Can I Honestly Afford This College?
Everywhere I turn I hear parents of graduating seniors asking for tips on how to save money on college costs. Of course, price is an important factor in making the decision of which college to attend and we all want to get more for our money. But some of what I hear is reaching the level of the ridiculous. My advice, “Stop looking for tips and tricks!” Ask yourself a difficult question: “Can I honestly afford this college?” Make sure you really understand the details of the package you’ve been offered—most financial aid offices are happy to explain their offers. They are also happy to entertain questions about your package. They want to help you, but they aren’t there to play “Let’s Make A Deal.” You are buying a college education not wheeling and dealing on the used car lot. You can ask if one school is able to meet what was offered by another institution, but don’t expect the financial aid office to negotiate. Hopefully you considered cost as one factor when you submitted applications last fall. I value education as much or more than most, but I can’t advise any young person to go $200K in debt for a private school education when they could get their degree from a local university for a fraction of the cost. I also have some friends who would like to be at home with their babies, but are forced to stay at their full time jobs because their loans from undergraduate and graduate school are so large. Think carefully: Will you have money for food, books, and travel? If you can barely cover the cost now, what will happen when tuition goes up and your one-time scholarships are gone? What will your monthly student loan payment be on graduation? Don’t financially overcommit yourself now – make sure you can actually afford your dream college.]]>