Your child has gone through 13 years of schooling, and your 17 or 18 year old is about to enroll in four more years of higher education. These are all comfortable, familiar numbers that capture an important rite of passage your family is about to experience.
But does the number $65,000 per year for college expenses scare you? For many people, that figure is a frightening prospect. And there are others just as alarming:
• Prices for New England colleges have risen 410 % in the last 30 years, while family income has only risen 145 %.
• Twenty years ago, the average college graduate had $9,000 in loans, but today, that figure is in excess of $33,000.
• Financial aid forms have 225 questions spanning three taxable years.
However, before you get too overwhelmed by those numbers, don’t despair. Consider these figures instead, which may surprise you – and inspire you.
• Many families I work with are able to slice 25 percent off per year of their child’s college tuition bill. That could be as much as $10,000 to $12,000 per year.
• Our clients routinely receive $15,000 to $40,000 in scholarship money each year. This is free money, which is, in effect, a financial windfall.
• There is $55 billion in free scholarship money awarded each year by the US Department of Education and colleges.
• There is another $35 million in scholarship given out through private companies, foundations and civic groups.
So before you let the high cost of a college education muddle your mind and keep you up at night with worry, consider the many ways there are to capitalize on the help that is available to you and how you might secure that support to realize the dream of an affordable college education for your child.