Checklist: Sending a Child to College

Woman helping young man with tie

You've spent years saving for your child's higher education. Now the event you've been saving for is approaching – and you probably have a lot of questions. Whether it's you and your spouse or just you, having a child fly the coop is an important achievement. We've developed this checklist to help you sort out some of the details.

Education Savings

  • Continue contributing to any education savings accounts you have – you can even continue to do so after your child is in college.
  • Talk with your financial advisor about how your education savings are invested, and make adjustments, if necessary, as your child gets closer to college.
  • Learn what options your college savings account offers for paying college bills. Can you electronically transfer money from the account directly to the college? Will you have to request a check payable to you, your student or the receiving institution?
  • Talk to your financial advisor about any additional options for paying college expenses.
  • Ask your tax professional about potential tax consequences when you withdraw money from an education savings account.

Financial Aid

  • Investigate financial aid from federal, state, local and private sources. 
    • Visit for publications, resources, fact sheets and links to other sources of information on financial assistance. Be sure to download a copy of Funding Your Education: The Guide to Federal Student Aid. 
    • You can also call the U.S. Department of Education's Student Aid Information Center (1-800-4FED-AID) for answers to your questions. 
  • Talk to college counselors at your child's high school for more information and resources. 
    • Estimate how much federal student aid you or your child might receive at
    • During your child's senior year of high school, complete all necessary financial aid forms, including the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at


  • Learn about scholarships available at colleges your child is interested in, and determine whether your child meets the requirements. 
  • Access to find scholarships. Some deadlines fall as early as the summer after a child's junior year, so be sure to prepare in time. 
  • Visit the library for directories on scholarships for women, minorities and students with disabilities. 
  • Ask schools about additional options for financial assistance, such as work-study programs, grants and last-minute scholarships.

Additional Considerations

  • Once your child has selected a college, learn about the college's billing practices. Does it offer payment plans or expect payment for an entire semester at one time? 
  • Visit or talk to your tax professional for information on federal tax deductions and credits for education expenses.
  • Make sure your life insurance policy covers the cost to continue your child's education if something would happen to you.

Help Your Child Learn Financial Responsibility

  • Discuss with your child expectations about spending money, and how much, if any, you will provide. 
  • Determine whether you want him or her to obtain a part-time job while at school. 
  • Set up a checking or savings account your child can access via a debit card or checks. 
  • Arrange to have funds electronically transferred to the account when necessary. 
  • Work with your child to create a monthly budget.

How We Can Help

We're here to help you save for your goals, of course – but we're also here to help when it comes time to use that money. Don't hesitate to contact your financial advisor when this important milestone is within sight.

Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors do not give tax or financial aid advice. This is a highly specialized field, and specific questions should be directed to a qualified financial aid expert. This material is offered for broad, informational purposes only. Many important details of the federal financial aid system are not mentioned or fully described. The information provided is a simplified explanation of the federal financial aid system and how savings vehicles fit into it. 

This information discusses federal financial aid only. Information on aid from schools and states and on private scholastic and athletic scholarships is not provided.

Find a Financial Advisor

Find a Financial Advisor

Select a State and then enter a last name

    How can I balance saving for college and retirement?

    It can be intimidating to think about how much you should save for both college and retirement—but it doesn't have to be.

    Read more

    Paying for Education

    Create an education savings strategy that will make the grade.

    Learn more