Planning a key to avoid college debt

Aug. 20, 2013 @ 04:27 AM

As we head into the latter stages of August, a good number of Rutherford County teenagers are packing their cars or trucks, hugging siblings and kissing their parents goodbye.

They head off to a brand new world called college.

They go with the intent of experiencing a new chapter of life and taking in as much knowledge as possible.

We certainly hope they leave their journey in a few years with a degree and little debt.

But, a College Board survey released last week may make the last part of the hope more difficult than people realize.

The report analyzed tuition increases, student loan costs and other expenses associated with college. It said housing and food topped tuition for students attending two- and four-year public universities in their home states.

With that information, it can be assumed that those teenagers not going to college are going into the job market only to pay large amounts to live and eat as well. As Monday’s job statistics show, finding a job is not getting any easier.

That brings us back to education.

There is no shortage of news on college graduates having a tough time finding work, or work in their field, but we are still convinced the best and brightest days for our nation are seeded in educating children.

A side note to that is the importance of having educated parents on financing college.

There has been an increase in college graduates that have perhaps flooded the job market. But, if parents can’t get their children through college in the future, things may not be as bright on the horizon as we might think.

There is never a wrong time for parents to begin the education process on paying for college. There is also never a wrong time for parents to start the saving process.

Don’t misunderstand, there is not one solution that makes the most sense for everyone. There are parents who manage to get their children through college while sustaining the least amount of financial hardship as possible so there are solutions there.

A key factor is planning. Planning on where a student wants to go to further their education and planning on potential courses of study the student wants to pursue.

Over the last fiscal year, grants and tax benefits have been given to help soften the blow of ever-increasing college costs. In fact, there has been a nearly 10 percent increase in those benefits being made available over the last decade.

The biggest key is educating parents and students on solid, smart college financial planning.

Paying for college is never an easy undertaking but by encouraging forward-thinking and advanced planning, parents and students alike can see a benefit from a college education.

By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board


The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark