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Hoggirl

Flabbergasted by friends' lack of awareness of college costs - UPDATE in post #440

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I had dinner with some friends last night that I had not seen in a very long time. They had taken their daughter to visit Furman at some point in the past and "had no idea" what the cost was before they learned it in the information session on campus. At *that* point they told dd it wasn't workable. This AFTER a 13 hour drive, paying for gas, meals, and a hotel stay. All of that time, effort, and money could have been saved by a Google search. They won't qualify for need-based aid. I don't know all her academic stats, but I do know she has one D on her transcript, so I have to assume merit aid is rather unlikely. She may get to play volleyball somewhere, so that is an unknown, and I know NOTHING about availability of athletic scholarships at different levels of schools.

 

I just don't get it.

 

Judgey rant over.

 

ETA: They also had no awareness that dd could only borrow so much money without their co-signing.

Edited by Hoggirl
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I see this a lot along with the vague "scholarships" people assume will be coming their way. I think the research skills of the Hive are not the norm.

 

I toured a very small school with first ds. The tour guide said "we have about 1400 students". A stunned parent on the tour said "surely you mean 14,000 students?" Nope, 1400. This family continued the tour shocked, dismayed, and annoyed at the tiny school without a big food court, etc. Rolling their eyes at murmuring the whole time.

 

They were from out of state. What the heck were they doing there? Five minutes on the school website or a cursory glance at the College Board profile would have saved them the road trip. Most of these small liberal arts schools don't try to hide what they are.

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We see that all the time. People somehow think the HOPE Scholarship makes college free. It doesn’t. I share how much we paid for Georgia Tech with people because I think they should know. We never paid a dime of tuition, but it was still $16K a year. Could it have been done cheaper? Sure. But, not a lot cheaper.

 

My favorite question...didn’t he get a soccer scholarship? Umm...GT doesn’t have a soccer team. Alex wasn’t that good. (The bar for men’s soccer scholarships is incredibly high.) And, even of those two things weren’t true, he did t have time to play soccer and shot in mechanical engineering.

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I agree with the other posters. Dh and I see it all the time. We have decided to be completely transparent about our costs and the college search/recruiting process. It is always amazing that people start looking at schools without even once finding out how much it costs. And the idea that room and board costs about the same everywhere and is almost never covered by a full tuition scholarship (that's in the name, people) makes for some unpleasant senior year moments.

 

It is hard to bite my tongue. But we have certainly found that other people think that they can do everything better than the "homeschooling family with too many kids."

That's why I mostly say, Good luck and walk away.

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My brother who has three kids from pre-teen to teen brags about he is smart that he has fancy vacations with his kids. He doesn't want to regret not being with them when he can. His kids are his retirement plan, and that he and his wife will worry about college/university when the time comes and that his plan of live life to the fullest now is a good decision. No savings for either retirement or school. 

 

And I don't mean camping trips. I mean at least an out of country trip once a year, and a few other local ones throughout the year - such as long weekend skiing trip. 

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Yes, this is common.  Folks think college costs what it did in their day, or there will be scholarships (academic or athletic), or easy loans.  Many get a rude awakening late junior or in senior year.

 

One would think enough info is out there to help everyone understand the process and costs along with pros/cons of various colleges and routes.  It is out there, but they think they know about it already, so don't look.

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This really does seem to be the norm. If I had a dollar for every (financially secure) parent I met who said their kids could just pay their own way or they’ll figure it out later, I’d be a wealthy woman. As a milfamily we know soooooo many people with decent pay/benefits and zero savings who think one GI bill is going to cover 3+ kids. Nope.

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Clueless parents leads to clueless kids. Aside from all this, I also think a prospective college student should have ample knowledge of the parent’s financial situation well before the application process.

Edited by Dotwithaperiod
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One would think enough info is out there to help everyone understand the process and costs along with pros/cons of various colleges and routes. It is out there, but they think they know about it already, so don't look.

 

Quite a lot of misinformation are coming by the way of the school counselors. A friend was told her son can just check the minimum boxes of subjects because he wants to major in marine science (state parks, conservation, environmentalist) and the colleges he is interested in are not as highly selective as UCB, UCLA. So two lab science with no science for the rest of the four years, two years of Latin with no other language for the rest of four years. She is staying in a neighboring city and my city has plenty of high school students doing four years of Spanish and three years of lab science. The public high school her son is assigned to is considered way above average and just below the tippy tops public schools.

My district counselors tend to think families are either poor enough to qualify for state grants or middle class enough to pay for state universities. Few apply to state universities and even fewer get accepted. Very few went to privates. The graduation rate is around 85% yearly. My neighbors kids get no advice other than how to fulfill the state universities A-G requirements and to take the SAT in 11th grade. They won’t told to take the ACT as a backup even though state universities would take either score. They won’t told about test prep either so I had a friend panicking about her 11th grader average SAT score because she didn’t know prep for SAT was norm in our region.

