Saturday, March 14, 2015

NYT's Columnist Frank Bruni Addresses "College Admissions Mania"

We need more messengers like Frank. In a post titled "It's OK", Bruni shares stories of two students from elite high schools with hopes of the Ivies but admission only to "lesser" schools. Initially distraught both students made the best of their opportunities. Now in their mid-twenties, each has flourished. 

Bruni's post ends with a touching letter from two parents to their son, written as he anxiously awaited acceptance decisions. Every child should be so fortunate to have parents like these. In a similar vein, Our Plan includes two "mad-lib" type emails for parents and students that imagine life 5 years after graduation, and reflect on the path that led there.

As Bruni implies, way too much emphasis is placed on college admission - and acceptance at any price; often to the detriment of the life after college that is actually the ultimate point. Thank you Mr. Bruni!

Frank Bruni, is a columnist for The New York Times Opinion and author of the new book "Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania". 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Student Loans and the Economy

Welcome to my new blog on keeping college affordable - one family at a time.

A NYT article today echoed what others have speculated: student debt may be stunting economic growth. Suze Orman, Mark Cuban (Shark Tank), and even Fidelity Investments have raised this flag in recent months.

It is painful enough to see Brandon and Haley struggle to pay back their own student loans and also launch a career and adult life. But what happens when our collective debt impacts the whole economy?

As a former HR VP I've had too much experience with the worst case business scenario when the economy fails to grow or tanks: missed revenue goals, hiring freezes, and eventually layoffs...the upshot of which is fewer dollars for parents to fund college and fewer jobs for new grads. The irony is astounding and sad - but not hopeless.

Families who have already over-borrowed have few options other than to just pay. Families who have yet to over-borrow can pause and ask themselves, "What can WE afford for college right now?"

The only time to ensure you don't over borrow is before committing to big loans. The rest is speculation. So speculate carefully.

See you again soon!