When we started worked with hundreds of families as a college selection service, the conversations about college were rather predictable, centering around three main questions:
What is the best school for our child?
What should she major in to get the best career?
How can he get accepted at the best schools?
What these questions neglected to address were the growing role that finances play in a student's - and family's - college experience. Most often families will choose which school to attend and then figure out how to pay for it. However - once assumed to be a great investment - college has come under scrutiny in the last few years, not only for the exponential price increase, but for a seeming inability to prepare its graduates for the workplace.
Did you know:
Only 59% of students who begin college at a 4-year institution this year will graduate?
Colleges are given six years (not four!) to report the previous statistic?
The average student changes his or her major three times?
The average student loan burden on college grads is more than $28,000?
Student loan debt is the only debt that cannot be dissolved in bankruptcy?
38% of college graduates are working in jobs that require only a high school diploma?
The "elephant in the room" reared its ugly, expensive head in August 2016 when the Consumer Reports cover story on college debt read simply: "Going to College Basically Ruined My Life."
With these statistics - and our own experiences as a college students - in mind, as Certified College Funding Specialists we now ask parents these types of questions:
What’s your plan for paying for college for your children?
What impact will financing your child's education have on your retirement goals?
Do your child want to graduate from college debt-free?
How important is the price of college in determining which school to attend?
Does the tuition at your child's preferred colleges make sense considering her career salary projections?
What is the cheapest, fastest way to start the career your child has chosen?
With questions like these as the starting point for a college search or a college financial success plan, families are equipped and empowered to make great decisions for everyone - the student, younger children, and the parents - both for the duration of college and for the long-term.