 

His kids are his retirement plan, and that he and his wife will worry about college/university when the time comes and that his plan of live life to the fullest now is a good decision.

My in-laws think that kids are their retirement plan as well. They do have some savings but only their daughter’s husband is in relatively stable employment as a tenured lecturer but their daughter’s kids (young adults) are unemployed and went back to college for further education. That thinking was the norm during my parents era (born in the 20s-40s) but weird for our age peers. Edited by Arcadia
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Tell your friend about net price calculators -- before it's too late!

I think it might already be - her daughter is a senior. She's a "senior recruit," so she is, according to my friends, sort of lower tier athletically? I don't really know about that, but I took it to mean that schools are now filling slots that others recruited earlier did not take.

 

These are somewhat delicate conversations to have. Daughter received a call last night and was offered $17,000 per year somewhere. I don't know where. If that is on a tab of $50-$60k per year, it probably doesn't make enough of a difference. They did say they would not co-sign loans, but I don't know how much cash they are willing to put in. And, until intold them, they didn't realize daughter was limited in amount she herself could borrow. I think part of the issue is the unknown about athletic scholarship $. Mom claims some are upfront but others won't show their hand unless they visit. Like I said, waaayyy outside my realm of knowledge. I certainly don't doubt what she says, but I feel like there could be at least more awareness of what *might* be offered with some research.

 

The daughter has no desire to stay in-state - even though I know she was recruited by a very affordable regional school. Her mom said she wouldn't consider it. I think there has been a bit of magical thinking/entitlement on the daughter's part coupled with a lack of awareness/communication on the parents' part. Plan B is going to be the local CC, but I think daughter only realized that late in the game.

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Quite a lot of misinformation are coming by the way of the school counselors. A friend was told her son can just check the minimum boxes of subjects because he wants to major in marine science (state parks, conservation, environmentalist) and the colleges he is interested in are not as highly selective as UCB, UCLA. So two lab science with no science for the rest of the four years, two years of Latin with no other language for the rest of four years. She is staying in a neighboring city and my city has plenty of high school students doing four years of Spanish and three years of lab science. The public high school her son is assigned to is considered way above average and just below the tippy tops public schools.

My district counselors tend to think families are either poor enough to qualify for state grants or middle class enough to pay for state universities. Few apply to state universities and even fewer get accepted. Very few went to privates. The graduation rate is around 85% yearly. My neighbors kids get no advice other than how to fulfill the state universities A-G requirements and to take the SAT in 11th grade. They won’t told to take the ACT as a backup even though state universities would take either score.

 

Unfortunately, I agree. My school has had two really good college counselors in the past (our first two dedicated to that job as our school works to improve what we offer) who really helped kids figure out and wade through the system.  Now we have one who is making me (and others) frustrated.  There's one more year on the contract.  I've casually mentioned volunteering my time next year to help out and have several folks wanting me to do so.  I'm not sure how it would work (officially) in reality, plus it helps to start educating about the process far earlier than application year!  I'll see.

 

So much depends upon the source of information even when one is seeking.  How can one know that "professionals" aren't up to snuff (says the mom who trusted pre-med "professionals" at her lad's college and shouldn't have - I suspect that makes me even more irritated to see similar things happening at my own school)!

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Quite a lot of misinformation are coming by the way of the school counselors. A friend was told her son can just check the minimum boxes of subjects because he wants to major in marine science (state parks, conservation, environmentalist) and the colleges he is interested in are not as highly selective as UCB, UCLA. So two lab science with no science for the rest of the four years, two years of Latin with no other language for the rest of four years. She is staying in a neighboring city and my city has plenty of high school students doing four years of Spanish and three years of lab science. The public high school her son is assigned to is considered way above average and just below the tippy tops public schools.

 

Yeah, I still remember the kid in my college algebra class who was told that since she wanted to do physical therapy she didn't need to take math senior year and stats in junior year was fine. 

 

I was still in grad school then, so I could get away with "well, you should go back there and tell her she's a moron". 

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Quite a lot of misinformation are coming by the way of the school counselors. A friend was told her son can just check the minimum boxes of subjects because he wants to major in marine science (state parks, conservation, environmentalist) and the colleges he is interested in are not as highly selective as UCB, UCLA. So two lab science with no science for the rest of the four years, two years of Latin with no other language for the rest of four years.

Oh my no!!! The thing is maritime colleges are highly specialized and may not offer anything but Marine Science, Marine Biology, Marine Engineering Technology and a business degree focused on shipping and logistics. Most student also aim to get an Operator's License to make sure they're employable. The colleges might be relatively easy to get into but it's because they're pulling from a small pool of people dedicated to pursuing very specific majors and career paths, not because they're lite. The TAMU-Galveston website has a ton of information if the CA Maritime College site isn't complete enough.

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I understand having sticker shock. What I don't understand is not bothering to look up costs before traveling a long distance for a visit.

