Prepare education expenses for school year

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New School Year: Guam High School Senior Mark Haas checks out a new laptop at the Navy Exchange on U.S. Naval Base Guam July 30. Technological gadgets are one expense in the school year that can take parents by surprise when budgeting for education. U.S. Navy photo by Shaina Marie Santos/Released
New School Year: Guam High School Senior Mark Haas checks out a new laptop at the Navy Exchange on U.S. Naval Base Guam July 30. Technological gadgets are one expense in the school year that can take parents by surprise when budgeting for education. U.S. Navy photo by Shaina Marie Santos/Released

Prepare education expenses for school year

by: Shaina Marie Santos | .
Joint Region Edge Staff | .
published: August 22, 2012

Purchasing everything from shoes, supplies, technological gadgets, uniforms and even tutoring can be made easier when preparing a budget for the upcoming school year.

Andersen Air Force Base School Liaison Officer Rebecca Duncan said planning early for educational goals can save time and money and properly prepare children for what they need in the future.

“Education can be expensive and competitive,” she said. “The sooner you determine what your goals are for your child’s education, the sooner you get a reasonable plan to attain those goals. Costs for schools are rising and more students will be competing for fewer resources.”

According to Duncan, not only can education itself be expensive depending on what school your child attends, but a number of unexpected expenses can add up and blindside parents.

“Parents often overlook the multitude of smaller expenses and how quickly they can add up,” she said. “People are often aware of the larger expenses such as tuition, books, room and board, but often overlook the smaller expenses such as registration, lab, technology and building maintenance fees as well as the cost for sports, school uniforms, computer equipment, transportation, supplies and even tutoring.”

Duncan offered a tip to preparing finances as being realistic with what you can afford.

“Once you decide on the path of your child’s education, you want to make sure you will be able to afford to follow through until their education is complete,” she said. “If money is tight, look to outside sources for possible help in funding your child’s education.”

Duncan said there are a number of resources available to assist in funding your child’s education.

“There are fewer choices to help fund private K-12 educations (than college) but parents can research their options such as the Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA),” she said.

The Coverdell ESA is an account created with the Internal Revenue Service to help parents and students save for education expenses.
Duncan added that parents can take advantage of tax credits to help offset the cost of school, but one of the best sources for funding assistance can be found at your child’s school itself.

“Contact the schools that you would like your child to attend and ask what assistance programs are available,” she said. “Some schools offer tuition payment plans, need-based grants, scholarships as well as discounts for multiple children.”

According to Duncan, a child that receives an education does not just benefit the child, but the larger community.

“Society benefits when children receive a quality education at an early age because it can make them more open to learning and ultimately make them better members of our global workforce,” she said. “Parents need to be their child’s biggest advocate and stay actively involved in their education.”

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