In an Economy Rocked by a Downturn, What’s a Parent of a College Student to Do?

So What’s a Parent of a College Student to Do?

You still have Five Choices.

Most of us that got caught in the crunch of the recent economic nose dive have adjusted to the loss by settling in to wait for the market to recover. So, we wait for the next up swing bit we are talking several years.

If you are the parent of a college student or a high school junior or senior, you are probably scrambling trying to figure out what you are going to do. This is not how you planned it and your student is not going to want to wait a couple years.

Parents have been squirreling away money, investing in their child’s future by saving for their college education. In a short amount of time, the nest egg shrank.

These are the options that I see:

1. Community College. This is the best option. The student can always transfer later to the Ivy League School or the Big Name University after earning their required courses at the community college. The student will be more mature. They will learn all their lessons about attending class and being responsible without burning through a lot of money. The student can also live at home. Living expenses are 50% of the college expenses.

2. Trade Schools. Learn skills that can combine well with a college degree later. Your student may have a talent that can be developed quickly. I have known kids that went through a Beauty Academy and then cut hair when they went away to school. Boys that got apprenticeships in construction and then later got their engineering degree.

3. The student can work. College may look different but the degree is the same and the student will actually have more marketable skills when they graduate. They were entrepreneurial. Some kids do laundry for students; they baby-sit for professional families in the community. If they want the degree, they will find a way.

4. Join the Military. The military still remains a good option for some students. The experience and the maturity that a young adult has when they complete their military career is real. The benefits are great for pursuing education and skills training.

5. You can pretend that everything is okay and miss the opportunity to teach your child that there are always ups and downs. This is an important life skill. We always need a plan B.

Do not lose site of the goal. If your child wants that college degree, they will get it. Parents do a disservice by not being completely honest with their children. The depression happened. 9/11 happened. None of us plan for these kinds of events but we always survive them and come out stronger.