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Personal Experiences: Paying for College

Personal Experiences: Paying for College

| February 03, 2022

College planning can be overwhelming. My first child, Alex, wanted to live at home and be a commuter.  That created very limited options. The research was brief and the process simple and easy. We got through our first FAFSA painlessly.  He is at Oglethorpe University, a small private school in Atlanta. I never would have thought a private school would be in our budget.

We learned from personal experience they often give LARGE merit scholarships. Merit scholarships are based on test scores and GPAs in high school as opposed to need based which are based on your income and assets.  My second son, Jack, wants to go away to college to live on campus putting us in a group of people known as “merit chasers” as we look for what will be the best fit for him AND our budget. Since the cost of college has gone up disproportionately to inflation and other goods and services there are now specialized college planners who can help with the process. They all have different services and pricing including some who help with essay writing, the application process, and narrowing the college search, and/or who help guide your child towards a career path that might be best suited for them and/or focus on reducing your bottom line! 

Expectations are important. I suggest you talk to your children about family expectations when they are young. If your child hears that attending an in-state college is more practical financially, especially when tied to the HOPE Scholarship if you live here in GA, they may not start having fantasies about heading to the University of Hawaii and spending their free time surfing the beach.  And don’t rule out that community college and trade schools are wonderful options as well.  Are you feeling overwhelmed? Or just want to get a head start on the planning? We are here to help. Contact us here.