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Why in the world do we ask our seniors in high school to sign up for an expensive college...

Why in the world do we ask our seniors in high school to sign up for an expensive college...

February 06, 2015

Why in the world do we ask our seniors in high school to sign up for an expensive college education without teaching them about financial terms?

Provided by Kim Gaxiola

This is the biggest title for a blog post I’ve ever made. I’m hoping it creates a dialog that goes viral and does our children some good. If you haven’t noticed I’m passionate about this subject. Today is my daughters 13th birthday and I realize she will have to make a decision to fly the coop in 5 years and I want her to be prepared to do it financially. A few years ago I told my daughter that when she is 18 she had to go to college or move out. I can’t believe that was so memorable to this day she thinks that’s the way it is. Ha – be careful what you wish for, right – now I’ve got to come up with college tuition.

I could hope she goes easy on us and goes to a public school in our resident state CA where education is relatively cheaper than other places. But – hope is never a good investment plan, nor is it a college savings strategy either. Being that I’m a planner and need to understand how I will make a college education happen for my kids, I’m setting boundaries on their education. In other words, I’m budgeting for about $20,000 per year for my kids college education expenses for 4 years each. After 4 years they are on their own. That’s what I can afford with the existing savings I have for them and any additional money I can contribute from my income. I’m planning on telling them that in high school so they have an idea of what to expect for college. If they want to go to a more expensive school, the rest is on them. This is the number I’ve come up with, what’s yours? If you’re a parent and have a college bound child – come up with the number that doesn’t touch your retirement accounts quickly and plan to make it happen.

Knowing my daughter, she has expensive taste. She’s probably going to want to go to a private university that won’t be covered by my budget, then what? I will support her 100%. By support I mean helping her find the additional resources to make it there. What I don’t mean is spending more of my own money then what I’ve budgeted for her. I will also provide her with the financial education she needs to make sure that she values the additional cost coming from her own pocket enough to commit to it. What I worry about is will she understand what kind of job she will need to get after college in order to pay off the loans and support herself in the career of her choice when she graduates. This brings up the question for my title. Wow. Why is it that our government is the largest lender for college loans and the largest provider of primary education and still hasn’t mandated a course in high school that discusses real world finances? What a disconnect? No wonder the government gets stiffed and has to forgive so many student loans. We teach them to borrow money when they aren’t even adults. Then we teach them how to get their loans forgiven after college*. This is poor advice. Why is society telling our kids to sign on the dotted line for a college education that could make them indebted to our government without giving them the resources to understand what they are signing away. Do you wonder why the governments’ finances are not so good? Why are we forgiving so many student loans and still not creating an education system to teach them about real world money issues?
Think about it. If you want a reverse mortgage, the government says you have to be counseled before you can get one. Before you get your drivers license when you are 16, you have to take a class on Basic State Requirements before you can get your drivers permit or license. Shouldn’t we include in high school the same resources to teach our kids about how to read a paycheck, a loan note, a household budget, and what real world salaries look like before we ask them to make a commitment to go to a university that could make them in debt for the majority of their lives? What do you think?

* – This is part of a federal government site where they give information on federal student loan forgiveness.

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