As a financial aid professional in higher education for the last 27 years, I have seen tuition cost sore faster than the cost of living. I am now seeing 2 income parent families being challenged with assisting their children with paying for college using Federal PLUS loans to make up the difference and balancing their own goals of buying a house along with preparing for retirement. It can be quite daunting.
The latest statistics show that a four year college education on average will get a student result with students leaving school in debt with approximately $25,000.00 to $70,000 in student and parent loans. It depends on whether you attend a state or private institution.
So, it is critical that your son or daughter know what they want to do the rest of their life for a career. They need to get the facts on the amount of income that career will generate, what it takes to attain the education and where what institutions will provide the program.
Failing to understand what career they want to pursuit will only lead to floundering, moving in and out of degree programs in college and adding to the cost of the education.
One of the steps that you implement is to begin a discussion with your child about their career options and assessing what they like and dislike. This is much easier when you child is still young where you can use story books and visits to help them explore. It can be a lot more challenging with teenagers and young adults who have already been influenced by many external forces such as friends, social media, celebrities and others. But is not too late to help them. The key is to have the conversation and make it a weekly discussion of exploration.
With education cost so high and the lasting impact on debt repayment, failing to put together a plan to identify a career will only impact the end result of the total cost of getting the education. So, spend a little time planning.