Our third and final child just completed her degree through the CSU system, so this topic is near and dear to my heart. The truth is, college expenses are out of control, as evidenced by the exponential growth of costs from child number 1 to child number 3. It makes Amazon’s growth look like stagnant water.
The biggest expense you’ll incur, by far, is housing…assuming your child can’t live at home and commute to school. When my youngest started at Chico State, the dorm bill was just north of ten thousand a year, or about $1,250/month. Double occupancy.
We always had our children spend the first year in the dorms to acclimate to college life, and then did something that offered them a transition out of dorm life into a nice neighborhood close to school. This strategy saved us a ton of money, which I later used to help them buy that home once they graduated. Ultimately, I averaged a 65% reduction in housing costs, and they gained a 12-month stable housing arrangement with an easy path to home ownership.
The strategy I used was lease-options, and I was able to find these homes right on the MLS. I negotiated three-year options and below market rent. Minimum 3 bedroom, preferably four, and rented the additional rooms out to other students to offset costs. When my children graduated, I would apply the option fee and some of the money I saved to the purchase, and then would exercise the option. If you would like to hear about this strategy in more detail, send me an email and let’s have coffee.