Admissions 101: Do We Have the Guts to Tell Our Kids We Can't Afford Their Dream Schools?
Cathy W. has posed a thorny scenario over in Admissions 101:
"Your child has been accepted at the school of their dreams (or perhaps yours), but the price tag is shocking. Should you have allowed you child apply to the dream school, only to be disappointed when you can't pony up $50,000 in annual tuition/room and board? When do you have the discussion about what is affordable and realistic? Up front or after acceptances roll in?"
The discussion is drawing some starkly different answers.
"The issue is not parents who cannot afford dream schools, the issue is parents who budgeted poorly, planned poorly, and were irresponsible with their money. Kids with parents who truly cannot afford Harvard are not denied a Harvard education. Even kids with parents who are withholding and somewhat irresponsible are usually not denied a Harvard education (a good friend had a deadbeat, yet high income, father who would not spend a dime on her education, and an extremely poor mother. Her full cost was less than $10,000 for 4 years.) The problem is parents who do not prioritize a child's education."
"I have worked with college students for almost 30 years, most of them on the East Coast. A college education should not be equivalent to a vacation to an Tahiti. This business of "dream" school is based on fantastizing. It is the parents responsibility to demonstrate leadership and a create a realistic plan. Young people will follow the parental lead. My son was told he could go to the school most interested in him. Interest was demonstrated via the value of the scholarship package. His top choice deminstrated interest. He is a junior there and thriving. Just as you probably did not indulge their every whim as children, you need not indulge their every whim as older teens/young adults. Be realisitic, have a plan, stick to it, get on with the business of living."
"When I was in college in the late 70s/early 80s, it was possible to put oneself through an in-state flagship by working and taking out Guaranteed Student Loans (now Staffords). My husband had a substantial amount of loans for undergrad and grad school, and it took us 14 years of marriage before we bought our first house (and we still live there).
Now? A Stafford loan doesn't get a student very far at a flagship, much less a private. Not many private lenders are giving out $40k/year unsecured loans to 18 yos these days, either.
We told our kids (a college soph and a rising HS senior) when they were in middle school that they could have their pick of colleges, but that they'd have significant skin in the game via Stafford loans, PT and summer jobs and scholarships. Now it's our turn to live up to our end of the deal."
Posted by: matoseta | July 21, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: beth78 | July 21, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: jch11 | July 22, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: jane100000 | July 23, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.