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Money Matters – Price Of Admission: 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) – Who should pay for college? That’s a fair question?

The student is going to benefit so should they pay for college? Should the step-parent be expected to contribute simply because he/she is living in the household? I don’t have definitive answers!

But I do have an opinion and that is that kids should be responsible for some of the cost of college. It is very expensive to send a kid to college today and I am afraid kids just expect someone else to pay for it.

I do believe an education is a very good investment! That investment could be worth over a $1 million dollars to the student. 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.

Kids need to be a part of this process. They should 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. I know it’s hard for them right now to find work.

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

One of the criteria for selecting a college should be its affordability. These are conversations that should take place before the kid gets out of middle school.

Start meeting with the guidance counselor as soon as she will let you in door. Start researching schools and costs as soon as the kiddo takes the PSATs in their junior year. Let them do this research. They need to realize how much this is going to cost the family. It is their education and they need some ownership of it.

We have great state schools and community colleges here in Massachusetts. Two years in a community college and then a transfer to UMASS is a very workable plan. Their degree will be from UMASS.

Check out US News & World Report’s College Rankings article. Lots of good information on schools. Look for schools that give out the most financial aid in the form of grants. Five of the top six liberal arts colleges are right here in New England, 4 in Massachusetts.

Check out the Princeton Review’s list of the 100 Best Value colleges. The schools included on the list are where parents and the students will get the most bang for their buck. Some of the schools listed offer large grants. Swarthmore located near Philadelphia offers on average a $34,000 grant to offset annual costs of $52,000

Other good deals that I found are Cooper Union in New York City. A student’s acceptance includes free tuition, which is worth $35,000 this year.

There is Olin College of Engineering in Needham, MA, which once offered free tuition but now has a new tuition scholarship worth $18,000 a year to every accepted student.

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