5 COLLEGE SAVINGS TIPS from your State Treasurer, David McRae

Tip #1: Take Advantage of Compound Interest

Albert Einstein once described compound interest as the “eighth wonder of the world.” But what is it? Well, compound interest is when you add the earned interest back into your principal balance, which then earns you even more interest, increasing your returns. In other words, with compound interest, you’re not just earning money on your initial contributions. Even your interest earns interest! And that’s exactly what MACS accounts do!

Tip #2: Find Lower-Cost Classes

Where possible, students should take advantage of opportunities to enroll in Advanced Placement (AP) courses for college credit while still in high school. You may also consider attending one of Mississippi’s terrific community colleges before moving on to a four-year university. Others might consider summer classes at nearby community colleges after high school graduation, transferring the hours to knock out a few required courses at a more affordable rate.

Tip #3: Double Down on the Scholarship Search

Scholarships are another great way to reduce college costs. Some are need-based while others are merit-based. There are great resources online to help with scholarship searches, and most schools have lists of available scholarships to explore during the application process.

Tip #4: Don’t Forget the FAFSA!

All students should also fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to find out what types of federal financial aid might be available based on each student’s needs criteria.

Tip #5: Streamline College

Many universities now offer programs to earn some four-year degrees in three years by taking extra hours each semester and during summer sessions. For students planning to go to graduate school, many colleges offer combined degree courses to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees, such as an MBA or law degree, over a compacted time schedule. These accelerated programs are also a great option to shave time and expenses from the total cost of college.