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Money Matters – Saving For College: Who Should Pay For College?

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420x316-grad-lee Dee Lee
Dee Lee is a Certified Financial Planner who received a diploma in...
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BOSTON (CBS) – SAT exams are scheduled for this Saturday.

[Audio http://cbsboston.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/november-1-2010-money-matters.mp3%5D

And of the 1.5 million kids who take these tests in their junior year approximately 8,000 qualify for a merit scholarship. So if your kiddo is not acing the SATs with 800 scores how do you plan to pay for college?

And who should pay? Mom and Dad? The kids? Combination? Where should the kiddo go to school? Highschool seniors and their families are struggling with these issues right now.

Harvard’s tuition for this year is $34,976 (33,700) up almost $1,300 from last year and the room and board is $12,300. And then you add in all of those extras like fees, books, a computer, midnight pizza runs, travel and the current school year could cost over $55,000. You can figure on a $240,000 price tag for four years.

Tuition at UMass for this year is almost $12,000 ($11, 732).  Room and board another $8,800. Don’t forget the fees, health care, books, transportation and the cell phone, a new computer and new clothes. With inflation factored in the price tag for four years could be over $90,000.

The average private college education price tag is not quite double that coming in at around $150,000 for four years.

I do believe an education is a good investment! That investment could be worth over a $1 million dollars to the kiddo. That’s the average pay difference over a working career between having a high school diploma compared to a college degree. But the investment is in the kid so they should be part of the planning and the paying.

If you don’t have the big bucks to send the kid to a private college this should be on the table long before applications are being filled out. Talking about what you can afford should begin when they reach middle school.

Kids need to be a part of this process. They can easily be responsible for their spending money, clothes, entertainment, books and some of the fees depending on the job they have. And they should have a job over the summer to earn money for school.

Hanging out at the beach or the pool, playing video games during the day is not how they should be spending their summer vacation. I know we want our kids to be kids as long as they can, but they want the adult privileges like driving at 16 so they should go to work to pay for those privileges.

One more thing: If a kid is really bright and wants to go to Harvard there may be enough aid offered to make it cheaper than sending the kid to a state college.

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