Mandi Woodruff recently wrote an article for Yahoo titled “The college affordability dream is dead for these students.” The article focuses on college financial planning, college affordability and the rising cost of student debt. The author describes a NYU student who makes a conscious decision to drop out of college rather than continue to accrue loan debt to finish her degree.
At College Affordability we believe that parents and students need to change their perceptions of getting a college degree. Just as in buying a car or a home, proper planning and research needs to be done before the final decision is made. A common mistake that families make is to focus on the admission process and fail to see the end-result of the education. The best college fit decision will include the college environment, academic strength and cost.
Maximizing your educational financial resources requires proper planning and strategies. It is helpful to have someone help you sort through the complexity of the process and explain how certain decisions will affect other areas of the college funding process and your personal financial life. One of the strategies we do at College Affordability is a four-year analysis on paying for college. In the story above, the reality of this decision would have been realized before the final college decision was made.
Could focusing on the overall educational outcome have helped our NYU student? I believe it would have. Our four-year analysis would have enabled this family to see how the $60,000 in the college fund would be allocated. It would have identified the debt level needed to attend NYU and found strategies to maximize their resources. The NYU student would not have had to wait until the end of sophomore year to realize that she could not afford this school unless a large student debt was amassed. Would she have chosen a more affordable school? We do not know but at least she would have been an informed consumer on the front end and avoided the stress leading up to her final decision.
In the story above, this family made a $260,000 decision. Many students and parents overlook the complexity of the entire college funding process. Proper financial planning and college comparison needs to be done to avoid this unfortunate situation.