The past month blatantly exposed egregious transgressions secretly embedded in America’s elite university system. It has always been common knowledge that the privileged use influence in subtle ways to gain advantages for their children in college planning and admissions. However, the blatant and arrogant disregard for merit, intellect and work ethic within America’s colleges undermines the post-secondary education system and must be addressed for families contemplating the cost of sending their children to college. Families should not dismiss how that cost can be integrated within a comprehensive financial strategy to plan from early childhood.

Media articles repeatedly tell us of the insurmountable student debt suffered by today’s graduate students and how long that debt takes to be repaid. For families who want to offer their children the benefits of a college education but are not part of America’s 1% or don’t have access to the relationships that influence admissions through parental and family donations, more cost effective strategies exist to help your children. Several considerations and ideas to consider when assessing the cost of sending your child to college include:

  • Does your state’s university system offer reciprocity with another state’s colleges at equal or lower cost for the same or different degrees?
  • How do you choose the right 529 Plan to save for your child’s college education?
  • Does the prospect of buying a studio or condo for your child offer a better investment that could be recouped after four years as opposed to college offered room and board?
  • Does a potential university guarantee completion within four years through efficient and adequately available course sequencing? Or does the university and its administrators attempt to protract the process of degree completion for the university’s own profit and benefit?
  • Will your child’s selected degree and college offer him/her the professional flexibility now requisite in a society that is geared more toward geographic mobility and frequent job changes?
  • Will the college and degree offer practical work experience before entering the job market?

Speaking from personal experience and having had the ability to choose between an “Elite” university or an established public university, I chose the latter and do not regret it in the least. Choosing the lower cost public institution allowed me to save the difference in cost which I then compounded throughout my college years to begin the process of investing with a long lead time. Not having a degree from an Ivy League or “Elite” university in no way impeded my ability to forge meaningful business relationships, pursue my own entrepreneurial efforts or financially secure my future from a very young age.

The real lesson and application for college education planning comes in the realization that hard work, perseverance and the ability to develop meaningful, lasting relationships throughout a person’s entire life will always trump any diploma from a branded “Elite” institution or acronym applied after a person’s name. The college years can be critical. Selecting the right institution and college payment plan to project your long-term financial picture can vitally save you the most precious commodity of all – TIME!

If you seek college financial advice or are uncertain about your investment portfolio, Scherschel Wealth Solutions would be pleased to offer you a complimentary analysis. Please contact Louis Scherschel to discuss further.