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College Talk Blog

Got college costs handled? Your kids think so

It may come as a surprise to some parents, but most of their kids think they have college costs handled.  The evidence that leads them to this conclusion is that:
a) parents usually figure out how to pay for what they need and
b) parents tell them they need to go to college.
But college costs more than a class ring or a used car. College tuition is more like the cost of a house.  Parents are uneasy at this time of year and most feel that they have college costs anything but handled. Parents are struggling to understand financial aid, whether they will get any, and the actual cost of college.
The good news is that parents and students have choices that can lower costs:
  • Apply to both public and private colleges that will meet your needs and include  scholarship and financial aid offers in your decision about which school is offering the best deal
  • If you are considering a military career, look in to military academies or ROTC at the colleges your are considering
  • Look into opportunities to work to help meet tuition costs at collegesyou are considering
  • Look into opportunities to graduate early and save money on tuition at colleges you are considering
  • Choose a lower tuition/lower room and board college that offers a solid education and otherwise meets your needs
  • Choose a lower cost local four-year college and live at home to avoid dorm costs
  • Choose the lowest tuition choice at community colleges for the first two years and transfer to a local four year college for the last two years of college and still avoid dorm costs
  • Consider attending college on a part time basis and working part time while in college
  • Begin looking for scholarships and other resources early
  • Consult a certified financial planner early who is also certified in college financial planning about things families can do financially to prepare for college
Parents are not obligated to empty their retirement accounts to pay for college nor should they do so.  But parents should speak with their children early about what support they can reasonably provide in relation to what college actually costs. This early warning should be followed by discussions about college choices and meaningful assistance from parents in finding scholarship opportunities and completing applications. 
The best thing that parents can do for their children regarding college is to start discussing college while children are very young so that later discussions about choices in relation to cost are not a surprise.

1 Comment to Got college costs handled? Your kids think so:

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Associate Degree Business on Friday, February 15, 2013 9:54 AM
Hello There! I love reading your blog; I’ve been here several times and wanted to express my gratitude towards your efforts.
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