It’s that time of year again. Students are returning to college and although it’s an exciting period, it can be worrisome for some parents intent on paying for their children’s education.
Their anxiety is warranted.
The average college tuition cost has jumped in the 2021-2022 academic year across both public and private schools.
Public college students are expected to shell out about $10,388 for the 2021-2022 year compared with $38,185 at private colleges. The average cost for out-of-state students at public colleges costs about $22,698.
Although the value of college has dramatically shifted among parents and students, economists still say a degree is worth the effort compared to going without.
Data shows that the average college graduate makes $570,000 more than the average high school graduate over their lives. Earnings for college graduates are 71% to 136% higher than those with just a high school diploma.
For those parents who are aiming to see their children cross the stage, here are a few expert tips they should keep in mind before their students head off to campus.
Take time to complete the FAFSA form as soon as you can
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is imperative for any measures taken to secure any grants or loans. In an interview with Nerd Wallet, Ben Miller, senior director of post-secondary education at the Center for American Progress, he said this should be completed even if the parent doesn’t expect any eligibility of receiving financial aid. It still qualifies the student for work-study opportunities, which is a great way for them to earn supplemental income.
During the college application process, it’s important to assess how much it will take to make your student’s dream of attending that school happen. Utilizng a student loan calculator to get a clear picture of how much is owed per month after graduating, or if out-of-pocket tuition payments are being, how that would affect your household.
In an interview with Forbes, Michelle Singletary, personal finance columnist at The Washington Post shared that parents should be realistic in their planning.
“Hope is not a plan,” Singletary said. “And as smart and bright as you think your kid is, the likelihood of them getting a full ride is just not there.”
It’s important to staying open to change, particularly in a time of economic uncertainty. Jean Chatzky, CEO of HerMoney.com explained during a Forbes panel discussion in 2020 that shifting student’s college plan—taking a gap year, or attending to a community college for the first few years—should be open for discussion if it makes sense in the long term.
“We have to pay attention to what our college is requiring of us, what the temperament of our student is, what they’re studying, what progression their courses are taking and how all of this is going to play together,” she said.