Well…now what do you do? Your almost adult has been accepted to a college or university. The tuition $$$, room and board $$ and meals $…but, but…what about spending money, the cost of transportation…STARBUCKS!!!
While you are calculating the cost of college don’t forget about all of the extras. If you had the forethought and means to save for college for your children then you are ahead of the game. If not you will, most likely, have to come up with a variety of grants, scholarships and loans to pay tuition. This is not the end of the world, you can still send your child to college; it may just wind up being a little more difficult or stressful. I am not a professional scholarship coordinator so I will take a pass on dispensing advice here. Check with the college or university and they will have a list of deadlines and information dates…follow those closely and hopefully sports, grades or community service will help your child get some scholarship money.
The subject I can offer some insight on is the ‘extras’ associated with college. Help your child learn to plan by starting with a wish list of things they ‘have’ to have to function in their almost adult life. A Keurig, microwave, new sheet set, LCD TV and a new computer seem to be have to haves for a lot of college. Whittle that list down to what they actually need and start allocating money to pay for it. Also, before you buy an appliance or TV make sure they check with their soon to be room mate(s) to see if the burden can be shared, it only make sense that one person bring the coffee pot and someone else picks up a cube fridge, you certainly do not want duplicates of expensive items. Also, some of the necessities can be put on a gift list for those relatives that want to purchase a graduation gift.
Most colleges will send you an estimate of first year costs. My daughter’s school came in about $9,000 above tuition, which, of course, made me throw up in my mouth a little. This number was derived from student input, meal plan costa and transportation estimates. I gave her a goal for the amount of money to be saved by the end of her senior summer ($3,500), which should get her through books and fees. I decided that one third of the tuition (the first third) would be her responsibility but that the scholarships would go towards her third first and both parents would split the other two thirds. More full disclosure, I have been divorced for a decade so I have decided some of this on my own because I had no input from her other parent. I decided that she would also have to work out spending money. I am of the opinion that there is no allowance for college, I am pro care package and anti cash…feel free to disagree…we are in America after all!
Get ready to run over these hurdles, hundred of thousands of people attend college every year…most of them seem just fine.