virtually every national and local newspaper in the country. Everyone should have a reason for living that’s bigger than themselves, and besides my family, mine is this: Teaching Americans how to live happily within their means. To me, money is not the root of all evil. Poor money management is. Money cannot buy happiness, but going into debt always buys misery. That’s why I launched Debt.com. I’m glad you’re here.

Published by Debt.com, LLC