BOSTON (CBS) - Who should pay for college? I wish I had a definitive answer!
According to a Fidelity and MEFA's College Savings Study they found that Massachusetts parents are planning to cover 60% of their children's college education costs, and they also expect their kids to cover the rest on their own – through their personal savings, working part time, and taking on student loans.
The Study found that families are on track to meet just 36% of their college savings goals though! And only 30% of parents have actually talked to their kids about the cost of an education!
I believe that kids should be responsible for some of the cost of college. It is very expensive to send a kid to college today and many of the kids I spoke with expect someone else to pay for it. Kids should have jobs and be expected to contribute to their college costs.
College today costs too much money! I found that almost 40% of graduates are struggling to pay back their loans. My niece has 3 loans for a graduate degree with an average interest rate of almost 7% and a $1,500 a month bill. Mortgage rates are cheaper!
I do believe an education is a very good investment! That investment could be worth over a million dollars to the student. That's the average pay difference over a working career between having a high school diploma compared to a college degree.
One of the criteria for selecting a college should be its affordability. These are conversations that should take place during the high school years.
Start meeting with the guidance counselor as soon as she will let you in door. Start researching schools and costs as soon as the kiddo takes the PSATs in their junior year. Let them do this research. They need to realize how much this is going to cost the family. It is their education and they need some ownership of it.
There is a website, Payscale.com, which has taken the value of a college education one step further. It has figured the ROI, the return on your college education investment into dollars. Worth taking a look at.
One more thing: We have great state schools and community colleges here in Massachusetts. Two years in a community college and then a transfer to UMASS is a workable and affordable plan. The degree earned will be from UMASS.
Check out US News & World Report's College Rankings. Lots of good information on schools. Look for schools that give out the most financial aid in the form of grants. Five of the top ten liberal arts colleges are right here in New England, 3 in Massachusetts.
Check out the Princeton Review's list for the Best Value colleges.
You can hear Dee Lee's expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m. and 3:55 p.m.
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