Paying for your child's university/college education is one of life's most significant expenses -- up there with buying a house for your family and your first car. So, there is no doubt that you wanted to save enough for when this day comes. But life can throw unexpected challenges our way, making it difficult to save the substantial sums needed for college tuition.
Perhaps health issues, a divorce, debt, or economic downturns hindered your savings plan, or maybe your income simply couldn't keep up with the rising education costs.
Whatever the reason, it is probably too late to save the tens of thousands your child needs for college admission if they're to join this year. However, the silver lining is that it's never too late to explore creative solutions to overcome this obstacle. This article will discuss six ways to raise money to fund your child’s college education.
Read Also: 5 Ways to Finance Your Studies Abroad
Family and friends are the closest people you can ask for help, and there is a possibility that some will be willing to help pay for your kid’s college. You might even be lucky and find someone who is willing to sponsor them. Consider holding a fundraising event to bring your loved ones together and ensure to communicate clearly and tell them what the money will be used for, why it is urgent, and how you plan to pay it back.
Additionally, you can try holding a crowdfunding campaign and accepting donations from your community, church/mosque, family, or online by opening a paybill or using platforms like M-changa.
Finally, remember fundraising is based on people's goodwill. Therefore, consider offering something in return to your supporters to create a win-win situation. It could be a product, service, or experience. For example, if you're skilled in a particular area like art, music, or teaching, you can offer custom artwork, music lessons, or tutoring services.
Fundraising might help you pay for the admission fees, but you will need to explore other ways to raise money to pay for future semester tuition. This method is also not very viable as the amount you receive depends on the generosity of donors.
Liquidating your assets means strategically converting some possessions into cash to finance your child's college admission. This doesn't necessarily mean selling everything you own, but rather selectively parting with assets that can help you meet your goal. These could include investments such as fixed deposits, mutual funds, bonds, unused valuable items like jewelry or electronics, your vehicle, or even a portion of your land.
Liquidating can provide quick access to the necessary funds, help you avoid debt, or inconvenience friends/family by holding a harambee. However, this strategy means you might be letting go of valuable possessions, potentially affecting your long-term financial goals. Additionally, selling assets hurriedly can result in lower returns.
To maximise benefits and mitigate risks, follow due process when liquidating. Consider seeking professional advice, conducting market research, and ensuring all legal and financial obligations are met. This way, you can secure the best possible prices for your assets.
Not everyone can afford to sell their assets to raise money for college admission. If you are in that category, one way to take advantage of your possession is to use it to secure a loan. Let's say, for instance, you have a car but need it for personal or business reasons. Instead of selling it, you can take a logbook loan to unlock some of its value.
A logbook loan uses your vehicle as collateral, allowing you to borrow against its value. It is a type of secured loan, therefore, until you repay the loan, the car will be put on temporary joint ownership with the lender. However, to qualify, your vehicle must have a forced-sale value that is at least equal to the amount you are seeking.
Most logbook lenders will allow you to borrow 50-80% of your car's forced-sale value. For example, if you have a 2014 Toyota fielder valued at Ksh800,000, you can borrow between Ksh400,000 to Ksh640,000 to get your child admitted to university.
Logbook loans allow you to keep and continue using your car while repaying borrowed amounts. Additionally, they're easily accessible with many lenders to choose from and can be processed quickly compared to other types of loans. On the downside, it's important to be aware that logbook loans typically carry higher interest rates when compared to traditional loans, and if you default, you risk losing your vehicle.
Before taking a logbook loan:
When it comes to paying for your child's college education, it's not just about the upfront admission fees. You need to consider how to keep funding your child's education. Consider Kenyatta University, where annual fees can range from Ksh120,000 for art-based undergraduate programs to a staggering Ksh450,000 for medicine and surgery.
To keep your child in school, you will need to explore opportunities to earn extra money. These side hustles can increase your income and ensure sustained educational funding, especially when you don't want your child to take on a HELB loan.
Here are examples of high-paying side jobs you can explore:
Consulting: Are you an expert in your field? You can make money by giving professional advice to individuals and businesses in your area of expertise in exchange for a fee. As you build a reputation, this can turn out to be a lucrative way to generate money.
Coaching: This involves guiding and advising individuals on achieving their goals in various areas, such as business, health and wellness, and personal development. To succeed as a coach, you need to identify a specific niche and develop a methodology to assist your clients in reaching their desired outcomes.
Become a High-Ticket Closer: High-ticket closing is a sales technique focusing on selling high-valued products or services. These purchases are typically not routine or regular purchases. Examples of high-ticket sales will include things such as vehicles, real estate, or financial investments. If you are a good salesperson, you can consider venturing into this by becoming, for instance, a land broker.
Private and public organizations offer scholarships year-round, so it’s always worth searching for last-minute options and applying for them.
Check for scholarships available through organizations such as religious groups, NGOs in Kenya, local Banks, and even the university your child is joining. For example, the University of Nairobi lists several undergraduate scholarships on its website.
Additionally, consider checking the Ministry of Education scholarship portal, which lists several scholarships and grants for undergraduate students seeking financial assistance and those looking to study abroad.
One of the biggest hurdles for most parents is raising money to pay for college admission, student accommodation, and study materials. This can be more challenging for parents who intend to rely on the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB), as disbursements often happen late and require the student to be admitted.
If you can't wait for HELB, parents can consider private non-HELB student loans from commercial banks, microfinance institutes, and SACCOs.
Non-HELB Student Loans provide a timely and flexible alternative to cover the upfront costs of college admission and tuition. Unlike HELB, these loans are disbursed efficiently, ensuring your child's academic journey begins without delay. They can be used not only for tuition but also for admission fees, accommodation, and buying study materials.
However, it is important to note that private student loan interest rates may be slightly higher than HELB loans, you might require a good credit history, guarantor, and proof of income, and unlike HELB loans which offer a grace period, repayment begins immediately. They are typically short-term loans.
Paying for college requires careful planning and important financial decision-making. As your child prepares for this new chapter, it’s essential that you find the best way to fund their education without straining or hurting your finances. Therefore, ensure that you consider all the options available to you and choose one that best aligns with your situation.
Finally, don't rush the process and make mistakes you can regret. If nothing is forthcoming and you are running out of time, consider talking to your child about postponing admission to the next enrollment period as you organise your finances.