With the rising cost of tuition, it is important to plan for college and other higher education expenses. From textbooks to room and board, the costs can add up quickly. It is never too early to start saving for your student’s future. Fortunately, there are financial aid opportunities available for students interested in pursuing education after high school.

To help pay for expenses associated with additional schooling, parents should consider investing in a College Choice 529 Direct Savings plan. It takes $10 to start an account online, and future contributions can be as low as $10. Parents, grandparents, family and friends can all give to the plan and help build a strong investment. These plans can be contributed to year-round, and come with tax benefits, flexible investment options and complete control over assets.

Students can use the funds at nearly any two- or four-year college nationwide and pay for tuition, computers, textbooks and other qualified expenses. A College Choice 529 Direct Savings plan can be a unique gift for a student in your life. Visit collegechoicedirect.com to learn more.

The 21st Century Scholarship is another great opportunity for young Hoosiers to pay for college and achieve their career goals. This scholarship provides up to four years of undergraduate tuition at public colleges or universities in Indiana. Applicants must meet certain income eligibility guidelines, maintain a 2.5 grade-point average and pledge not to use illegal drugs, consume alcohol or commit any crimes.

Parents must submit an application by June 30 of a student’s seventh- or eighth-grade year to qualify. This scholarship program also provides helpful resources throughout the college application and selection process, and many colleges and universities have dedicated on-campus support for 21st Century Scholars. Visit scholars.in.gov to apply.

Planning for higher education expenses is an important step for students interested in attending college or a technical school. A small investment today can make a big difference in the future. Do not forget the June 30 deadline for the 21st Century Scholarship. If I am able to be of assistance, please contact me at 317-234-9450 or h67@iga.in.gov.

State Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) represents Ohio, Ripley and Switzerland counties, as well as portions of Decatur, Jennings, Jefferson and Dearborn counties.