Myth: Parents must protect their children from college financing decisions

Ryan Lane, Senior Editor, American Student Assistance 

The college selection process is complex and stressful, and many parents fail to discuss the long-term financial ramifications of taking on student loan debt with their children. In today’s episode, Kathleen and Ryan discuss how many parents try to protect their children by not talking about money, but do the family a disservice by not engaging in this important and enlightening conversation. Ryan offers tips for involving your children in the college funding decision-making process and how doing so can help them avoid huge student loan debt when they graduate from school. 

Take Aways: 

  1. Start the college application process early by involving your children in the FAFSA process and talking about different ways to finance their education, such as loans, grants, scholarships, and good old hard work.
  2. Schedule a money talk with your children to discuss the FAFSA results, repayment schedule, how it may affect their college choice. Create a mock budget to demonstrate the long-term, real-life impact of each of the funding options.
  3. When discussing this topic with recent graduates, encourage them to pay down student loans faster by making an extra payment per year. Have your child calculate the amount of money saved by avoiding additional interest expenses. Then brainstorm all the other ways they could use this cash. For example, if you save $1000 in interest expense, what could you buy instead? A long weekend in Bermuda comes to mind?!

Guest Bio:

Ryan Lane is the Senior Editor, at the national nonprofit American Student Assistance. In his role, he oversees the development of articles, infographics, course materials for the organization’s free education finance support program: Salt. Working with internal and external subject matter experts, Ryan creates content that simplifies the world of college financing and helps families successfully plan for, pay for, and repay higher education expenses. Over the past three years, he has written about student loans as a co-author of the U.S. News & World Report Blog “The Student Loan Ranger.” For more information about Ryan and the ASA, visit http://www.asa.org/.