Chapter 16. The Real Cost of College

A financial services firm once aired a commercial that showed a premature baby in a hospital bed with all sorts of monitors attached to her, and her distraught father leaning over her. The doctor points out to the father that it will cost a fortune to send the child to college, and he should be glad she's premature, because that gives him more time to save up. This is shameful! It is much easier to send a child to college than the financial services industry would have us believe.

I'm not saying that the costs of a college education are not enormous—the numbers can prompt chest pains in the healthiest of parents, and we'll talk more about this in just a moment—but I am always surprised at the number of children and parents who do not use the numerous options for some form of financial aid.

For example, you are eligible for certain types of grants if you do community service, regardless of your financial background. What a great way to teach kids about philanthropy! Many internships offer education grants. There are grants available for those interested in various sectors of the medical field.

Life Planning opens up the idea that how your children's education gets paid for is part of their education. In addition, studies have shown that children take higher education much more seriously if they pay for a portion of it. Perhaps targeting a grant in an area of interest and working to fulfill its obligations would allow your children to make a financial ...

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