The True Costs of College Planning – Luanne Lee

college planning loudoun woman magazineThere are many myths and misconceptions about what it’s going to take to fully fund college. Most parents recognize that it could be expensive,  but they are largely  unaware of the frequency of success in pursuing a degree.  For example, according to a study completed in 2008 by the US Department of Education, approximately 57% of students who enroll in a 4 year college actually attain their undergraduate degree. What’s more surprising to many, is that in order to get that statistic up to 57%, we have to wait for 6 years. The percentage of students graduating in 4 years is eye opening. According to the study, the national graduation rate at public colleges is only 29%. At private colleges, the number of students graduating in 4 years is 51%. Only when you take into consideration how long it may take to graduate, can you really begin to understand which schools may be more or less expensive than the others.

Another concerning  factor about the expense of college, is that most parents look only at the cost of tuition for 1 year. They forget about Room and Board, Books, Fees, Transportation, Miscellaneous Expenses, and Inflation at 5-7% annually! As a result, they vastly underestimate the total cost of attendance. The only way a family can properly plan for the eventual cost of college, is first to understand how long it might take and second, to understand all the elements of cost.

The reality for most families, they’ll need help in fully funding college. Again, they often confuse Financial Aid with money that does not need to be repaid. The reality is that the largest single element of what is called Financial Aid comes in the form of loans.

We are in the business of helping families through the major life transition of sending their children through college in the most efficient manner possible. For many, it will be the most expensive time of their lives and, if not handled properly could jeopardize their retirement or cripple their children with unnecessary student loan debt. We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops or come in for a free strategy session. Remember, you shouldn’t have to choose between your child’s college and your retirement.

By Luanne Lee, CCPRS


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