The root cause of the struggles of funding college is exemplified In the article “Last-minute tips for paying for college” by Jessica Dickler. Her article is based on tips from two financial advisors – Richard Polimeni from Merrill Lynch and Liz Miller of Summit Place Financial Advisors, along with Joe DePaulo of College Ave Student Loans and Eric Greenberg of Greenberg Educational Group. From these so-called “Pros” she put together five tips on how to put together a successful college funding strategy – even at the 11th hour. One would think that these “tips” are provided as “it’s not too late to come up with a few last-minute strategies to ease the burden of the sky-high cost of college.” Let’s look briefly at each one and provide a bit of context respectively. (Click to view the article.)
1) Fill out a FAFSA – “Cobbling together”
Her point of filling out the FAFSA as a gateway to aid and scholarships for the next semester is absolutely true. Federal student loan funding will be available next semester for your student. There is the interesting phrase “you can cobble together a bunch of these”; this seems to indicate that there is no need to have an over-arching college funding strategy. This “cobbling together” often leads parents and students signing their name on any accessible funding source without understanding the consequences. In my experience, “cobbling together” is not a valid way towards creating a successful college funding strategy.
2) Take out a Loan – Really?
The first rule of thumb, which seems to be missed in this article, is that loans MUST be paid back. The second rule is that is missed: you sign it, it is yours. The thought process to Continue reading
In every family there comes a time when the child needs to decide which college (post-high school path) to attend. This “college decision” does not take place in a vacuum. The place where this decision is most often made is “around the kitchen table”. At that time, there are no school counselors available. There are no “college-coaches” around. The recruiters from the colleges are absent as well. This decision is made by the student and their parents. It will be based primarily on two factors Their College Acceptance Letters along with the available financial means.
The quality of the college decision varies from household to household. The current statistics show that the quality is not too good. Roughly 40% of students starting at a four-year college will leave that college without a degree within their first six year. At two years colleges, about two-thirds do not earn an associate’s degree or a certificate within the first three years of studies. I often think parents feel these statistics are “far away” – they happenContinue reading
Deciding which college to attend is a big deal in most families. As parents, we often want to leave the college-decision up to our child. This sounds all find and good. The same holds true for the pre-college process. For the most part, we expect our children make the best choices leading up to the college decision.
However, when we realize that only about half the students starting four-year colleges will finish with a Bachelor’s Degree within six years, at two-year colleges, only about a third of the students finish with an Associate’s Degree (or Certificate) within three years of studies, we might want to reconsider this approach. If the poor graduation rates are not enough to raise a yellow flag, just look around at how the $1.4 trillion student debt is impacting families and friends.
While we understand the desire for parents to have the child make the decision, we want to express our reservations of having kids lead the college preparation process. I think most us parents, looking back, Continue reading
College is expensive. Most families just don’t realize how expensive it can become. Making college affordable for each of your children begins with avoiding misconceptions. Part of the problem is that many parents believe the following three college preparation myths.
“My child is only in 7th grade; we can start thinking about college preparation in a couple of years.” The first myth is the belief that the college decision will work out just as well when we start “next year” as opposed to starting today.
Time is a very valuable asset in the college preparation process. Many of the individual processes required for a quality college decision – such as career selection – take both and time guidance to maturate. Continue reading