College Costs and the Economy

college costsThe recent financial crisis has played out all over the world – and in our home as well. Fortunately, our jobs have not been affected at this point; however, concerns over the availability of future college funds, the increasing tuition costs, and the impacts of state budget cuts on universities and colleges are playing a role in our plans.

The financial events of the past few months along with a declining economy have a lot of us re-thinking our spending and strategizing for the coming months. In October, our family sat down to discuss how these turn of events may affect areas of our lives. While we’re taking a “wait and see” approach on Jake’s college arrangements, we did discuss potential alternatives should the economy worsen, deeper state budget cuts occur, and other unknown factors surface. We need to think ahead to ensure that we are making smart decisions now about these future possibilities.

Financial Aid

We should have more answers in December when budgets are finalized. In the meantime, the university has announced a 10% tuition increase for next year, and with cuts to faculty and staff, some lecture classes may increase in size to 500+ students.

Although Jake continues to work at the restaurant to cover his car insurance and entertainment costs, restaurants are also feeling the economic pinch, and that equates to less hours and smaller paychecks.

young college studentAdditionally, our youngest son (Mike) will graduate high school this year and start college next year, so this increases our concerns for being able to finance both of them in college. Mike has been looking for a job to work afternoons following his classes at high school, but he has had no luck yet. Even the typical teen jobs of working at fast food restaurants are hard to find.

It is our hope that Jake continues to receive his tuition merit scholarship next year. He and a few buddies are already planning to share a place to rent (which will be cheaper than the $12,000 room and board for this year). We are not planning on taking out another loan (like we did this year – a private student loan and an unsubsidized loan). Between Jake’s job and our contribution to his expenses, we hope that a loan will be avoidable. We will no doubt need to look at financial assistance for his brother.

Mike is planning to major in video game design and programming. The cost of the 3-year program at one of the area’s private technical schools is $67,000. While Mike loved the school, he also understands the realities of the cost, so we continue to explore other schools currently, including the cost-effective community college.

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Understanding College Costs

Saving for College

Tuition and Bills

Financial Decisions in College

Credit Advice for Students

Paying for the Second Year

Paying for Grad School

Other College Finance Topics