This past week, the University of Illinois Trustees approved a tuition increase. News outlets immediately began reporting that the 4 year expected cost of attending the university now tops $100,000. How can parents plan for this? I was recently interviewed by Adam Rife of WICD News Channel 15 regarding how parents can plan for these changes. I offer a few points to keep in mind regarding this change. This recent announcement of $100,000 expected cost is as much a psychological barrier as an actual one. Similar to your car rolling from 99,999 miles to 100,000, the perception changes much more than the actual mechanics. However, rising costs are a troubling trend for parents planning for college education. For many years, college costs have been rising at about double the rate of increases in the cost of living.
In order to plan for the rising cost of higher education, my best advice as I told Adam is:
I think the key is always starting early, and unfortunately, starting early for most parents means you have a young child and there are a lot of other expenses coming up.
There are two important factors in saving for the future: Time and Dollars Saved. The more you have of one factor, the less you need of the other. Start early and you can save less and end up with more.
You should also keep in mind that the "Sticker Price" of college may not actually reflect the actual cost of attending college. Matching your student's skills and interests with a university or college can help them qualify for higher amounts of financial aid, scholarships and grants. In some cases, a smaller college with higher tuition may offer a more generous aid package to a desirable student than a larger public institution. We have found that College Navigator is one excellent resource for researching schools.
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