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I almost never recommend this, but this family could use one of those sports counselors. It might be a little late, but it could definitely prevent a missed opportunity, IF she wants to compete on a college level. Also, a third person who can present facts, costs, and statistics dispassionately is very useful for bursting bubbles. Coaches and parents don't like to do that, but with an average player (which she certainly is-stars in volleyball are recruited heavily and will have already committed), there is money available at a D2 or NAIA level, but at this late date it will be hard.

 

Hence, my "good luck" and walking away.

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When my oldest was in about 5th grade, we visited a local college (Gettysburg college) to look at their planetarium for a homeschool field trip. Up till then, when I heard reports of how expensive college was, I was thinking that was probably double or triple what it was like when I was young.

 

I got home from our field trip and thought, "It's time I finally see for myself how much colleges cost. I'll google and see how much the one we visited today costs."

 

Sticker price, with room and board, was a bit above $60,000. I about fell out of my chair. Four years would be $240,000. (The prices now are $64500/year so $258,000 for 4 years) (My *house* cost $130,000.)

 

I think a lot of people are like me and figure it's doubled or tripled since they were young and that the articles that mention it are picking super elite colleges to make the story sound more interesting. I don't think anyone is expecting to sit down and google a college cost and see $258,000 staring back at them.

 

Of course, absolutely people should be looking this stuff up before their kids are in 11th or 12th grade! I started looking at it in 5th and I'm glad I knew what I was in for. However, there's no way that I could save $200,000 in the next seven years, or even if I'd started when the kids were born, I'd have never had $400,00 for the two of them. So, I guess it doesn't matter that I know how much it costs, because it doesn't change that I can't afford it no matter when I first saw how expensive it is.

 

I agree it ought to be googled before going on a visit though! Hello!

Edited by Garga
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When my oldest was in about 5th grade, we visited a local college (Gettysburg college) to look at their planetarium for a homeschool field trip. Up till then, when I heard reports of how expensive college was, I was thinking that was probably double or triple what it was like when I was young. 

 

I got home from our field trip and thought, "It's time I finally see for myself how much colleges cost.  I'll google and see how much the one we visited today costs." 

 

Sticker price, with room and board, was a bit above $60,000.  I about fell out of my chair.  Four years would be $240,000.  (The prices now are $64500/year so $258,000 for 4 years)

 

I think a lot of people are like me and figure it's doubled or tripled since they were young and that the articles that mention it are picking super elite colleges to make the story sound more interesting.  I don't think anyone is expecting to sit down and google a college cost and see $258,000 staring back at them. 

 

Of course, absolutely people should be looking this stuff up before their kids are in 11th or 12th grade!  I started looking at it in 5th and I'm glad I knew what I was in for.  However, there's no way that I could save $200,000 in the next seven years, or even if I'd started when the kids were born, I'd have never had $400,00 for the two of them.  So, I guess it doesn't matter that I know how much it costs, because it doesn't change that I can't afford it no matter when I first saw how expensive it is.

 

I agree it ought to be googled before going on a visit though!  Hello!

 

Going further, one needs to know their EFC and how need-based aid works.  If I recall correctly, Gettysburg is pretty darn good with need based aid, so one needs the complete picture before being warned off too.

 

I tell kids/parents to go home and run an EFC calculator using real numbers for their situation.  If they look at that number and like it or are ok with it (even if they don't like it), then we can look at one set of colleges (or any college if they can be full pay, but very, very few fit that demographic here).  If they need to pick themselves up off the floor after passing out, then we need to look at another set of colleges or paths.

 

Don't be unaware of costs, but also don't be unaware of aid options either.  The whole thing has to be looked at, preferably before applying (or visiting as in the OP's post).

 

My kids did better at private schools than our state schools due to aid options.  That's not universally true.

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I understand having sticker shock. What I don't understand is not bothering to look up costs before traveling a long distance for a visit.

 

At least they visited. 

 

I know a young person through one of my dc's activities.  She got into a good school, but had never visited, and did not have a realistic idea of what it would be like.  An urban school may not have a "campus" in the same way a rural state flagship would, for example.  She didn't know what she'd be studying in her major (that is, what classes she'd be taking) or what kind of job her major was aiming at.  She ended up in the least desirable dorm.  She really didn't know what to do with herself when she wasn't in class.  The school is only a two-hour train ride from home; she could have visited for less than $40 on one of the many open house days they offered.

 

Another young person I know chose a different urban school, where her dorm was quite a distance from her classrooms.  She didn't like the subway, and wasn't keen on walking all that way, so she often took a taxi.  (!!!)

 

The kids I know who are thriving in urban schools take every advantage the city has to offer.  They learn to use the subway, buddy up to visit museums and parks, do their shopping at nearby stores and pop-up markets, and see performances and other cultural events.  They dove right in, from Day One, in part because they knew what to expect and they were somewhat comfortable with the down sides to city living.

