How to Get Into & Pay for College


I haven't been able to save any money for my child's education. Is it too late to save?

QUESTION: I feel like a terrible mother. My daughter is going to be a senior this fall, and I haven’t been able to save up any money for her college education. Is it too late to save for college?
–Penny-Pinching Procrastinator

Dear Penny-Pinching Procrastinator: In an ideal world, parents would begin saving for college at their children’s birth. Reality check. Each year, thousands of parents realize that the years have slipped away and 17 or so years later they haven’t stashed away enough to pay the tuition bills. Realize that it is never too late to save. Here are some tips to help:

1. Research financial aid and scholarship options through books and the Internet. Call 1-800-4-FED-AID or visit for information on federal financial aid.

2. Make sure you are credit worthy. Some student loans are based on your credit-worthiness. Ensure that credit reports are accurate, and try to reduce your debt as much as possible.

3. Reduce costs. Forgo the unnecessary extras in your spending and figure out ways to reduce costs on essential items as well.

4. Remember that college is four years. Even if you haven’t saved for your child’s first year of college, you can start saving now for his or her second, third, and fourth year.

5. Get help. Speak with your child’s high school counselor or college financial aid office. Explain your situation and work with them to develop strategies for saving.

Finally, realize that there are many other parents in similar situations. Focus your attention on what you can do now to help.


Gen & Kelly Tanabe
Gen and Kelly Tanabe are the founders of SuperCollege and the award-winning authors of 11 books on college admission, financial aid and scholarships. Together they were accepted to all of the Ivy League colleges and won more than $100,000 in merit-based scholarships to graduate from Harvard debt-free.

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