Making No Cents: the costs of college


Fiona Murphy, Reporter

College is a big transition for every teenager. For some, college means moving far away and starting a new journey of independence. However, for others, college is a few miles away from home, which means staying in their community and close to home. No matter what kind of transition college freshman go through, it’s a big change. Relationships change, academics change,  life changes. However, the one change that many college freshman and high school seniors are not prepared for is the significant amount of budgeting and financial planning they will have to do in order to prepare for college.

Many parents begin financial planning when their kids are in preschool. But families can’t always predict or plan for the way their lives change between the time that their kids are in diapers to the year that their kids proudly walk across the graduation stage and throw their sparkly graduation caps into the sky. “Students need to stat budgeting in high school, but their families need to start saving early on, like during the primary years.” says High School and Beyond Planning counselor, Mrs. Boelts. “Another thing high school students and their families need to look into is the different ways they can save, like 529 plans, GET program, or looking at financial aid calculators. Most colleges have financial aid calculators on their website. All students have to do is input their income and other financial factors, and the financial calculator will let you know how much money the college may be able to offer you. A free application for federal student aid should be completed by every senior October 1st of their senior year.” Financial planning pre – college is quite important because the financial planning can help prepare students for the financial changes college brings.

However, pre – college financial budgeting isn’t the only thing that students have to do. The other things students have to do is format a plan during college year on how to balance their finance and properly budget. Adapting is a very important skill in college because of the rapid changes that occur. Change for any reason can be really stressful. A period of someone’s life where lots of change occurs can be extremely challenging. That’s why planning ahead for college can be quite important.

While college is really stressful, there’s still help out there for students. In high school, there are specific classes devoted to college and college planning. “In my class, we mainly focus on the the planning for college and the future for all students.” says Mrs. Boelts. In the High School and Beyond Planning sessions, the focus is on post high school and preparing students for the future that will come. High School and Beyond planning starts really early, in 8th grade, so students can be especially prepared. Preparing early on is very important, which is part of the reason that many families start saving when their kids are really little, and start planning in freshman or sophomore year of highschool.

College is a very big transition for all students – no matter what college they attend, how far away it is, how they got there – no matter what, it’s a very big transition. One of the biggest transitions for high school seniors to college freshman is the financial impact that it will have on their lives.