When Mitch Daniels (former Indiana Governor) took over as President of Purdue University in 2013, the school had increased tuition 36 years in a row. Since then, Purdue has not raised tuition once. By graduation day in 2020, Purdue will be able to boast the total cost of “going to Purdue will be less in 2020 than it was in 2012.”
If you’re planning to contribute to your children’s future earning potential (i.e. by paying for college), you are committing to a big expense. But you already know that.
Here’s a good gut-check question to kick off this discussion: how much research time did you put into your last purchase of an iPhone, a computer, or vehicle purchase? Now, compare those answers to how much time you put into researching the college decision for your children.
Is your child or grandchild familiar with the concept of a “Financial Safety School”? High school students know well the concept of a “safety school”: a college that is almost certainly going to accept them. There are also “reach” colleges where acceptance is far from guaranteed, and “target” colleges where acceptance is likely but not a sure thing.
A financial safety school is one where the costs are reasonable for the family.
When entering the “real world”, at least from a financial perspective, you will hear a lot of noise about the best way to handle your new responsibilities. You might hear things like:
- “Defer any student loans as long as possible.”
- “Make minimum payments or income-based payments.”
- “Don’t worry about student loans, everyone has them.”
Listen to me… BE WISE TO THE LIES!
Take a different viewpoint and attack that debt with ferocity.
Here are three quick ways to help teach your children the value of money:
1. Working hard equals earning money.
One potential problem is that children never grasp the concept that you have to earn money, and instead just rely on others to provide it to them. Set tasks for young children to do which earns them a paycheck. The older they get, the more formal the job can be until they are working regularly outside of the house by the time they are in high school. This will teach time management skills as well as show them how working equals money.
Somewhere along the way college became a taboo topic in most households. I’m not talking about the idea of attending college; rather I’m talking about the costs involved, whose responsibility it will be to pay for it, and the coordinating plan to go along with those intentions.
College planning is an on-going active conversation we need to have with our children.
8 Surprising Facts about College in America:
Taken from Beating the College Debt Trap, by Alex Chediak
1. “The United States has the highest college dropout rate in the industrialized world. While seven out of ten high school graduates go on to college, less than half of 25-34-year-olds (44 percent) have a college degree of any sort.”
2. “About three in ten students earn a bachelor’s degree with absolutely no debt.”
While it's easy to recognize that college costs are increasing at an alarming rate, we still must take the time to more deeply assess the problem at hand. While most parents and youths today have a basic understanding of exorbitant college costs, most of them are resigned to paying for college with vast amounts of debt.