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Sunday, February 24, 2013
Breaking the Bank for College
If you're like many young students, the real costs of college haven't yet entered your head. For the past several years, you've just been focused on trying to get in. Now your head's probably just on the wait.
Soon enough, you'll know. Rejection can be tough to forget. Fortunately, so is the thrill of acceptance. Either way, once you figure out where you're going, the sticker shock sets in.
If you are a parent funding a child's education, the reality of the costs may have hit you long ago. You're not alone. In his inaugural address, President Obama referenced the College Scorecard. This website is the government's best effort to offer some transparency in education costs.
Last year, the government invited a small group of colleges to adopt a Financial Aid Shopping Sheet. This is pretty much a spreadsheet of costs (books, tuition, rent) and offsets (grants, scholarship, loans). If all schools actually did this math and posted it publicly, consumers could make more informed decisions.
If you are a young student financing your own education, you should also pay attention. Federal and state loans can make it possible. Student loans generally carry low interest rates and have long repayment terms. Still, most will expect you to start paying within several months of graduation. So remember that your out-of-pocket costs aren't deferred forever.
For the average student, a college education may be their most expensive investment ever-barring perhaps, buying a home. With that in mind, it isn't a transaction that should be entered lightly.
Interested in researching the price tag? Both the College Scorecard and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have websites designed to help consumers navigate the costs of investment.
Labels: Breaking the Bank for College
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