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Options for Higher Education

Back-to-School Strategies for Staying Out of Debt

Will Changes in Credit Reporting Affect You?

What to do if your medical bills are turned over to collections

What to do if your spouse can't pay his or her bills

What to do when a family member ruins your credit

Homeownership is possible

What you need to know about the IRS and collection agencies

Will being turned down for a store credit card hurt my credit?

Beware of credit repair

Debt Management versus Debt Settlement

How to get ahead of late fees

Is There a Service That Helps You Not Pay Bills

Is a Debt Owed

Patience is the key to furnishing a new home

How to split expenses with your partner

Will my boyfriend's bad credit affect me?

Tax filing options to consider

What to do if your account is turned over to collections

Celebrating Valentine's Day on a budget

Personal Credit and Starting a Business

Finding Money to Reduce Your Debt and Improve Your Credit

Simple Keys to Personal Finance

Be vigilant to avoid telephone and internet scams

Debt Settlement

Understanding credit utilization

Setting New Year's goals that you can keep

The pros and cons of skipping a payment

Strategies for Financially Surviving the Holidays

Creating a fun and memorable holiday on a budget

Keep an open line of communication with parents about their finances.

Make a Choice to Get Ahead Financially

What to do when a relative asks you for money

Should You Buy a Home Now or Wait?

The difference between debt settlement and debt management

Tax Refund Delays for some in 2017

The negative impact of paying a payment 30 days late

Stressed by Finances

How to navigate two significant financial decisions: starting a family and buying a home

How to advise someone close to you who is coming into a significant amount of money

Make a Conscious Decision on How to Spend Your Money

Tips for Back-to-School Shopping

How do you know if you have a good credit score?

Americans spend more money eating out than on groceries

Having Good Credit Saves You Money

Developing good money habits with your first job

How to save for a home

How to Know if you are Ready for Home Ownership

When is the right time to buy a home?

You can improve your credit to buy a home

Plan a Memorable Vacation Without Incurring Debt

The Hidden Costs of Payday Loans

Be Wary of Credit Repair Services

Use Caution when playing the credit card game

What does it mean to say bankruptcy gives you a clean slate?

How your credit is affected by various debt options

Be wary of predatory small business loans

What to do if you fall behind on mortgage payments

Financing a College Education

Money, Credit and Relationships

Should you be concerned with your date's credit scores?

Best options for a small, short-term loan

How to help a relative who is always borrowing money from you

Setting New Year's goals that you can keep

Making the holidays memorable for families on a tight budget.

Skipping a Payment over the Holidays

What to do if you are overwhelmed by medical bills

Make your financial intention a financial goal you can achieve

Should Consumers Use the New EMV Cards?

What to do when a collector calls you

The difference between paying bills and managing your money

My wife and I have gone through some tough financial times, which eventually led us to file for bankruptcy.  Following this experience, I don’t ever want to use credit again, but my wife

What do I need to know to pay ahead on my mortgage?

What to do if you get an unsolicited credit card in the mail

What to do when moving in to share expenses doesn't work out

Options for Higher Education

Q. Our daughter wants to go to an out-of-state college. We cannot help her financially, so she will need to borrow the money to fund her education. Since she will be paying her own way, I feel that she can choose whatever college she wants.  However, her father disagrees with me on this.  How can we help our daughter make a wise decision?

A. Not that long ago, it was customary to advise a young person to go to college and to borrow all the money necessary to fund his or her education. The idea was that a college graduate would quickly earn enough money to pay back his or her loans, with plenty to spare. But due to a shifting economy and a new educational landscape, that advise no longer rings true.  

With the rising cost of college tuition, it isn’t uncommon for students to have as much as $50,000 in student loan debt. Some even shoulder more than $100,000. Few careers can support this kind of debt load, which can make repaying loans a Sisyphean task. And to complicate matters, filing bankruptcy on student loan debt usually isn’t an option. In other words, no matter what is happening in her life, your daughter will have to repay what she borrows.

I encourage you to help your daughter understand the challenges of funding an education, and some of them are more nuanced than you might imagine. It might help if you explain that choosing to attend a university or vocational school is essentially a business decision. Vocational schools and colleges are themselves businesses, offering a “product” to your daughter.

Just as a person would do his or her research when buying a car or a home, so too should a person research higher education options. Of course, your daughter needs to consider the cost of getting an education, but she also needs to look beyond the immediate costs of tuition and fees. She needs to know what kind of degree she will need to work in her chosen field, the average starting salary she can expect to receive, where she will need to live in order to work in her field and the job outlook for the next 5 to 10 years after she graduates. She must also consider the placement rate for that college for the degree she is seeking. These aren’t necessarily easy issues to consider, but your daughter needs to know that the degree she is seeking will bring her a return on the debt she will be incurring.

The end goal is to get an education that will provide your daughter with a job with good pay and solid benefits, in a field she is interested in, with the least amount of debt.  To incur less debt, your daughter would be better off choosing an in-state college. If she were certain that her credits would transfer, she could commit to a school closer to home for the first two years and then reevaluate her plans. If she can attend college while living at home, she will save a substantial amount on dormitory and meal costs.  If she can work during the summers and part-time during the school year, she can also take out fewer student loans. 

Higher education is an investment that warrants careful consideration. I encourage you to help your daughter sort through her options so that she understands that the educational decisions she makes will ripple out into her life, long after she receives her diploma.

Bonnie Spain is the executive director of the American Center for Credit Education and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Black Hills. For more information, email acce@acce-online.com.

The material in this transmission is provided for personal, non-commercial, educational, and informational purposes only. ACCE makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this transmission and assumes no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistency herein. You should consult a professional where appropriate.