The Cost of College

Both of my boys will be going to the same university next fall.  I was unable to get a “two-for-one” deal, so this afternoon was spent reading lots of directions and filling out yet more financial aid forms, signed copies of tax returns and other paperwork needed to complete the requirements for financial aid.  To get my boys through school requires a combination of scholarship, savings, student loans, parent loans and work study.  In January I will repeat the process with the FAFSA forms (one for each child) and in May do it all over again for the loans and work study applications.

I can’t imagine what parents with three or more college-bound kids must go through; two is a jolt.  We set aside money for college the day each of the boys was born, and that has saved us today.  Even though we’ll eventually have to borrow in order to finish paying for their education, it will be *reasonable* compared to the debt that some parents and their children will incur to get through four years of university.

The cost of a private college education has octupled since I went to school, while salaries have not quite tripled.  For a newborn today the cost of a public four-year education, in 2005 dollars, is estimated to be $92,000.  This article didn’t even bother to estimate the cost of a private education but the general rule of thumb would be to increase the costs by a factor of three, to roughly $270,000.  By that time there will be no such thing as a poor college students, as poor students will no longer be going to college.

The college inflation rate must come down soon, or institutions will price themselves out of existence.

Better start saving today for your yet unborn children.

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