 

I tell every teen I can - visit schools.  Lots of them.  Start at any local school; doesn't have to be one you have decided you want to go to - anywhere will start to build a baseline for comparisons.  Visit a school every time you are out of town.  Freshman year is not too early; your schedule will fill up fast in junior and senior year.  Bring friends along with you.  Go to summer programs at local universities to experience dorm/campus living.

 

I tell every parent I can - take your kid to visit schools.  Let them hear directly from the staff what they will need, transcript-wise, grades-wise, test-score-wise, to get in.  Let them hear about the admission process, so they know the full scope of what they will need to do.  Let them hear the costs, so they can begin to compare the $30K schools to the $70K schools and understand the difference in debt therein.  

 

Sometimes, people listen.  Sometimes.

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At least they visited.

 

I know a young person through one of my dc's activities. She got into a good school, but had never visited, and did not have a realistic idea of what it would be like. An urban school may not have a "campus" in the same way a rural state flagship would, for example. She didn't know what she'd be studying in her major (that is, what classes she'd be taking) or what kind of job her major was aiming at. She ended up in the least desirable dorm. She really didn't know what to do with herself when she wasn't in class. The school is only a two-hour train ride from home; she could have visited for less than $40 on one of the many open house days they offered.

 

Another young person I know chose a different urban school, where her dorm was quite a distance from her classrooms. She didn't like the subway, and wasn't keen on walking all that way, so she often took a taxi. (!!!)

 

The kids I know who are thriving in urban schools take every advantage the city has to offer. They learn to use the subway, buddy up to visit museums and parks, do their shopping at nearby stores and pop-up markets, and see performances and other cultural events. They dove right in, from Day One, in part because they knew what to expect and they were somewhat comfortable with the down sides to city living.

 

I tell every teen I can - visit schools. Lots of them. Start at any local school; doesn't have to be one you have decided you want to go to - anywhere will start to build a baseline for comparisons. Visit a school every time you are out of town. Freshman year is not too early; your schedule will fill up fast in junior and senior year. Bring friends along with you. Go to summer programs at local universities to experience dorm/campus living.

 

I tell every parent I can - take your kid to visit schools. Let them hear directly from the staff what they will need, transcript-wise, grades-wise, test-score-wise, to get in. Let them hear about the admission process, so they know the full scope of what they will need to do. Let them hear the costs, so they can begin to compare the $30K schools to the $70K schools and understand the difference in debt therein.

 

Sometimes, people listen. Sometimes.

YASSS!! We started three years ago and will continue with NE schools this summer. I have no idea whether either of my kids will choose one of these schools, that’s not the point. Just seeing the neighborhoods, walking the campuses, feeling the ‘vibe’ and eating the food is enough to form impressions and decide on general likes and dislikes. There are almost always CCs or regional state schools or small private schools within a day’s drive. Many campuses have apps and online info so you can do self-guided walking tours on your own time/schedule. Edited by Sneezyone
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Going further, one needs to know their EFC and how need-based aid works. If I recall correctly, Gettysburg is pretty darn good with need based aid, so one needs the complete picture before being warned off too.

 

I tell kids/parents to go home and run an EFC calculator using real numbers for their situation. If they look at that number and like it or are ok with it (even if they don't like it), then we can look at one set of colleges (or any college if they can be full pay, but very, very few fit that demographic here). If they need to pick themselves up off the floor after passing out, then we need to look at another set of colleges or paths.

 

Don't be unaware of costs, but also don't be unaware of aid options either. The whole thing has to be looked at, preferably before applying (or visiting as in the OP's post).

 

My kids did better at private schools than our state schools due to aid options. That's not universally true.

Yes, this is very true. I was meaning to point out that without aid of some sort, college prices are very out of reach. Once you see the costs, then your next step is to figure out aid, because most of us aren’t going to reach into our pockets and pull out $258,000 for college.

 

But good point to mention it here to balance out the sticker price with the options available that will bring that price down.

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YASSS!! We started three years ago and will continue with NE schools this summer. I have no idea whether either of my kids will choose one of these schools, that’s not the point. Just seeing the neighborhoods, walking the campuses, feeling the ‘vibe’ and eating the food is enough to form impressions and decide on general likes and dislikes. There are almost always CCs or regional state schools or small private schools within a day’s drive. Many campuses have apps and online info so you can do self-guided walking tours on your own time/schedule.

 

I am always that mom who goes on the official tour and asks the student guide a ton of questions.  What is your major?  Where else did you apply?  Why did you choose this school over the others?  What do you do for fun?  Party scene?  Do people live on campus after freshman year?  Do you use the library much?  What other resources/labs on campus do you use?  How are the class sizes?  What's your favorite class so far and why?  Favorite professor?  How's the food?

 

I also like to go to the official info session, even if I have already read the basics on the web site.  I like to see how the school presents itself.  (Football+Party Culture school strongly emphasized the Football Culture part in their presentation.  Very strongly.  Um, no thanks.  Not a good fit for us.)

 

Plus, sometimes if you do the official Info+Tour, you can get lunch in the dining hall (sometimes at a discount or even free), which is another data point I like to have.

