Focus Areas

Here comes college!

It’s been a long journey, but that next road is on the horizon: College is up ahead, and we’re here to help keep you prepared.

IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO PLAN

graduatesHigh-school graduation day isn’t the best time to create college plans. In fact, it’s never too early to start researching and working toward this important life decision.

But the thing to remember is that you are not alone: Many resources are available to help with career research and college planning. School counselors are your go-to source of current information on employment and colleges. Taking a little time to meet with a school counselor can mean a lot of help with job ideas, assessments to gauge your career interests, vocational/technical schools and much more. Your school or local library is another helpful free resource for your future plans.

Concerned about college costs?

Does your child want to go to college someday? For many families, the decision may come down to how much financial aid will be provided and how much students will need to contribute. It’s never too early to learn about the financial-aid process.

For those of you who have seniors in high school, financial-aid submission deadlines may be approaching. Visit  www.studentaid.gov to learn the types of aid available, how much aid your student qualifies for, details about applying for student aid and how to manage student loans.

And be sure to check out ScholarShareScholarShare 529 is the official college savings plan of California. With 100% tax-free growth, families can have up to 25% more money for higher education — funds which can be used for a range of qualified expenses at eligible schools nationwide. So whether a child is headed to an Ivy League school or a culinary academy, needs funds for tuition or textbooks, ScholarShare 529 is a smart, tax-advantaged way to save for their bright future.

Open a ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan and get a $50 Target gift card! This savings plan provides 100 percent tax-free growth and the opportunity to have up to 25 percent more money for college. On December 7 – 8, 2017, open your ScholarShare 529 account with $50 and set up an Automatic Contribution Plan of $25 or more for 6 months to get your $50 gift card. Download the flier here.

COLLEGE SAVINGS PLANNING

California State PTA and ScholarShare are teaming up to raise awareness about the importance of saving for college. Here are a few steps you can take to develop a college savings road map for your child:

Start Small and Early

The task of saving for college can be overwhelming, but the sooner you get started, the greater the likelihood that your child will go to college and have the funds to pay for it. Various studies show that a child with a college savings account is 6 to 7 times more likely to attend college. The key is to get started.

Review Your Finances

Saving for college can be daunting. That’s why it’s important to take a careful look at your finances and identify any available funds that you can regularly contribute to your college savings. No contribution is too small. Every little bit helps.

Define Your Goal

Paying for 100 percent of a child’s future college expenses may not be a realistic goal for some parents. Fortunately, the share you save is only a part of a larger strategy to help pay for college. Define a goal that makes sense for your family and plan accordingly.

Understand Your 529 Plan

A 529 plan is a state-sponsored, tax-advantaged savings plan designed to help families save for college. The State of California offers the ScholarShare College Savings Plan. In addition to the many benefits, you can open a ScholarShare account with just $25. Visit scholarshare.com to learn more.

Additional Resources

Many free resources are available to help with career research and college planning. School counselors are your go-to source of current information on employment and colleges. Taking a little time to meet with a school counselor can mean a lot of help with job ideas, assessments to gauge your child’s career interests, vocational/technical schools and much more. Your school or local library are other helpful free resources for your future plans.

New from ScholarShare and California State PTA – Win Money for Your School with Scholar Dollars

California State PTA President Justine Fischer and the California State Treasurer announce ScholarShare California’s 529 College Savings Plan cool new contest where YOUR school could win up to $25,000! Register by February 22 at myscholardollars.com and learn more

GEARING UP & GETTING READY

In addition to local resources available to you, we’ve gathered further resources to help you with college and career planning:

APPLICATION AND TESTING ASSISTANCE

*Community colleges don’t require the ACT or SAT, but most require on-campus math and English placement tests.

SCHOOL-RESEARCH RESOURCES

FUNDING FOR YOUR FUTURE

And graduating seniors: Don’t forget PTA’s popular scholarship program! Graduating high-school seniors who also are PTA members are eligible to apply for the $750 Volunteer Service Scholarship and the $500 Dr. Ralph E. White Scholarship for medical-field education.