Before College: Helping Your Children Enhance Their Online Skills Can Payoff in Their College Years

Some friends with a 12 year-old daughter are happy she’s attending middle-school online this fall. This is because they realize its safer as COVID spikes again and, although her school system’s emergency move to distance education earlier this year left much to be desired, they think her online classes are somewhat better now.

Her elementary schooling increasingly used high-tech teaching methods and tools before COVID, suggesting that, even after the pandemic, online communication and research will become more prominent in navigating America’s educational system — including higher education.

Make helping your children gain and refine their online skills part of your Pre-College Finance Plan, because doing so can reduce the exorbitant costs paid today while getting postsecondary degrees.

We’re not talking about video games here. We’re talking about your children becoming experts at identifying, then using, high quality, reliable online resources to find, absorb, understand, and communicate ideas and information.

Clearly, there’s great skepticism today about the quality and effectiveness of online higher learning — especially at colleges charging the same tuition and fees for web-based and in-person courses. Unfortunately, because most postsecondary schools have suffered significant revenue losses during the pandemic, it may be a few years before they can afford to freeze or reduce tuition and fees for any classes.

But institutions can deliver online instruction to more students than they could possibly stuff into even the largest lecture halls. At some point, this should deflate their cost per student. These savings can result in lower tuition and fees, especially if public pressure to for them keeps up.

And let’s face it, online classes have tremendous potential to cut 56% of the costs public 4-year college students pay. Travel costs to and from a distant campus will become unnecessary, as will costs for establishing a second household — whether it be an on-campus dormitory or off-campus apartment — on or near that campus.

Of course, cost cutting is only one advantage for those adept at using online tools. Such expertise can also help secure funds to help pay a student’s bills.

In Texas, for example, the state’s largest and most prestigious private scholarship foundation recently switched from in-person to virtual interviews. Other scholarship providers are also moving in this direction to reduce COVID transmission, for now, and, in the future, to cut transportation cost for candidates and interviewers. But successful online interviews for any purpose will require your children to employ certain preparatory steps and interview strategies.

Also, the part-time and seasonal jobs that help students rely less on loans and gain resume experience are increasingly online. Foundations, marketers, merchants, researchers, and other employers are looking for employees who know their way around the internet and it’s related technology.

So help your children gain useful online skills now. It’ll payoff during their college years!

Looking for help in selecting strategies for your Pre-College Finance Plan? College Affordability Solutions offers free consultations based on 40 years experience in postsecondary student finance. Contact us at (512) 366-5354 or to schedule a consultation.

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