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Oh my no!!! The thing is maritime colleges are highly specialized and may not offer anything but Marine Science, Marine Biology, Marine Engineering Technology and a business degree focused on shipping and logistics.

One of the colleges they are looking at is CSU Monterey Bay Marine Science major. My friend says she don’t mind paying for any college her only child gets in and they are prepared for him to be unemployed and staying with them after college, and also needing to pay for him to go all the way to PhD. She just wants him to have as little stress as possible in high school and college. I did suggest Sea Scouts or scuba diving or powerboat license for her son to her. They are considered upper middle class income. They might get a sticker shock at the out of state universities on their list but they can definitely afford CSUMB.

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My brother is quite wealthy. A couple of yrs ago he made the comment that the kids were going to have to out themselves through school. I laughed. I am also the youngest of 6 and he is the 2nd oldest. My advice to investigate was not only dismissed, but derided.

 

Now that his kids are in a private high school, his wife has been listening to other parents. Their solution? To hire an admissions counselor. LOL. His kids are very avg students. They are paying a mint for the counselor. They will end up at schools like CoC.

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I almost never recommend this, but this family could use one of those sports counselors. It might be a little late, but it could definitely prevent a missed opportunity, IF she wants to compete on a college level. Also, a third person who can present facts, costs, and statistics dispassionately is very useful for bursting bubbles. Coaches and parents don't like to do that, but with an average player (which she certainly is-stars in volleyball are recruited heavily and will have already committed), there is money available at a D2 or NAIA level, but at this late date it will be hard.

 

Hence, my "good luck" and walking away.

Don't those people cost $$$?

 

I'm not even sure the daughter wants to play. I think the parents do for $$ and for the accountability and academic support it would provide. Or that they perceive it would provide.

 

I agree. I shared some basics and wished them well.

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It's not just public school families.

 

I'll be giving a talk on Financial Aid, followed by a talk on Scholarships & Alternate Funding Ideas, to our homeschool group in about 6 weeks. This will be the third time I've given this talk in the last few years. Homeschool families are *shocked* by the cost of college, and by all the work they are going to need to put in to figure out costs, financing, and college fit.

 

And... I admit to my own VAST ignorance. Frankly, I was in exactly the same position when DSs were about 11th grade, because all my time, energy and efforts up to that point were just trying to get high school figured out:

- researching curriculum

- mentoring DSs through the higher levels of Math, Science, Writing, and Literature

- keeping up record-keeping and setting up times to prep for/take the tests (PSAT, ACT, SAT)

- researching/figuring out dual enrollment, getting admitted to the CC, registering, etc.

- driving for sports involvement and other extracurriculars

- advisor/meeting host for one of DSs' extracurricular

- plus continue to pour extra time into one DS with mild LDs

 

It was not until about the time that DS#1 was in 11th grade that I *finally* had a moment to think ahead to college and start looking in to what THAT was going to take, when I realized there was a huge financial aid component to have to learn about, not to mention how to figure out how to research and search for colleges for "college fit".  :svengo:

 

I would guess most homeschool families are in that same position (with their oldest DC), unless another homeschooler tries to provide information for them earlier on in their homeschooling journey. And for public school families: so many public schools don't even HAVE a school counselor, or if they do, the counselor is so overworked with so many students, that it's very understandable how families could get to the 11th and 12th grade years and not have clue #1 about college.

 

(However, totally agree with you -- I do have a hard time understanding how anyone would drive/spend a lot of money to visit a campus without first reading through the school's website, and possibly stumble over facts of cost or student body size or degrees offered that would make you realize the school was NOT going to work at all... ;) )

 

 

BEST of luck to all those at the beginning of the "journey to college" stage! :) Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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And... I admit to my own VAST ignorance. Frankly, I was in exactly the same position when DSs were about 11th grade, because all my time, energy and efforts up to that point were just trying to get high school figured ...

 

It was not until about the time that DS#1 was in 11th grade that I *finally* had a moment to think ahead to college and start looking in to what THAT was going to take, when I realized there was a huge financial aid component to have to learn about, not to mention how to figure out how to research and search for colleges for "college fit".

 

 

I confess I was equally ignorant. I did not begin researching college cost until my oldest was way in high school.

I knew what the local public would cost, but I had no idea about out of state publics or privates. 

 

To be honest, it still seems very mysterious how my kids' schools determine merit and need based aid, and every year the bill with its varying amount of financial aid is a bit of a surprise. We never know in advance from year to year how it is going to turn out.

Edited by regentrude
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We brought our kids up telling them we would pay half and they would pay half.  That only worked up until we saw the cost involved sometime when oldest was in high school.  I'm not quite sure exactly when that moment of understanding was at this moment.  That's when I started "my" education as financial counselor for my guys.  Silly me had thought only the educational component was necessary, but we aren't that wealthy.  

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I knew from talking to a financial planner when the dc were infants...but their estimate was off by about 20%...costs increased that dramatically in 17 years. 

