NASE Blogs

Paying for Your Child’s University Fees When You Are Self-Employed

Jun 12, 2020

It’s almost every parent’s dream to send their child to university, but with the high cost of tuition fees, many parents are shying away from this dream. In addition to the tuition, there are living expenses to worry about too. For the self-employed parent, the struggle to pay these fees may be due to fluctuating incomes. However, with the right strategies, it is possible to send your child to university regardless of the size and nature of your business. Consider the following tips.

Separate Your Personal and Business Accounts
One of the biggest mistakes that business owners make and one you should fix right away if you are doing it, is mixing the personal and business accounts. By keeping separate accounts, your records will be more organised and filing taxes will be easier. But how does this help in paying for your child’s tuition? Well it doesn’t directly contribute, but it can improve how you handle your finances. For one, when your personal accounts are separate, it will be easier to track your spending and make a budget. You need to work with a clear budget if you want to save some money for your child’s tuition fees. Also, when the two accounts are separate, you can avoid taking money from your business without a proper plan. For example, to move money from your business to personal account, you will have to state whether that is a salary or loan. This can keep you from spending money carelessly.

Start Saving Early
By saving early, you increase your chances of having enough money to pay for tuition by time your child enrols for a degree. Identify the specific amount you will be saving each month and stick to that. It can be a percentage of what you draw from your business as your salary. As your income goes up, you can revise the percentage to save more. You can also encourage your child to save some of the money they get as gifts and allowances. Don’t be too hard on them though; just tell them the importance and leave it to them to save as much or as little as they want.

Look up Scholarships and Other Financial Aid
With a scholarship, you can pay less or not pay for university at all. Start looking them up while your child is still in secondary school. Check the qualifying requirements and encourage your child to work on that. Mostly, scholarships are awarded based on school performance and extra curriculum activities. There are some that are specifically for self-employed dependents and low-income earners. Others are for specific courses, e.g. law scholarships for students who want to study law at the university. Look for the ones that suit you and your child best. When sending the scholarship applications, check all the paperwork and make sure you submit all the required documentation. Also, look up aid from as many places as possible. You can check the government aid, university scholarships, NGOs and other organisations. The NASE also offers a $3,000 scholarship to Dependants of NASE members.

Compare Universities
You can get the same undergraduate degree from more than a hundred universities. However, the cost of accommodation and other living expenses within and outside the university will vary. Carrying out a comparison can help save you some money when your child joins university. The first thing your child needs to do is identify a degree. Since the process can be confusing for some, discover your perfect degree here. This resource by Uni Compare explores some of the major degree options, why you can pursue them, skills you will learn, expectations after graduation and job overviews. Uni Compare is a website that potential students use to assess their education options.

Once your child has settled on a degree, find a number of universities offering that option and compare tuition fees and cost of living. However, be sure to check factors such as accreditation and ranking before you start your comparison.

Consider Online Options
As you compare options, consider online learning too. Online learning can be cheaper because tuition fees are lower compared to traditional classroom courses. Also, you get to cut down on accommodation and transport expenses. However, online learning is not for everyone. For one to succeed, they have to be self-disciple and self-motivated. Talk it through with your child, and if they are interested and they have the skills to succeed while learning from home, then you can give it a try.

Hire Your Child
If you can hire your child to work for you, you may benefit in three key ways. One, your child can use part of the salary you pay them to cover their tuition fees. Two, you can get some tax benefits. When you pay your child a salary instead of giving them allowances from your personal account, the tax burden for your business can reduce. This is because a salary is tax deductible. Finally, having your child work gives them an opportunity to gain some experience and also grow their skills and knowledge. However, before you hire your child, check the regulations by the department of labour in your country regarding minimum age, minimum and maximum wage, health and safety and any other restrictions on child employment. Also, don’t do it at the expense of their school work and social life. They need a good balance.

Most importantly, keep working on your business to grow your income as this will make paying for university much easier. You can try marketing using new channels, introducing new products or services, and expanding and outsourcing among many other strategies.

Meet The Author:


Ella Woodward

Ella Woodward

As a woman making her way to the top of the corporate ladder, Ella Woodward has the expertise and business knowledge to guide readers through the latest developments in the fast-paced business, financial and investment spaces. She has the contacts, instincts and insight to discover the latest deals, trades and organisations that are worth your time. Being in constant demand, she’s made this blog as a resource for you to see a small selection of the work she’s done over the years.
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