Preparing for College
Pursuing a college education is something that can be a life-changing endeavor — a brand new chapter in your life. Higher education sets you up for your future, and the statistics echo that, with college graduates being over 70 percent more likely to be employed full-time. Every year, over 2.3 million people obtain college degrees and over one-third of the US population older than 25 have received a college degree or higher.
Being ready for college is not as easy as it sounds. You can’t just leave school and walk into the nearest college. Less than 70 percent of the 3.2 million high school graduates in 2018 continued their education in college immediately. For some, that might be because they don’t have the money to pay for the college education they desire.
Saving for college takes years and college costs are rising annually. In the past 3 decades, public college tuition went up by $6,870 and even higher costs are associated with private college tuition. If you wanted to attend a private institution, you’d have to pay $18,820 more than 30 years ago.
Michael Norton, Senior Vice President of David Lerner Associates says, “Saving for college is not just about setting money aside each month in a savings account. Saving and hoping you’ll be able to afford the college bills by the time your kids get to the age they leave high school is not the way to go. You need to set goals as well as accounting for inflation and possible future scenarios.”
There are many things that go into preparing for college — it’s not as simple as just setting the money aside for tuition. There are also ancillary costs, like materials, room and board, and so on. For instance, a lot of college education is technology-based these days, so unless your kids already have laptops and any other needed tech gadgets, you can add that to the list of costs.
Research shows that students are expected to use computers or other electronic devices for day-to-day classwork, assignments, and online readings in the modern college of today. Piles of books have been replaced largely by technology-based solutions.
The benefit is obviously a lesser impact on the environment with less paper and ink, and not having to lug around backpacks weighed down with a ton of books, but the downside to this is that problems with technology can affect students' academic performance.
Preparing for college also means getting mentally prepared for the jump from high school to a bigger world and more pressure. As a parent, part of your job is making sure your kids have what they need when they leave the nest. Technology, as well as clothing, sporting equipment, dorm fixings, food, transport costs, rental or student accommodations — all the living expenses and things that they need, can add up very quickly.
It would be wise to sit down and budget out everything that could come up as an expense and get a handle on exactly what the costs will be. Prepare for college now, so that you and your family are prepared for what is to come.
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