I was very surprised at how high the rent is in many areas.

Very happy to learn about the websites that show typical charge vs family income...it was a little late, but there was only one school that I crossed off when I should not have because of it. 

 

My wasted trip was to a college that didn't tell us until we got there that admissions had quotas by demographics, and our kind didn't have a chance.   I wasn't the only stunned member of the audience.  It taught me that private schools can do what they want.

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I remember checking out college costs when we relocated to the U.S. and thinking we could definitely swing it. At the time our oldest was 2 years old. She grew up with the assurance that she would go to a four year university if she did the academic part. I didn't check again until much later, probably by middle school, and I started getting concerned about the increase. Of course, we then relocated to a higher cost of living area with even higher university costs! I am looking forward to my oldest graduating in June! I am worried about how much more it will cost to send our 8th grader in 5 years time when my dh will already be of retirement age.

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I had dinner with some friends last night that I had not seen in a very long time. They had taken their daughter to visit Furman at some point in the past and "had no idea" what the cost was before they learned it in the information session on campus. At *that* point they told dd it wasn't workable. This AFTER a 13 hour drive, paying for gas, meals, and a hotel stay. All of that time, effort, and money could have been saved by a Google search. They won't qualify for need-based aid. I don't know all her academic stats, but I do know she has one D on her transcript, so I have to assume merit aid is rather unlikely. She may get to play volleyball somewhere, so that is an unknown, and I know NOTHING about availability of athletic scholarships at different levels of schools.

 

I just don't get it.

 

Judgey rant over.

 

ETA: They also had no awareness that dd could only borrow so much money without their co-signing.

 

At this point people are in denial. They know it's hard and bad, but not how hard and bad, and the savings requirements are so high. For us, if we save $100k per kid we can pay for tuition only... at public school... so, yeah, that is obviously not within the means of most people. So people just go into denial. It's like not having health insurance. "Oh, gee, I knew it would cost a lot but..."!

 

:(

 

Fewer than 1% of kids get a full scholarship. Fewer than 15% get a 50% scholarship. And that's of attendees. How many don't attend because of costs?!

 

That said this is not a homeschool thing. Not at all. In all but the most elite high schools, people in the middle to upper middle are placing their hopes on their slightly-above average kids and just not saving. It's really terrifying. People still have their own college debt.

 

The pipeline for college funding relies on everyone taking some loans, but that pipeline could collapse at any moment. In fact it is kind of collapsing. Then there will be only scholarships left and few reasonable loans.

 

It's definitely frightening.

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 But we have certainly found that other people think that they can do everything better than the "homeschooling family with too many kids."

 

 

What does that even mean?

 

You're actually better off for financial aid because you've saved on the costs for daycare and after care, and then you'll have more in college and more dependents when it comes time to file the FAFSA.

 

Very few kids get scholarships that cover more than a fraction of year one.

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I knew from talking to a financial planner when the dc were infants...but their estimate was off by about 20%...costs increased that dramatically in 17 years.

I was very surprised at how high the rent is in many areas.

Very happy to learn about the websites that show typical charge vs family income...it was a little late, but there was only one school that I crossed off when I should not have because of it.

 

My wasted trip was to a college that didn't tell us until we got there that admissions had quotas by demographics, and our kind didn't have a chance. I wasn't the only stunned member of the audience. It taught me that private schools can do what they want.

What are the websites that show typical charge v family income??? I don't think I know this, but I'd like to!

 

We talked to a financial planner before we even had ds. We picked a random, private, elite-ish school - Duke. Financial planner predicted around $150,000. Actual cost at the time Ds was applying was around $240,000 or so (Ds didn't apply there). So he predicted about 60% of what the total cost actually was when the time came.

Edited by Hoggirl
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This board caused me to do so much research but it also caused me so much stress!

 

I was worried ds wouldn't get in anywhere and thought he definitely wouldn't get merit aid but none of that was true. He has great grades (top 4% in a class of over 600) and solid SAT scores (1490) but lacks in ECs and volunteer/work experience. No sports, no music, no leadership positions held in clubs, etc.  He still has been accepted so far to three of the six schools he applied to - we're still waiting on the others. Only two of those have given out merit aid yet and they both gave him scholarships that cover almost all tuition so it makes them doable for us. He is a very talented writer so I'm sure his essays were amazing. He only let us read the common app essay and I thought he overshared about some of his experiences and it would bite him but it worked out.

 

So, I do think some people are clueless and need to do more research but I no longer think it's as tough as I once did. I do wish there were more resources available, especially better counselors at schools, that could guide parents better. Our are useless and I learned more here than I have from them. 

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What are the websites that show typical charge v family income??? I don't think I know this, but if like to!

 

We talked to a financial planner before we even had ds. We picked a random, private, elite-ish school - Duke. Financial planner predicted around $150,000. Actual cost at the time Ds was applying was around $240,000 or so (Ds didn't apply there). So he predicted about 60% of what the total cost actually was when the time came.

