The Complete Guide to Paying for College – A SavvyReview

The Complete Guide to Paying for College: Save Money, Cut Costs, and Get More for Your Education Dollar

Paperback: 256 pages

Publisher: Career Press (2017)

Having a seventeen-year-old and a thirteen-year-old fast approaching graduating from high-school, I read Leah Ingram’s guide with great interest. The Complete Guide to Paying for College appeals to students preparing for their first college visit and parents who have been preparing since before their birth.

Leah Ingram, aka The Confident Spender, has been showing people how to be smart with their money for more than a decade. Ingram is the author of 15 books and holds a degree in journalism from New York University. Armed with her unique money-saving advice she sets out on her mission to help you feel more confident about your spending, regardless of income.

“The middle class faces some of the biggest challenges when it comes to paying for college. We typically don’t qualify for significant financial aid, but, like what happened with my family, will not have saved enough to pay cash for college. We all want our children to receive a quality education, but lack the income to pay today’s tuition costs. I’ve written this book for all of us!”

Highlights and Techniques

The Complete Guide to Paying for College highlights some of the unique techniques for making college affordable. Ingram details:

  • How to find bona fide scholarships, not spam and scams.
  • What are prepaid tuition plans and what states have them.
  • Where parents can work to receive tuition benefits.
  • How to apply to college for FREE.
  • Frequently asked questions about financial aid.
  • How to negotiate your financial aid award.
  • The pros and cons of earning college credits before graduating high-school.
  • Which schools give out the most merit aid, even if you’re not a rocket scientist.
  • In-state, out-of-state, community college—what are the hidden costs/drawbacks?
  • There IS such a thing as free college (really!!)!!
  • How to save on those expensive textbooks.

Often, we hear a lot of money savings ideas about college and maybe do not completely understand. The Complete Guide to Paying for College addresses the latest news and trends in paying for college–including free tuition at state schools.

Before sharing any tips on saving money, cutting costs, and getting more for your education dollar, Ingram ask the most important question in Chapter 1

“Is College Worth It?”

There have been numerous discussions on RetirementSavvy about the worth of a college degree. From my point of view, there is no one-size-fits-all answer and the decision is absolutely unique to each individual. Certainly, the goal of this chapter is not to be a deterrent but to solidify a position in your mind that you can afford college.

Having a daughter who attends Harper Middle College High School, an honors program offered by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools that gives students the chance to earn college credit during their junior and senior years and a son who attends Piedmont Open IB Middle School with a strong International Baccalaureate academic program, I appreciated Chapter 4

“College Credits Before Graduation”

It focuses on how earning college credits before high school graduation is smart and the potential savings. This for me is one of the tips I’ve heard about, however didn’t know enough about and this chapter provided additional understanding of what those college credits will do for your student; the financial benefit and the admissions benefit. Additionally, Ingram provides an important understanding of how different colleges see AP (Advanced Placement) and IB (International Baccalaureate) classes.

Final Thoughts

The Complete Guide to Paying for College is geared towards the middle class, and offers surprising ways to pay for college that will resonate with families that never made enough to fully fund a 529 college savings plan yet don’t earn enough to pay for college out of pocket. This step-by-step guide includes actionable tips to save on education costs and the many living expenses―room, board, books, and activities. Parents and students will find this very resourceful with planning for college and reducing the sticker shock of higher education.

The Complete Guide to Paying for College: Save Money, Cut Costs, and Get More for Your Education Dollar Amazon is available at in Kindle and Paperback formats.

Brian Tramuel is a regular contributor and helms the 'A Richer Understanding' series. He lives with his wife Michelle, their children Geneva and Brian, and their Cocker Spaniel Maestro in Charlotte, NC. They, along with his two older children from a previous marriage, Davina and Aaron, provide a constant source of inspiration. Aaron lives, works and plays in Charlotte and Davina lives, works and plays in Roanoke, VA.

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