The college admission season is winding down at this time of year except for this part:
Parents are stressing about how they’re going to pay for the college that their children want to attend.
Spring is when I hear from parents who are being guilted by their children to spend dangerously more than they should for a brand name research university.
I heard a story recently from a concerned dad in Virginia that fits this pattern.
Here’s some background:
- The Virginia parents are retired, but have a high Expected Family Contribution, which means the formula says the household can afford to pay full price even at the most expensive colleges.
- Their youngest child is a smart teenager, who received acceptances from Cornell University, University of Southern California and University of Virginia.
- Being from a high-income house, she qualified for no financial aid from Cornell, which doesn’t provide merit scholarships.
- She received a $10,000 merit scholarship from USC, but that would barely nick the price of this school which would cost the parents roughly $300,000 for a single bachelor’s degree.
- University of Virginia, with in-state tuition, would be the affordable option for the couple.
- After putting two kids through college already, the parents have just $40,000 saved up for this third child.
What the teenager wants
Despite the difficult economic reality, this teenager believes she is owed the opportunity to attend her first choice – USC – because she worked hard in high school. Here is what her dad shared:
Our daughter wants to go to USC and is amenable to going to UVA but not happy about it. She feels like she will be with her high school classmates and that she worked hard to have a chance with USC and Cornell and would be falling back to UVA. Of course, I’ve tried to let her know how fortunate she is to have UVA as an option – fabulous school.