Talking about how you’ll pay for school can be daunting. Talking about how your family or potential cosigner will contribute, and what expectations need to be set for repayment can be even more daunting. When it comes to finances, emotions and fear can get in the way of what otherwise could be a successful dialogue. How you plan to invest in your college education doesn’t have to be the scary monster under the bed. Starting a conversation with your key stakeholders can shed light on how you may be able to power your bright future.
Like Nike’s famous motto says, “Just do it!” Rather than building up this emotional, anxiety ridden picture in your head, talk it out. It’s best to start the conversations early about how you’re going to pay for college so that you’re not surprised by a last-minute disappointments. It’s also important to give your potential cosigner a little lead time to do relevant research.
Plan to have your conversation in a space that is neutral to both parties. Instead of having this conversation at home on the couch where it may seem too lax or at the dining room table where it may feel like an interrogation, try a coffee shop down the street. Being in a space that neither party has domain over levels the mental playing field. Your success may vary with this, maybe your household always has meetings around the kitchen table and breaking from that tradition would be detrimental to the success of your dialogue. Use your personal experience to create a plan that works best for you.
Okay so you set a time to meet your potential cosigner to discuss, now what? Discuss your finances! Paying for college is not as simple as writing a check to the school of your choice for most students. Do research the total cost of tuition including living expenses for the school(s) you’re interested in attending. You should confirm whether financial aid is available and the amount that you can expect for your school of choice. Finally, you should research how much you can expect to earn upon graduation. By gathering facts, you can informatively speak with your cosigner and demonstrate that you understand the obligations that you’re taking on.
During your meeting, it’s important to withhold judgement, and emotions, think of the task at hand as a group project, everyone has a role to play, and those roles need to be defined to be successful. Once this initial meeting is over, you might need to schedule a follow up meeting to resolve any questions that were raised during your initial meeting. Use this system to plan, optimize your plan, and repeat until perfected.
It’s better to have these discussions as early as possible, but it’s never to late to start. By not having these vital, open dialogues with your potential cosigner you are leaving your finances to the unknown which can lead to unpleasant surprises later down the line.
Tell us when and where you’re having your discussion with your cosigner about finances by tagging us on our social links! Happy discussing! 😄
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