Considering the Cost of College with Your Teen

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Talking to your teen about the cost of their college education can be vital in how the price of higher education can impact your wallet now and their finances into adulthood. Early conversations on the cost of college can proactively allow you and your teen to make more informed decisions around the many different costs that factor into furthering their education.

Choosing a school that is right for you

As your child begins their research into the right school to further their education, one thing that you should talk about is cost. While knowing what degree programs a school offers is critical, understanding the price tag of a particular school is a meaningful conversation to have early.

Several factors can contribute to the tuition of a particular college or university. These factors include the type of degree programs they offer, whether they are a public or private school, or in-state, or out-of-state. As you and your child consider the right fit for their education, remember to compare costs and weigh all your options.

Costs extend beyond tuition

When it comes down to the cost of college, you will quickly find there is much more to consider than the price of tuition. Now that we have a better understanding of the varying costs across schools, it’s even more important to understand the figures beyond base tuition. It is common to find that students who attend a 4- year college or university will have much more to pay than just the price per credit to complete a course. Two of the most common add-ons that come at a considerable cost would be student housing and meal plans. When researching your options, talk about these costs with your student and impact the overall financial impact.

While there are a few more significant ticket items to consider, it’s also essential to have a conversation around some of the other factors contributing to the total cost of higher education. Books, parking permits, lab fees, school supplies are just a few things that can come as a shock if they are not part of the conversation around cost. In the 2019-2020 school year, the average undergraduate student spent about $1,240 on textbooks alone, so you and your teen must talk about these types of costs and how to create a plan to cover them.

Cost-saving considerations

When it comes to finding the right school, the location could provide meaningful savings in the long-run. If they decide to attend a college or university within your state, talk about if they will live on campus or consider the option of commuting from home and how that can influence the price of their education. Another popular option is to consider attending a community college first before transferring to a 4-year school. Asking questions and considering all options can help your teen make an educated and well-informed decision on where they attend.

There are many factors that you and your teen should talk about when it comes to their decision to further their education. The cost of higher education can significantly impact your teen’s finances later in their lives in the form of student loans. But talking early about these things can encourage your teen to make informed and financially healthy decisions. Early intervention can reassure your student in their decision and can give you peace of mind in the investment you both are making into their future.

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