60% of what the total cost is what our financial planner predicted when DD18 was 2 also. I am grateful that we were able to sock away a bit more but there is no way that we could have afforded to save the entire amount.

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I think the real issue is the ridiculous cost of higher education in this country. There is no reason on earth that tuition/room/board costs should have risen so much, so fast. And the government student loans with their random limits and rules are ridiculous, as well.

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What are the websites that show typical charge v family income??? I don't think I know this, but if like to!

 

We talked to a financial planner before we even had ds. We picked a random, private, elite-ish school - Duke. Financial planner predicted around $150,000. Actual cost at the time Ds was applying was around $240,000 or so (Ds didn't apply there). So he predicted about 60% of what the total cost actually was when the time came.

They can only tell you contribution based on the federal requirements. If you are remotely well off the assistance is going to come out a big fat 0 so why bother.

 

For private schools and the CSS, I don't think they can really predict anything with the level of certainty you would need to make decisions because the algorithms are not public.

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I think the real issue is the ridiculous cost of higher education in this country. There is no reason on earth that tuition/room/board costs should have risen so much, so fast. And the government student loans with their random limits and rules are ridiculous, as well.

Why do you think the rules on loans are random?

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It's not just public school families.

 

I'll be giving a talk on Financial Aid, followed by a talk on Scholarships & Alternate Funding Ideas, to our homeschool group in about 6 weeks.

I agree it is not just public school families. However some public school parents really take what they are told as absolute truth and so get blindsided when information is incomplete and/or incorrect.

 

A friend just messaged me that she was told by the public school counselor that she won’t need to fill up the FAFSA for her child because it is useless for anyone with a working parent and has a house (hers still has a mortgage). She is also unaware of the existence of the CSS profile because state universities don’t require it but her daughter has some non state universities choices in her shortlist. Her daughter is in 11th so she is asking me for whatever information I may have so she can get ready for this November’s application.

Edited by Arcadia
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Yes, this is common.  Folks think college costs what it did in their day, or there will be scholarships (academic or athletic), or easy loans.  Many get a rude awakening late junior or in senior year.

 

One would think enough info is out there to help everyone understand the process and costs along with pros/cons of various colleges and routes.  It is out there, but they think they know about it already, so don't look.

 

Yes! I didn't think this exactly, but I assumed that inflation for college would be pretty much the same rate as most COL increases. Minimum wage has doubled plus a bit since then, so in my mind I thought tuition might have doubled or tripled, but believed it would still be fairly doable for a student to work his or her way through with no or very low loans, especially with a little help (we had some money put away, but we never made anywhere near enough to have put away the $100-$120 K it would take just to go through a state school here!) My oldest was in 6th grade when I started reading high school boards on here and other places, and caught wind that tuition inflation was much worse than that. Just as I don't know how people homeschool without message boards, I don't know how they plan for college without them! It's hard to know to go learn something when you don't know your current knowledge and assumptions are so wrong! I'm thankful I did hear about it (mainly on here!) with time to gradually understand the system and the options.

 

Even with assumptions though...it is really hard to imagine traveling so far to a school without knowing a lot about it (like cost!) before going. To me that doesn't seem like it takes "Hive-level" research skills or propensity! It seems like--wouldn't you think of at least that? But maybe they are used to being able to make decisions without considering costs and assumed it wouldn't be an issue? 

 

 

The daughter has no desire to stay in-state - even though I know she was recruited by a very affordable regional school. Her mom said she wouldn't consider it. I think there has been a bit of magical thinking/entitlement on the daughter's part coupled with a lack of awareness/communication on the parents' part. Plan B is going to be the local CC, but I think daughter only realized that late in the game.

 

Interesting. She doesn't want to go to an in-state school but may end up at the local CC...maybe she'll reconsider what she really wants! (If it's a good CC, it might be the best option if she wants to transfer out of state later, though she won't understand that right now...)

 

 

 

A friend just messaged me that she was told by the public school counselor that she won’t need to fill up the FAFSA for her child because it is useless for anyone with a working parent and has a house (hers still has a mortgage). She is also unaware of the existence of the CSS profile because state universities don’t require it but her daughter has some non state universities choices in her shortlist. Her daughter is in 11th so she is asking me for whatever information I may have so she can get ready for this November’s application.

 

That kind of misinformation from a school counselor is just maddening!

Edited by MerryAtHope
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We researched because we had to choose a country to live in, so we were watching costs of university and health all along. We chose the UK.

 

I think most people are aware here because the fees are set centrally and are headline news.

Edited by Laura Corin
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Agreeing totally. This was/is a huge reason I really can't talk to fellow local-moms about this topic. They genuinely have no idea at all at the costs of things. And if I try to infuse some knowledge into the conversation, I am dismissed or scoffed at. So, I gave up, smile, and move the conversation to other topics.

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Our school district has implemented a new program this year.  All 7th and 11th graders have to take a field trip to tour a college campus.  

