Future Success + Financial Constraints = College?
More families, and younger, are asking Creative Marbles about financial aid and paying for college. Parents are facing difficult choices between supporting multiple kids through 4 years of higher education and saving for retirement, while confronting the challenge of encouraging their children to dream big, yet understanding the realities of financing that educational dream.
College application and enrollment decisions may increasingly become a financial decision for families, not just a rite of passage. A graduating senior, who Creative Marbles Consultancy advised, suggests,
Don’t apply anywhere outside of your financial range. [I]f I’d done sufficient research, I’d have known [which colleges on my list] were all outside of my budget, even if I got their top merit awards. I could have saved myself a lot of stress and time.
Increasingly, the first question parents are asking about college is, “Can we afford it?” and not, “What are my student’s chances of getting accepted?” Students are also wondering about the long term “opportunity” costs and benefits of financing a college education, including using debt. According to UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute, 40.6% of college freshmen in the Class of 2015 stated that “the cost of attending this college” was “very important” in their enrollment decision, while 42.4% “agree somewhat” and 21.5% “agree strongly” that current state of the economy affected their college choices. With both, parents and students, increasingly perceiving college in financial terms, college application and enrollment decisions may change.
Similarly, colleges are beginning to recognize the financial pressures families are experiencing. Wesleyan University’s President, Peter Roth, recently announced changes in their admissions policy from a strictly “need blind” standard, to considering an applicant’s financial need once merit aid is exhausted. Also, Wesleyan will no longer promise students to meet 100% of their financial need, to not encourage students to take on large debts.
And if colleges can’t meet full need without large loan expectations, Roth and others say, they shouldn’t entice students into coming by accepting them.
-Kevin Kiley, Inside Higher Education, 6/1/2012
Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, is a University of California and Harvard trained educator and Partner at Creative Marbles Consultancy. She advises families and schools, as they make complex educational choices. You can contact Jill at email@example.com or, read her short biography.
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