What Your Parents Don't Have the Heart to Tell You

Being accepted to college is probably one of the greatest feelings, knowing that you’ve accomplished something so memorable. Being accepted to your ‘number one’ college is probably the next greatest feeling, knowing that you’ve reached your goals.

Hopefully you have supportive parents that are willing to let you decide where you truly want to attend college. My parents were always there for me, telling me that ultimately it was my decision to go where I wanted to. Ever since I had visited campus the very first time, I knew, without a doubt, that I was going to attend Roger Williams University.

After being accepted, I knew that my heart was already set to go there, but I had to weigh the consequences. Since I am a marine biology major, not many schools in the New England area provide that as a major, so my selection was slightly limited. Another school that was under my serious consideration cost just as much as Roger Williams, so other factors determined my decision between the two. However, tuition here at RWU is approximately $46,000, not exactly pocket change for someone from an average middle class family. Although I had done exceptionally well in high school, and had received a decent merit scholarship as a result, the remaining balance was still a scary, large number. I knew that there was no other school I wanted to attend, based on how much I loved it here and their marine biology program. Ultimately, I did decide to attend RWU and my parents stood behind my choice.

Although my parents always supported me, during the decision process, they also played the devil’s advocate. They would present the idea of how am I going to pay for four years of tuition, which is approximately $190,000, or close to the cost of a small house. I knew they were willing to pay for as much of the total cost as possible, but chances are good that I’ll still be paying those bills by the time they die. I told them, and myself, that I wasn’t concerned about the cost because I was going to be doing what I loved in life as a career. Also, I knew deep down inside that my heart was set on attending Roger Williams and I didn’t want to hear anything else. I think I also convinced myself, somehow, that it really wasn’t that expensive.

Little did I know that once I reached college and got to see the Bursar bills and loan payments, I would soon regret choosing to go to such an expensive school. Knowing that I truly am on my own from here on out, pretty much, the thought of such owing a tremendous amount of money scared me. I tried for the longest time to attempt to justify this to myself by saying that it wouldn’t have mattered because any other schools with marine biology programs were just as expensive.

First semester of school I’m pretty sure I thought about transferring almost everyday, with the cost being the main factor of my thoughts. I know now that I’m happy here at RWU, and although I have no intentions of transferring anymore, I probably should have chosen to go somewhere more affordable. Knowing that my parents have yet another monthly bill they have to pay for me breaks my heart because I know I’m responsible. I do understand some people may not feel this way, but my parents and I are very close so things like that bother me.

So all in all, you may think you know that your parents will always support you, but deep down inside they might wish you make a different choice when it comes to college. I can honestly say that I do not believe that my parents had the heart to tell me not to attend Roger Williams; yes, they may have obviously shown me very good reasons why I should go somewhere else, but they never directly said no, because ultimately it was my decision. Regret isn’t a word that I use often, but when it comes to the cost of attendance here I absolutely regret not going to a school that is more affordable.

My advice to those deciding on a college and are concerned about it from a financial standpoint: make sure that you consider all aspects. Mainly, make sure you understand just how much it’s going to cost you, your parents, or both. Obviously make sure that the school offers the program you are looking for, and be sure that you feel like you belong at that school. Picking which colleges to apply to is the easy part, picking which college you want to attend is what needs the most consideration.

Read more College Financial Aid Tips from other students and parents who have been through process.

Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you for sharing your story about picking which college you want to attend. Your advice to consider all aspects is very important. A huge student loan debt is a big burden, whether it is paid by the student or parent. Best of luck to you.

Paying for your kids college and setting them up for the big move when they graduate!

(by Lourdes, New Jersey)

One of the great tips that I suggest parents seek out for college tuition is first making a decision to look at in state colleges and universities for their child. This process should begin as early as ninth grade and no later than December of junior year. Visiting colleges early allows for you and your child to get the feel and experience college.

Our daughter attending a state college/university has allowed my husband and me to pay for my daughter's college through a payment plan and a minimal loan each year. Also, living at home and leasing a car at the rate of $9,000 for 3 years as oppose to $14,000 or more for room board and meals. This plan is set up so that our daughter can graduate with her undergraduate degree and complete her Master's degree within a five-year period with loans no more than $25,000 to $30,000.

The goal here is so that when she graduates she can move out on her own and purchase a home of her own and then take out a home loan that will be an investment. The money that she will save on student loans will be beneficial in being able to afford to live on her own when she graduates.

Paying off her loan at the rate of $420.00 a month for 6 years will be the goal. This will allow her to be student loan debt free 6 years after graduating college having her bachelor and master degrees.

Student loan forgiveness is a great idea, but this plan does not work for every major/career track. A student loan is an investment into the future it should NOT be a financial death sentence, which many of the young people going to college today are faced with! The goal of a college education is to be marketable in the career path that one chooses not a death trap in the system of loans.

The first step in the financial process is to complete the Free Financial Aid Free Application form online and submit all the financial documentation that is required to be considered for grants, loans and scholarships. The omission of this application will delay and disqualify you and your child for money for college. As parents we must advocate and manage our children’s future goals and dreams and diligently seek out funds to offset the cost of college. From one parent to another, let’s continue to encourage greatness in our children!

Read more College Financial Aid Tips from other students and parents who have been through process.

Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Lourdes for sharing your tips on paying for your kids college and setting them up for the big move when they graduate. There are many kids out there with $100,000 or more in student loan debt who wish they had taken your advice. Best of luck to you and your kids.

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