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Every year I do college planning workshops for parents of college bound high school students. These workshops are held at local high schools and parents often contact me afterwards for an overview of their situation. Often, I can help them make more well-informed decisions about how to pay for college and educate them how their college goals affect retirement.
One of my strongest recommendations is to be careful about the school your student chooses to attend. How much you pay for college ultimately comes down to the school your student chooses to attend.
A while back I met with Jennifer and her husband, Michael, to discuss their situation. Earlier this fall Jen sent me the email below. Jen and Mike’s son is exceptional. Their story isn’t necessarily a reflection of what you might experience when shopping for colleges. However, it’s a great example of how one family was able to leverage their student’s unique talents to their advantage.
After the email, I share some of the key takeaways below.
Names and other identifying information have been changed, and I edited the email for length.
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It’s that time of year…. March Madness! Time to get your game on sports fans!
At least, that’s what I have heard.
Truth is, I know next to nothing about men’s college basketball. In fact, I probably couldn’t even name four of the 68 men’s college basketball teams participating in the tournament, much less try to predict which teams will make the Final Four.
Apparently, however, it’s a thing.
According to the American Gaming Association, over 40 million Americans will test their sanity as they fill out their brackets and place their bets as to who will win the coveted NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Over $10 billion in bets will be placed on this year’s event before the month is over. Odds of completing a perfect bracket (whatever that means): 1 in 9.2 quintillion. Good luck.
Something I do know. College tuition is insanely expensive.
If you have kids going to college next fall, the real madness begins when you get your college admissions letters and schools tell you how much you will need to fork over to attend their school.
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The price of a college education has never been higher. According to the College Board, the average private college now costs over $34,000 per year. And that’s just for tuition and fees. Throw in room and board, books, and other expenses for four years and the total cost could exceed $250,000 by the time your future scholar walks across the graduation stage.
To complicate things, every school is different. Prices vary. Scholarship opportunities and financial aid vary as well. As I have said before, financial aid varies from school to school, family to family, and even student to student within the same family.
Even if you don’t believe you will qualify for any financial aid, you will want to use this nifty calculator to get an estimate of what you can expect to pay at the specific schools your student is considering.
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The MN Lynx recently won their fourth WNBA title. Way to go ladies! No doubt, most of these talented athletes played basketball in college. I am sure quite a few of them also received scholarship money, maybe even so-called “full rides”, to play their sport at the college level and help fund their education.
If you are the parent of a young student-athlete you may be wondering if your child could qualify for an athletic scholarship to help pay for college.
In the free guide, My Favorite College Planning Tools and Resources, which can be downloaded from my website, I share several of my best resources for parents who want to pay less for their kids’ college education. One of my favorites is Scholarshipstats.com
My kids started back to school on September 5th, the day after Labor Day. For our family, the day after Labor Day marks a major shift in our calendar – and our thinking! After a long, fun summer filled with vacations, church camps and time spent with friends and family, it’s back to work, back to school, back to the regular routine. (And some would say, “not a moment too soon.”)
If any of your kids are starting their senior year in high school this year, you need to add, “it’s back to college planning” to that list. With the college financial aid deadlines looming, you need to act fast if you want to get your kids into a school that is not only a good academic fit, but one that is a good financial fit as well.