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Want Your Parents to Foot the Bill for College? 9 Things You Need to Do

parent tuitionYou're dying to go to college, but there's one small thing standing in your way - the price tag. Your parents, who are loaded (more than you are, anyway), represent your only hope of achieving the college dream. Before you hit 'em up for their hard-earned cash, review these time-tested tips to ensure success.  

1. Be responsible.
If you want the 'rents to pay, don't make them chase after the forms and figure out the deadlines. Do the legwork and learn about the FAFSA, and give them plenty of advance notice and information to complete it.

george costanza2. Scare them.
Tell your parents that sending you to college is the only way they'll ever get rid of you. Otherwise, you'll end up like Seinfeld's George Costanza and never leave the house.

3. Shop around.
You don't have to attend an expensive school to get a great education. Check out bargain buys like public colleges, which cost about $6,585 in 2008-2009, as opposed to $25,143 for four-year private colleges, reports the College Board.

4. Use guilt.
According to a Gallup poll released by Sallie Mae in August 2009, 55 percent of the 800 parents surveyed used their current income to pay all or part of college costs for their children in 2008-2009. Yes, parents ponied up the dough even in the recession. If more than half the country's parents can do it, why can't yours?

teen money5. Bring some money to the table.
Apply for all the scholarships and grants you can. According to the Gallup poll, the second largest source of college funding (behind parents' income) is scholarships and grants, covering 25 percent of total college costs. You could even get a part-time job to show your parents you're doing your part.

6. Paint a picture of your future family.
Tell your parents that college is your big chance to meet a spouse who will support you and take you off their hands. Plus, this blissful marriage will produce grandchildren who will adore their grandparents. Everyone's a sucker for grandkids.

give blood
7. Appeal to their sense of compassion.
Let your parents know that if they don't pay, you'll be forced to donate blood cells and bone marrow as often as possible to scrounge up cash for college. If they're willing to sacrifice your health for their wealth, that's their choice... (Insert dewy-eyed half-smile here.)

study hard
8. Prove yourself.
Study hard now to show your parents you're serious about your education and it won't be a waste of their money. Remind them that you are a worthwhile investment.

9. Remind them of their pending senior citizen status.
Warm up the 'rents with a glimpse into their future - with a college education paving your way to a good job, you'll be in a position to take good care of them in their golden years. Otherwise, you can't vouch for where they'll end up in their old age.