For this small town girl, getting away to college, experiencing life on my own, living in the dorms, learning self discipline, all while getting a great education to catapult me into life, was the way to go. The experience was so magical and amazing I think any and every kid needs to experience it.
The cost of my education at a private college was $8,000 a year to live on campus. I lived on campus for just 2 years, so the last 2 years were much cheaper. The cost of education at that same school 20 years later, $35,000.
That’s fine you say, they have scholarships, loans, grants, loans, work study and of course loans. Well, here’s the news. You know all those unclaimed scholarships of the the 90’s and and early 2000’s? Well, with the cost of education going up, they are no longer unclaimed. Even if you work harder and do only the essay ones, also all claimed.
My daughter has applied for over 100 scholarships and hasn’t received one. As a matter of fact, on one of them in the email stating that she had not received the scholarship, it also stated she was one in 400,000 that had applied for that scholarship. (also keep in mind she is applying for anything from $10-$5000)
So where does that leave the parents and the kids?
Good question. If you have the answer, please post it here!!!! I’m not kidding.
There are options. My daughter applied to 3 schools, all private (we will get to the public in a minute). Each financial package was nearly the same. If you make over $40,000 or $50,000 a year you are considered able to pay for your child’s education. But they do help you “pay” for it.
Each package we received had a loan for the student, and 2 loans the parents can take out and the final amount that you can then “afford” to pay after all the loans.
I called the schools and I started asking this question. How are kids paying for college? Not the poor kids or the rich kids, but the middle class Americans? Here is what I have heard ::
- Parents are mortgaging their houses
- Some want the experience so bad they are just taking out loans and will deal with it later.
Sorry while I pick my jaw up off the ground……hearing it once was bad enough, writing it out for all to see, makes me cringe all over again.
As parents we want the best for our kids and we never want them to miss out. EVER! We hate to say no, sometimes we don’t know how to say no.
My daughter agreed to take out some loans and put cash down so she could go. Even with her very small contribution, she would still come out with $20,000 in debt. I said to her, “We are not going to deal with it later, we are going to deal with it RIGHT now!”
It’s hard to convince an 18 year old that they don’t want that much in loans after graduation. If I don’t educate my daughter on the issue, no one will, because the schools clearly said “they do what they can to get in, they deal with it later.”
Let’s look at the state schools around here. Each of them are about $25,000 a year. After what the private schools offered us, it would have only been $5000 a year savings to do public. Still a lot to pay.
I’ve been hearing that the next big bubble to burst is going to be the school loan bubble. Education is so expensive that students are taking out astronomical loans. The rates are horribly high, there are origination fees on some of them and even if you ever file for bankruptcy years down the road, these loans never go away. You have to pay them. If you can’t and you defer, they grow, but just because you aren’t paying doesn’t mean the interest stops accruing. Kids graduate,they can’t find jobs and they are locked into a life of debt. Some loans you can take up to 25 years to pay off, that’s probably because some of the lending institutions allow you to take up to $275,000 in loans.
I wanted my daughter to experience college the way I did. I pushed hard for it and in the end it’s not the wisest thing we can do as a family or to our child.
Instead for her first year she is going to do community college. (I still cringe when I say that.) I know community college is not bad and it’s just the Gen Eds she is getting out of the way, but I just never thought she would have to do school that way. But better to be wise now than over our heads in debt later.
UPDATE :: Just found we can send our daughter to a local community college for free if she has a 3.5 GPA or better.
So the question comes to this:: Are we doing our kids a disservice by letting them go to college? That question mostly goes out to the parents that can’t pay, yet let their kids go anyways.