Paying for college can be one of the toughest parts of earning your degree, but it doesn't have to be.
The College Saving Foundation held a free family forum at the Mansion on Forsyth Thursday night.
"We are trying to apply for everything we are eligible for," said parent Lynn Roberts.
Roberts, like many parents of teenagers, are racing against the clock to secure funds for college.
"Our concern is how are we going to pay for it," said Roberts. "With things going on nowadays, you have to think ahead. We have to really think what direction we are going in because of financial situation."
To help Savannah area parents and students learn more about their options and plan for the future, the College Savings Foundation and the Path2College 529 Plan held a Free Family Forum.
"The sooner you start, the better chance you have on really making a dent in your needs for higher education and reducing reliance on loans, which is a big issue in this country today," said Mary Morriss, chairwoman of the College Savings Foundation.
There are many types of scholarship, loans and grants out there, but it does take planning and dedication.
"Look for what is out there and what is available," said Morriss. "Go to events in your community and do a little bit of research. Go to your state's plan first. The college 529 for Georgians is a great place to start. They will have some information on the interplay on the hub scholarship and saving for 529's. 529's can be used by for a wide variety of expenses for adults and kids."
Eighty percent of families end up not attending their choice school because of finances, a decision that could be avoided.
"Do some research, there are all sorts of resources that can help you with federal financial aid," said Morriss. "Some private colleges give more aid than the public schools, so don't assume, do the research and see."
There are many ways to make it affordable. Experts say the best thing you can do is start early.
Path2college 529 Plan, the state of Georgia's 529 college savings plan, is hosting A $25,000 Reasons To Save Sweepstakes, which will award one Georgia child with $15,000 for his or her college education and the winner's school will also receive $10,000.
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