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  • Writer's pictureDr. Thom

Please Give Your Student a Budget for the College Search

Updated: Feb 20, 2020

Photo by Didier Weemaels on Unsplash

Imagine being assigned a major, potentially career-making project that will be seen and scrutinized throughout your entire company, without knowing the budget of the project. I mean, there is a budget, someone knows what it is for your project. They’re just not going to tell you. Kind of like flying blind right? Not sure how to evaluate the options right? Exactly, because in most adult settings, staying within some sort of budget is a condition of successfully meeting an objective.

That is exactly the position in which most families put their adolescents when searching for colleges: evaluate all of these choices and then let us know which ones you like and we’ll let you know if we can afford it. Most parents with whom meet are quietly panicked that their child will be academically able to attend a college that they will not be able to afford. That’s why we sit down with every family that works with us for a family budgeting meeting in which everyone, student included, knows what kind of net price (total cost of attendance minus financial aid) is in range.

Can you think of many major adult decisions that are made without a single consideration for cost and affordability? I can’t.

Knowing which options are affordable to the family empowers the young person to make confident decisions because he or she knows that the family will be on firm financial ground, no matter which college he or she chooses. Keep in mind that there are over 4,000 unique colleges and universities in the U.S.; some cutting down on the list is a good thing. Besides, we need them to see first-hand the role that a budget plays in adult decision-making. When they graduate and get a job, we want them to know that while that super trendy loft apartment in the hip part of town may be amazing, if they cannot afford it, it is not an option.

Not working with us yet? Feeling stressed by the college search process? Let's chat.

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