The Piggy Bank: College Talk
Discussion of which college is the right fit is often an emotional quest for the student and parents alike. There are so many options, liberal arts school, large research university, small school close to home—guidance counselors talk about finding a school that offers an atmosphere that fits the student and suits their academic pursuits. One aspect of selecting a college that can sometimes be overlooked or kept as more of an afterthought is, how will the costs be covered? Losing sight of the financial consequences of their decisions can leave families of college-bound students scrambling to figure out how they will pay for it all.
According to consumer reports, a four-year education at a state school- including tuition, fees, and room and board—costs an average of $80,360, today. For a private school, it is almost double. The article goes on to read, “financial aid and college financing experts consulted by Consumer Reports say that families often don’t pay enough attention to actual costs until they’re deep in the college admissions process”. So, when looking for a college, it should be a financial fit too, not just a good fit academically.
Parents and children should have a frank discussion about how much has been saved and can be covered by the parents. The parents need to ask their children to think about their goals and expectations then be realistic when it comes to shouldering future debt. By putting an action plan in place early, families can consider the options with rational and confident thinking. But how do you start having that conversation? Luckily Consumer Reports does not leave us in the dark on this; they provide a list of 10 questions to help start the conversation. To find this list of questions please visit their site here.
If you are looking for more information to share with your teen, we have some great information on how credit works; check out our Understanding Credit Guide. It’s available for free download here.