Not many babies grow up to be Cowboys, or Cowgirls these days, but the sage advice of Willie Nelson should still be heeded, albeit in different context.
I met a student and mom last week who were obviously on completely different pages. The rising high school senior told me her mom was here “to talk about financial aid and paying for college,” but that she, the student was only interested in learning how to get into a particular school.
That sounded like a conversation one might have heard 20 years ago, and not blinked twice about it.
With the cost of college having risen more than 100% in just the past ten years, it is just not smart to approach the college search without integrating the financial and academic conversation.
A story on NPR about a student having to transfer and move across the country from a program she loved to one that cost a third of what she was paying, is one we expect to hear more of each year.
The Money Talk
Mom, Dad, and Student, or whoever the appropriate parties are, need to have the “Money Talk” conversation before a potential list of nightmare, uh, I mean “dream” schools (that don’t offer enough aid) is conceived.
Parents and Students need to be educated on
- What is the EFC?
- What can we afford, based on our current resources?
- How the two (yes, 2!!) financial aid formulas work
- How to come up with a customized college funding plan
- How to use Net Price Calculators and what to believe
For those who can afford to pay out of pocket, this is a non-issue.
However, those folks are few and far between.
One way to make sure this plan is in place before junior year in high school is to take a spin on our membership site. With families dealing with both elder care and college at the same time, having a solid plan in place for how much to help fund the college years is essential.