Speaking of Gen Y, as they head to college, the rising costs have become harder to meet with out financial aid or student loans. With a 14-year old heading to high school, I have the parental trepidation of the approaching college expense. Student financial aid expert (and a father himself) Brian Cox can share a few tips on talking to kids about college selection and affordability, as well as helping them develop smart financial habits/attitudes.
As an executive for Cology Inc., one of the nation’s premier student loan technology and core processing organizations, Cox sees first-hand the heartaches that can happen if parents don’t begin important college affordability and financing conversations early.
Here are a few of his favorite tips for free online tools.
Most parents and student don’t know about the free online resources that can help make college and finance conversations easier. Take the time to become the expert in your own financial future. Try these seven resources to let your child compare different schools, see how likely they are to graduate and pay off loans, estimate salaries for different careers, and get a real glimpse of their future.
- Create hypothetical post graduation budgets to see how debt will impact life after school.
- Compare starting salaries on www.salary.com to help shape future career choices.
- Research a school’s federal loan default rate, as an indicator of success in repaying debt.
- Look at each school’s new net price calculator to get a better feel for the actual vs. sticker price. Or try the University of Phoenix calculator.
- Compare each school’s four-year graduation rates, the percent of students who successfully graduate and in what time frame to help determine your chance for success.
- Consider the value of a state university (as well as commuting if possible) vs. staying on campus.
- Shop around using a free resource like TuitionU.com to find the best/lowest rates for loans to fill the financing gap after you have exhausted free money (grants, scholarships) and cheap money (federal loan program).
While difficult, talking to children early and frequently about college, the costs and plans to achieve goals is an important responsibility for parents. Cox has been rewarded to see his own children’s financial savvy increase through consistent conversations and thoughtful involvement. As a parent and student loan expert, he encourages ongoing preparation so his teens can identify future opportunities with the greatest return on investment.
(LemmonTree is a marketing partner for Cology. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.)