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It's never too early to get a head start and begin your child's college savings plan. The Help Desk has compiled a college checklist to help parents and students better prepare.
Search for scholarships before senior year in high school. Mycollegeoptions.org suggests starting the search as early as freshman year. The important thing to remember about scholarships is that the recipient will not have to pay that money back. Depending on the type of scholarship, there are a significant number to choose from such as: academic, athletic, merit-based scholarships and corporate scholarships. Know which one best applies to the student, and most importantly, know the deadlines of each scholarship.
RESOURCE GUIDE: College savings tools
It is important to start a college savings account, such as a 529, for college expenses. Not only do they allow parents to save for college, but all withdrawals from 529 plans for qualified education expenses are free from federal income tax.
Lastly, education tax credits can help offset the costs of education and limit the amount of income tax owed. Irs.gov states that the American Opportunity (Hope Credit extended) and the Lifetime Learning Credit are education credits that can be subtracted in full from federal income tax.