Reviewing the finances of a college education

reviewing financesJust a few weeks ago, I read an article that explained if other products had risen in cost at the same rate as college tuition during the past few decades, a gallon of milk would now cost about $14.00. I like milk and all, but frankly, I could go without it. I cannot say the same for a college education for my children.

Our oldest son is now 18 and well into his senior year of high school. With many college tours completed during the last few years, his job now is completing the applications, essays and reference gathering for his top five choices.

Our job is to face the financial challenge of making his education a reality. I’m guessing my family story is shared by others: We are two working parents who have created a comfortable -not lavish- life and may be turned away from financial aid that is based on need. However, suggesting that an extra $20,000-40,000 lies somewhere in our annual income is laughable. Yes, we have saved for our kids, but with actual costs outlined, we now see college price tags will outweigh our efforts. So, along with many other parents of seniors, we watch the mailbox for news each day and enjoy seafood while we can.

Here’s what we are looking at in our son’s top colleges choices:

(While checking these costs, I ran across another PA state school that comes in at just $13,000 – and immediately added it to the application list by means of executive decision.)

To make matters just a bit hazier, my husband is an employee of that one private university in our hometown, with a benefit that offers our son paid tuition (should he get accepted.) Seems like a no-brainer, but I’m not so sure. Still looking at hefty room, board and ancillary expenses, other schools may end up a better deal…not to mention give him the chance to enjoy his education not just ten minutes from his parents.

Without a doubt we will be seeking education loans. And, without a doubt we will also be seeking student loans and any available scholarships for our son. We agree we don’t want him to graduate with a degree in debt, but we feel strongly that he should have a stake in this investment.

In the quickly approaching months, we will be reviewing our financial situation, considering our son’s goals, digging through every last morsel of assistance we can find – and then I’ll share it here.


Understanding College Costs