I was recently interviewed by a reporter from Money Magazine about what to do when a family realizes that the “dream school” is unaffordable.
Here’s the lede from the article:
You meant it when you said, “Study hard in high school, and we’ll send you to the best college you get into.” But now you’re looking at the cost of Dream U — and panicking.
I was quoted in a couple places in the article, which also appears on the CNN/Money website.
“Ideally, parents would have the affordability conversation when the child is starting high school so he or she can be realistic,” says Mark Montgomery, a college-admissions adviser in Denver.
And also here:
Make a game plan: “Let’s figure out what our options are.”
Why this works: “You’re getting the family working together as a team” while nudging the child to take responsibility for charting his own future, says Montgomery. Offer help with options that won’t harm the family’s finances, such as applying for more aid, starting out at a lower-cost school, or deferring for a year to allow Junior to work and save.
It was fun to be interviewed for this important article. It’s true that too many families don’t think about financing a higher education before the admissions process starts. In fact, I’ve had a number of phone calls this month from families who are panicked about how to pay for the “dream school” to which Junior has happily been accepted.
Some of the greatest pain I feel as a counselor is when I observe students and families taking on way more debt than they can afford to finance. They mistakenly believe that they are providing their progeny with opportunity; but that huge debt load is more likely to be come the anvil that will weigh the kid down for a lifetime.