College Costs and the Economy
The 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.
The school would rather see students move home and use the cost savings to apply to their continued schooling (versus risking the chance that the student may have to drop out if finances became too tight). Since many local students live on campus (as is strongly recommended by the university for freshmen), they do have the option to commute, if they so choose.
We discussed this option with Jake as one of our potential alternatives. While we all would like to see him stay on campus for the full year, if it means having more dollars available for next year’s tuition (in a tight economy), it is something that needs to be seriously considered. We are hopeful that Jake’s tuition merit scholarship will continue to be available to him; however, these state cuts could impact this area as well.
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.
Additionally, 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.
Understanding College Costs
- Breaking down college costs by semester
- College Costs and the Recession
- College Decision-Making and Financial Considerations
- Cost of attendance, i.e. What is college really going to cost?
- Creating a personal budget
- Deciding on a College and the Importance of Cost
- Difficult Times for College Families
- EFC stands for¦? Know your acronyms.
- Paying for College: The Deer-in-the-Headlights, Head-in-the-Sand Approach
- Reviewing the Finances of a College Education
- The biggest student financial fear? Having to pay it all back.
- The Killer Cost of Textbooks, and Ways to Survive
- The second year costs
- The Summer Job Search
- What college costs should I consider outside of the COA?
- What Does College Really Cost?
- When Mother Nature Changes Your Finances
Saving for College
- Alternative ways to pay for college
- Are student loans an inevitable part of the college experience?
- Financial Aid Articles
- Financial Considerations - Where is the Money Going to Come From?
- Financial planning for college
- Financial stresses & College on the Cheap
- If the parents are divorced, who should serve as the custodial parent?
- Making College Affordable | Understanding College Budgeting and Expenses
- OK, My Kid was Accepted - Now, How Do I Pay For It?
- Preparing For Your Tuition Bill
- Reflecting on how we prepared for college costs
- Saving for College
- Saving for College: Calm and Cool for 17 years, then Panic in the Home Stretch
- Savings and Student Loans | Information for Parents
- Teaching Your College-Bound Teenager Financial Responsibility
- Tips for Parents: Saving, Paying and Borrowing for Your Child's College Education
- Top myths and mistakes in paying for college
- What is a 529 Plan?
- What is a Coverdell ESA?
- When should I start planning for college funding?
Tuition and Bills
- Alternative ways to pay for college
- College Dorm Room Expenses
- Communication with the Financial Aid Office
- Comparing College Costs
- Control your freshman spending & you'll thank us later.
- Does student income affect financial aid? It could, so be prepared.
- Easing the Pain with Tuition Payment Plans
- FERPA and Your Tuition Bill
- First Semester Finances
- Housing Options for College Students
- Involving Your College Student in Paying for College
- Room and Board Advice
- Second Semester Payment Blues
- Second Semester Tuition Bills
- Spending Money on Visiting Your College Student
- Students confide their biggest mistakes. Ah, regret.
- The cost of textbooks
- The Extra Expensive First Month of College
- The Final Official Bill of College Costs
- The Hidden Costs of College Before They Even Leave
- Using Credit Cards to Pay for College
- Using the College Parent Network
- What's the best way to get your textbooks?
- Where is the Money?
Financial Decisions in College
- A Two Month Perspective on Empty-Nesting
- Buying the College Computer
- College Finances - Balance & Budgets
- College Study Abroad Costs
- College Summer Blues
- Deciding to Double Major
- Earning Big Bucks to Pay Big Bucks for College
- End of semester financial tips
- Financial Responsibility in College
- Gas Hike Means Accounting for Yet Another College Cost
- How a Divorce Might Affect a College Kid
- Lessons About Paying College Bills
- On-Campus Jobs Help Financially and Socially
- Paying for Study Abroad Programs
- Planning to Study Abroad
- Preparing for next semester finances
- Shopping and saving in college
- Strategies for College Families
- Studying Abroad: Passports, Transportation and Housing
- The College Student's Part-Time Job
- Two Kids, Two Tuition Bills
- We all make mistakes. What purchase do you regret?
- What We Learned From College Student #1, We Hope Will Benefit College Student #2
- Work-study Kind of a Misnomer
- Work-study vs. Part-time
- Working Hard for that Extra College Money
Credit Advice for Students
- Building Good Credit for College Students and Recent Graduates
- Credit Card Debt Management for College Students
- Financial Literacy for College Students
- Give Yourself a Financial Check-Up Once a Year
- Practical tips for building good credit
- The Financially Savvy Student
- Tips on Managing Your Credit Score
- What is a Credit Report?
Paying for the Second Year
- Are you keeping track of how much you borrow?
- College Costs Keep Rising
- College Tax Benefit News
- Deciding to Transfer Colleges
- Paying for the Second Year of College?
- Preparing College Finances
- Separation Causes Emotional and Financial Worries
- The End of Freshman Year
- Tightening College Finances
- Why you should pay off lingering student account balances
Paying for Grad School
- A Financial Aid Countdown for Graduate School
- Choose the right student loans, pay back less
- Financial aid advice for adult students
- Financial Aid Options for Graduate School
- Getting into Graduate School
Other College Finance Topics