Start planning early for college costs

“Experts say parents and students should start shopping for colleges when a student is a sophomore in high school, and they should include price as one of the chief factors. Often, parents defer to their children’s college choices, regardless of the cost. Families should be savvy about finding financial aid, and students should know going in how much debt they’ll have upon graduation. Total debt should be less than a student’s expected starting salary, one expert says.”
I highly recommend this article for parents of college bound kids: Debt can trump dreams: Experts say to start planning early for college costs
By Amy McConnell Schaarsmith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 16, 2012
“When deciding between colleges, most families should consider cost, and their own financial realities, to make a sensible choice that will make everyone happier in the long run, according to college finance experts.” I especially like this perspective on student loan debt:
“Before you spend student loan money on anything, double the price and ask yourself if you would still buy it at twice the price, because that’s what it’s ultimately going to cost you,” Mr. Kantrowitz said. “That $10 pizza just became a $20 pizza … but if you live like a student while in school, you won’t have to live like a student after graduation.”
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