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Make a Plan

College Planning Checklist

At MEFA, we understand that college planning can seem confusing and intimidating. That's exactly why we're here — to guide you through every step of the planning process, toward your higher education goals. Whether college is 12 years away or just 12 months, the following college planning checklist will help you understand how to plan for college wisely.

  1. Start saving for college early. Even if you can only save a small amount per month, it's better to start small than not at all.
  2. When a monthly expense such as daycare or a car loan comes to an end, immediately redirect that money toward college savings — before you have a chance to get used to the extra spending money.
  3. On gift-giving occasions such as birthdays and religious holidays, ask family and friends to contribute to your child's college savings plan instead of buying toys.
  4. Review your college savings account annually and consider increasing your contributions, especially after you receive a raise.
  5. When your child reaches middle school, increase the amount that you're saving. Also, encourage your child to begin exploring career interests using self-assessment quizzes, career videos, tips for success, and other tools available in MEFA Pathway Your Plan for the Future.
  6. As your child selects high school courses, keep in mind that admissions offices consider academic rigor to be the most important qualification in college admissions.
  7. Use Net Price Calculators to better understand the true cost of college.
  8. Early in the planning process, have conversations with your child about college affordability and how it relates to your family.
  9. Once your college list is complete, research all of the deadlines and requirements for the financial aid application process.
  10. Keep saving money right up until your first college bill is due.
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