Does Your Child Have Enough Money for College?

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by Harriet Bond
(San Francisco, CA, USA)

Parents and their children ponder the same question throughout most of the world: what to do after high school graduation. Should they get a job or pursue further education. Some form of post secondary education is almost mandatory if a comfortable and enjoyable lifestyle is sought.

Studies have revealed that a person with a bachelor’s degree earns on average 70% more than the person with only a high school education. Even those with a two-year associate degree earn considerably more.

More than half of recent graduates in the United States engage in some type of schooling after high school. This means that competition for the desirable jobs will be severe. The college graduate will have more than twice the choice of job opportunities.

No doubt, a college education is expensive and the question arises can you afford to send your child to college. Another question is: can you afford not to. The time to start the education fund should be before the future student is even born. Let’s take a look at how much money we’re talking about.

It’s cheaper to go to a college or university in the state where you live. Out of staters pay more if going to a public/state supported school. Most private universities charge the same for both in state and out of state students.

The basic expenses for each year of college include tuitions and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, miscellaneous and personal expenses. The estimated total in a public school for 2008 is over $18,000. By the year 2010, the cost is predicted to jump to more than $22,000. Figure on three to five thousand dollars more for out of state students and twice that in a private institution.

The lion’s share of that total goes toward room and board. So, if the student can eat and live at home that would be a huge savings. Tuition and fees come in a close second and there aren’t many ways to get around that. Books, supplies, transportation and personal expenses round out the rest of the total and a conservative student can help keep these costs at a reasonable level.

These costs can vary considerably depending on where you live and the lifestyle of the student. If he or she attends school a great distance from home figure in the cost of travel to return home for at least a few visits each year.

With the rising cost of gasoline this could be a major expense. You can also count on entertainment expense, clothing, snacks and some schools require you have at least a desk top computer or even a laptop.

Most of these costs are examples of attending a four-year university but there are also community colleges and technical schools which are usually cheaper. They may also be more suited for some students.

No one knows exactly how much it will cost to attend college when you’re ready to go; but one thing is for sure, expenses are increasing at more than 10% a year, usually twice the general inflation rate. Do your research. A less expensive school may offer the same programs and benefits as a more expensive one. You can count on a good return on your college investment.

Updated: September 12, 2013 — 2:07 am

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