How Do I Become an Educated, College-Bound, High School Senior?

Millions of high school seniors are starting to apply to college, so there is no better time to demand strategic direction, guidance and instruction for students and their parents during the college research and planning stages…way before students commit to colleges and sign on the dotted-line for any student loans!

I teach in a high school that offers a college planning course as a senior-year elective during the fall semester…right on time to educate these students with online research and hands-on activities to support their individual career, educational and financial goals.

Here are a few of the topics we cover:

Financial Safety Schools – apply to one or two schools that are reasonably priced.  These schools can include state schools, local schools where students can live at home, community schools and junior colleges.

Cost of Room & Board – most schools charge over $10,000 per year for a dorm room and meal plan.  At New York’s SUNY schools, the actual cost of tuition (learning) is about $7,000 per year, but when you add the room and board and miscellaneous fees it does cost $100K for a bachelor’s degree.  An interested and motivated student may find that there is a strategy to get that state school education for less than $40,000 after all!

Monthly Payment (Auto Loan) Calculator – we recommend that students should not take out more than $40,000 in total student loans for an undergraduate degree.  Adhering to this guideline means that students and parents must be prepared to pay for the remaining balance out-of-pocket each year. Then, to bring home the point, student navigate to a simple, online, auto loan calculator where they compute the monthly loan payment for a 10 year, $40,000 loan at 5% interest which reflects a $332 per month payment…which for them equates to a car payment, entertainment budget, partial rent payment or potential savings.  Finally, students are given freedom to experiment with the loan calculator to really see how much they could be paying for those huge student loans, if they choose to sign on the dotted-line.

Once students and their parents become more savvy and educated shoppers, then colleges and universities will have to work harder to please and meet the needs of their customers.

Be well.

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