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Planning For College: Teens & Money

content ballI recently went to a conference where I had the privilege of attending a series of workshops on college planning.  Even though my oldest is not quite in high school, I figured it didn’t hurt to get some information on the planning process as I’m sure, like everything else, she will be heading off to college before we know it.

I had the pleasure of meeting Cheri Frame, founder of Credits Before College (http://www.creditsbeforecollege.com), who is an Education Consultant based in Minnesota.  Cheri spoke at length about the efforts that we take to help our children get a good education in high school so they can get into a good college, but we tend to stop there, forgetting about the “completion strategy” which should also include planning for our children to graduate college without insurmountable debt.

I know from personal experience that even having a scholarship does not guarantee a “get-out-of-college-free” card.  Initially I was on cloud-9 because my scholarships paid my tuition in full.  However, the tuition increased by about 11% every year and my scholarships did not keep pace with those increases.  As a result, I graduated with student loan debt in spite of the scholarships.

This leads me to another point Cheri made in her workshops, which is putting that degree to work.  When I graduated from college, I thought I had the world at my feet.  I was confident I could waltz through any set of open doors, show them my shiny new Bachelor’s Degree, command a salary that would meet all of my needs (and most of my wants), and hit the ground running.  Well, that didn’t exactly happen.  The job that I ultimately landed (no pun intended as my first job was as a flight attendant) had me living in New York City earning an annual salary of about $12,000!  Thankfully, there is something known as “deferment” of college student loans and I took full advantage of that option.

Things have not changed all that much for college grads today with the exception that their education is much pricier than mine was “several” years ago.  Even more disconcerting is the percentage of students that go off to college with the help of student loans, but do not graduate.  These students are now at a further disadvantage because they are holding a high school-level education with college-level debt.

This is why I am encouraging everyone I know to visit Mrs. Frame’s website and pass along the information from her website, even if you don’t have college-bound students at home.  There is a wealth of information on the website including the different ways to obtain college credit while still in high school, researching colleges and understanding their credit transfer policies, as well as the schedule of her speaking engagements.  If you are unable to get to one of her speaking engagements, there is also a “contact” tab to e-mail her directly with your questions.  Of course, if you happen to be in Minnesota, you can request a personal consultation.  She is passionate about getting kids in AND out of college without debt so they can focus on living out their dream!

“But don’t begin until you count the cost.  For who would begin construction of a building without first getting estimates and then checking to see if he has enough money to pay the bills?”  Luke 14:28

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