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The Cost Of College

graduate spencer

My nephew, the graduate.

I was recently talking to a friend who is sending her daughter to college in the fall, and I was shocked to learn it’s going to cost her and her husband 70k per year. Now, granted, her child will be going to a terrific (albeit traditionally expensive school) in one of the costliest parts of the country, but those kinds of numbers will soon become the norm everywhere. According to Cuna Mutual Group, college will cost 250k for state and 500k for private school when Annie goes to college in 2028. Gulp. Yikes. This freaks me out because even though we’ve planned for our kids’ futures, I’m not sure it will be enough.

Financial planning for college has always been part of our plan. We have a Schwaub account for both kids and also put a portion of the money we make blogging into trust accounts for the kids. Realistically speaking, though, if the above projections are true, it’s going to be very hard to save the astronomical numbers college will cost in 14-18 years.

There are, of course, student loans. I used them to pay for my college, and like many of my friends, these loans weren’t paid off until we were in our thirties. Paying for college into your thirties is hard enough, but with projected college costs so high for Annie and James, could our kids potentially be paying off their undergraduate educations into their forties or — gasp — even fifties?

You have to wonder if it’s even worth it. As college costs have gone up, we’ve seen the value of a college education go down. Gone are the days when a college degree guarantees a career. Even friends of mine who’ve graduated from top law schools are having trouble finding work.

I wonder how things will change by 2028. Will a lot of kids not go to college? I could also see a lot of kids — perhaps even the majority — doing college online. If that’s what’s best for my kids, then that’s what’s best, but I do feel sad thinking they might miss out on the college experience. Going to classes and rallies, making friends, late night pizza and study sessions, etc.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this college stuff moving forward, trying to do what’s best for my kids, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a stress and huge concern for years/decades to come. It’s sad that the cost of college will be a deterrent for so many. It’s strange to think that going to college might not be what’s best, in the long run.


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