 

Unfortunately, the local state 4 year school isn't offering any sort of tour guides or help.  They say we can come, and they will give us a map, but that is about it.  We, the school staff, have to be the tour guides.

 

However, the local private college is rolling out the red carpet.  Tour guides, free lunch, treasure hunt type tour for 7th graders, a more traditional "pick which major you are interested in for a 1 hour session" type tour.  And they will provide bus transportation, saving the district thousands.

 

Most of our kids can't even start to look at private college, but the school is going to option B for the cost savings and tour built in.

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Agreeing totally. This was/is a huge reason I really can't talk to fellow local-moms about this topic. They genuinely have no idea at all at the costs of things. And if I try to infuse some knowledge into the conversation, I am dismissed or scoffed at. So, I gave up, smile, and move the conversation to other topics.

 

I remember those talks.  I always got the, "Well, he can get scholarships" comment.  Always.  As if you just pick which ones you want, and VIOILA!  You get to go to college for free.

 

Many of them are now facing the fact that either their kid isn't going (many have opted to just not go) or they are taking out hefty loans.  A few are doing ROTC.  

 

It is one thing to not be able to afford it and plan accordingly, it is another to be in denial and then somehow "shocked" that it isn't what the bottom of your rock living told you it would be.

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I remember those talks. I always got the, "Well, he can get scholarships" comment. Always. As if you just pick which ones you want, and VIOILA! You get to go to college for free.

 

Many of them are now facing the fact that either their kid isn't going (many have opted to just not go) or they are taking out hefty loans. A few are doing ROTC.

 

It is one thing to not be able to afford it and plan accordingly, it is another to be in denial and then somehow "shocked" that it isn't what the bottom of your rock living told you it would be.

I had this exact same talk with a woman who had all three of her girls in private school and hadn’t saved a dime. The oldest was in 9th at the time so I imagine she’ll be applying next year. 🙄

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I think the real issue is the ridiculous cost of higher education in this country. There is no reason on earth that tuition/room/board costs should have risen so much, so fast. And the government student loans with their random limits and rules are ridiculous, as well.

 

The problem is both the students and parents only want the expensive schools.  Sure they'll say they want inexpensive, but then they'll come back from tours talking about how old the dorms/classrooms/gym/Student Union are, how awful the food is in the dining hall, how it's difficult to get classes, there's not much available for free tutoring, how overall dumpy the campus looks - then compare that to the latest and greatest looking campus and gush about how nice that one is, and hey, they even sent junior a ton of mail wanting him/her and a t-shirt!

 

Guess which place they apply to and attend?

 

Schools that tried to keep things inexpensive realized they had to update to attract students and that cost money.

 

On top of that, even colleges that tried to keep expenses down figuring they'd only charge what the updates were worth were finding perception issues.  People would think they aren't as good as higher cost colleges.  So... some of them upped their price to keep up.  They offer basic scholarships instead to most applicants - lowering the price a little bit.  People feel good about going somewhere when they get even a basic scholarship vs being full pay - even if the full pay is cheaper.

 

So much is about the sales aspect.  One can say many people wouldn't give a hoot about the finery and sales pitches, but it just doesn't play out that way. Some might, but not enough to stay in business.  I've seen the same "yuck" comments from both students and parents - and some of those parents do the hiring.  Do you think they're after grads from a college they put a "yuck" connection to?

 

That kind of misinformation from a school counselor is just maddening!

 

As is a paid school college counselor (only doing college) totally missing colleges with decent opportunities for students with their major and EFC and instead telling them to apply to schools without their desired major and WAY over their scores, as in, bottom 25% is 1340 and student's score is 1200.  Oh, and it's absolutely fine to wait until January to apply (anywhere).  You have until the 15th most places.  (NOT FINE and NOT TRUE!)  Then too, she hadn't even asked the lad what his EFC was.  He had no clue what I was talking about... she just took his word that he'd need money to go to college.  (Many folks feel they need money to go to college, but the gov't gets to decide that for most of us.  We don't.)

Edited by creekland
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Even if you get the largest package at a school like Furman it still might not be your best option financially unless you have a high enough income that you get no need based aid anywhere.  DD was only one of 8 students to be offered their top award (full tuition) but since their room, board, fees, etc are so expensive, it was still one of her most expensive choices over her need met schools.  I am sure this wouldn't be true for everyone and the bottom line at Furman with the top scholarship would have been coveted by some, particularly those who want their kids at private school, but for us we still hit that need based aid level at some schools (and we aren't exactly poor either) and every school offered her merit aid as well.  I think our bottom line at Furman with the full scholarship was still $17,000/year.  Our packages for need met schools were all around $10,000-$15,000.

Edited by Attolia
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 I think the research skills of the Hive are not the norm.

 

 

While true, it definitely doesn't take hive-level skills.

I did all my "college tours" via catalog before websites were a thing.  A lot bulkier and more time consuming.  Still doable for a teenager.  I can't imagine how a parent would be unable to figure it out.  :huh:

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