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Paid Summer Tuition in Full

June 5th, 2017 at 03:59 pm

I paid my daughter's summer tuition bill in full this evening. A whopping $1,855.18 in cash out of our checking account. This money was saved since March of this year.

I've also paid for the books she needs. Two were purchased used for a combined total of $14.23. I'm nearly positive she will not want to keep them after the course is over, so they will get resold. The third book we rented for $17.76 on Amazon. I looked everywhere to buy or rent cheaper. The cheapest to buy was $24.99 for an eBook. When you rent a book, it is nearly always free to ship back, at least that is our experience with Amazon.

Feels fantastic to still be student loan debt free!

Let's Talk College Costs...Summer 2017

May 12th, 2017 at 05:55 am

I'll keep this short as there isn't much detail to post about taking an online summer class. My daughter did originally sign up for 6 credits. But one of the classes she picked to fulfill a math credit was an engineering class...which is a much higher rate! Basically I told her it wasn't worth it, so she dropped it.

The class is online, so while it is still the non resident rate it is lower than the classroom rate.

The total tuition and fees for one 3 credit hour class is $1,751. She does not have scholarship money that is applied for summer classes. We will be paying this in full out of pocket. I currently have $1,285 saved. I think tuition is due June 12 (although the class doesn't start until July).

My husband gets paid on Monday, so I expect we will have the $466 available at that point. I should put a bit more in as I'm sure there is a text book she will need to buy.

My daughter still has money in her Educational Savings Account. I had considered paying half of tuition with the money in that account, especially when I thought she was taking 6 credits. However, I'm going to save those funds for later, since we are able to pay the full amount out of pocket.

So once again we will have paid some more college costs without student loans! Yea!!

Let's Talk College Costs...Spring Sophomore Year

May 11th, 2017 at 06:32 am

Note: I wrote two posts today, scroll down to see the other one.

Get ready, this was the most expensive semester yet! My daughter took 17 credit hours!! Remember she is an out of state student.

$12,746 Tuition and Fees
_$5,063 Room and Board
$17,809 Total Before Scholarships
($7,250) Scholarships
$10,559 Total After Scholarships
__($400) Advance Housing Deposit Paid out of Pocket
($4,750) Paid from ESA
($1,497) Tax Refund (also considered out of pocket)
($3,912) Paid Out of Pocket

I looked back at YNAB, where I now have a College Tuition and Housing Category and we did save all that money from December to February when it was time to pay the bill. Again, I have made the point to pay at least $4K out of pocket each calendar year to take advantage of the American Opportunity Tax Credit. Housing cannot count towards the credit, only eligible tuition and required fees.

This is the semester our daughter just finished. And we have not taken out any loans. The ability to cash flow some of this at times does boggle my mind a bit, but we have pretty low expenses overall thus the extra cash cushion to apply to college. This is key to making it work along with having saved some money in advance. We have also known that we have the Post 911 GI bill for awhile now which has factored into all of the decision making.

Next Up! An online summer class!

Let's Talk College Costs...Fall Sophomore Year

May 11th, 2017 at 06:12 am

As of my daughter's sophomore year, she still has her primary scholarship of $7,000 per semester. She still has her honors scholarship of $250.

The fall of her sophomore year she enrolled in 13 credits.

$10,350 Tuition and Fees
_$5,801 Fall Housing
$16,151 Total Before Scholarships
($7,250) Scholarships
_$8,901 Total After Scholarships
($4,750) Paid from ESA
($4,151) Paid Out of Pocket

I don't have an account of book and art supplies costs for this semester. As a music major she often has to hire an piano accompanist for a couple practices and then the performance. She pays these fees out of her own money.

I'm remembering that the reason I pay at least $4,000 toward tuition out of pocket is to qualify for the American Opportunity Tax Credit. The maximum tuition amount you can claim is $4K. The maximum credit is $2,500.

I looked back at our bank account last year and can see we were definitely socking away between $800-1,100 a month early in the year. This is where some of that money went...tuition!

Another thing to note, is that she took 13 credit hours in the Spring and Fall of 2016. There was a cost difference in tuition and fees of $431. A small portion may be fees specific to classes, but an increase non the less.

Let's Talk College Costs...Spring Freshman Year

May 10th, 2017 at 11:28 am

Let's move on to my daughter's spring semester of her Freshman year in college. That semester she took 13 credits. This is down from the 16 she took her first semester.

_$9,919 Tuition and Fees
_$4,949 Spring Housing
$14,868 Total Before Scholarships
($10,000) Scholarships
_$4,868 Total After Scholarships
__($400) Advance Deposit from Cash on Hand
($4,400) Paid from ESA
___($68) Paid out of Pocket

Looking back I kind of wish I paid less from her ESA, but overall I have no regrets. I mean couldn't I have come up with another $1000 towards it? But it did go to costs associated with attending.

I'm not entirely sure the book costs for Fall, but I do see she purchased at least $269 for books and supplies at the University book store. Some of her supplies would be art items, which are often pricey! And I know she bought some items at an off campus art store too. We paid for the books out of pocket, also.

I think you can tell that it is helpful to have room in your budget to absorb some of the costs, of at least books and incidentals that come up. Of course, I also think it isn't a bad idea to have students pay these themselves. And there are things our daughter does pay for, which I can put in another post at some point.

Let's Talk College Costs...Fall Freshman Year

May 10th, 2017 at 06:04 am

So let's go back in time. My daughter graduated high school two years ago, May 2015. At the time her ESA account was valued at $22,588.50. She also has a UTMA that was valued at $2,608.19. The total of the two was $25,196.69. All of that was saved by us, except for maybe $1000 worth of gifts from grandparents, and some market appreciation.

My daughter was enrolled in 16 credit hours (at the non resident rate) for Fall 2015. Tuition and fees totaled $12,044. Housing for first semester was $5,154. Yep, a $17,198 bill!

The good news is she had scholarships! That semester those came to $10,000 (current scholarship per semester is still at $7,250) Leaving us a balance of $7,198 to pay.

I had to look back at my blog to find what actually happened. But the plan was to pay the tuition portion ($2,044) out of pocket and pay the housing $5,154 from her ESA. But what actually happened was I paid the full $7,198 out of our savings account when the bill was due in early September.

I then paid ourselves back with two withdrawals later in the year from the ESA. The market was down at the time, so it was hard to pull the sell trigger! Those amounts were $1,718 and $1,436. Which together equal $3154. Which is less than I originally planned to withdrawal by $2000.

The remaining amounts did come from savings and cash flow that was not original designated for college expenses. I had also changed our withholding once I realized we would benefit from the American Opportunity Tax Credit. This netted us $259 per pay period or $518 a month that we made sure to put back into savings for four months ($2,072).

So in the end we did pay $4,044 out of our own savings for the first semester. The remaining $3,154 was from her ESA. No loans! Smile

$12,044 Tuition and Fees
_$5,154 Housing
$17,198 Total Bill Before Scholarships
($10,000) Scholarships
_$7,198 Total after Scholarships
($3,154) Paid from ESA
($2,044)Saved Withholding/American Opportunity Credit
($2,000) Paid from Savings
-$0

It's interesting for me to go back and look. I had no idea we actually paid more out of pocket that first semester than what we withdrew from her ESA. One thing I remembered is that we had been saving $166 a month ($2000/year) for many years into her ESA. I don't specifically save that money into our savings for education but that is where some of the money comes from. ESA's require you stop investing on the child's 18th birthday.

Questions? I'll post Spring Freshman Year next.