With prices soaring, parents and students alike are worried about how they are going to pay for school. It isn’t easy. From daycare to out-of-state universities, it seems like the payments never end, and every type of school is generally getting more and more expensive.

How will parents and students make it through without accruing a large amount of debt to pay off? Here is what the experts recommend doing so that, after school is finished (specifically college), the amount owed won’t take decades to pay.

Paying for college

Most people consider college the most difficult to pay for. Tuition and is almost always a fair chunk of money, and then when you factor in all the other expenses (textbooks, school supplies, accommodation, and food) it gets considerably more expensive.

accept credit cardsWhat parents can do long before their kids go to college

It is estimated that in 17 years the cost for one student to attend college for four years will be around $220,000. This is why increasing more parents are starting to save for their children’s schooling from the time they are born. But even with 17 years to save, it requires a certain diligence to be able to amass all that money.

It is said that parents with a newborn have to save approximately $250 per month for in-state universities and almost double that for out-of-state universities. Unfortunately, many parents aren’t able to save up the amount needed, or they start saving way too late. But if parents at least start saving what they can as early as possible, it will be a huge help once their kids reach college-age.

A normal savings account is not the best place for education savings

Instead of keeping the money in normal savings accounts, parents should use the 529 plan, which has benefits that exceed that of any savings account. This includes the money growing tax-deferred, with distributions coming out tax-free. Besides that, many states will allow income-tax deductions, doubling the tax benefits.

Students can save by doing AP coursework and/or being jointly enrolled in college while in high school

If a high school student is motivated enough to learn and save money, taking AP courses is a definite way to save money and get ahead. AP stands for “advanced placement” and the course gives students the chance to obtain actual college credits while still in high school. Basically it’s free college!

Students also have the option to enroll in community college classes while still in high school, which saves on tuition and the cost of living (since students will presumably still be living at home). It’s potentially a great deal of money saved, plus a great way to start college ahead of the curve.

Every student should apply for grants and scholarships

Failing to apply for grants and scholarships is a big mistake. After all, it doesn’t hurt to at least try for these awards that could possibly pay for a significant portion of college costs. There are all sorts of ways to be acknowledged: volunteer work, athletics and grades in addition to many other aspects of an individual.

The best schools will make it easy to pay

Despite expensive tuitions, standout schools know it’s worth the effort to make paying easy for their students and their students’ parents. This means working with companies like Payment Savvy who can streamline payment processing so that billing and collections is not a complicated issue.

Any school that wants to operate at a higher standard for their clients should have the best payment processing systems in place. Students and parents already have enough worries about the cost; at least making the payments should be easy.