August 19, 2010
Helping Your Child Graduate on Time Can Save You Money
When many families prepare for financing a child’s college education, they base their plan on the expectation that their child can graduate in four years. However, the time to graduation may be longer. This can mean a significantly higher total cost for a college education.
The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) tracked the progress of first-time students seeking a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and attending a four-year institution full-time in the 2000-01 school year. It found that only 36 percent of these students graduated from college within four years. And only 57.5 percent of undergraduates who began that year had attained a degree or certificate six years later, in 2007.
Evaluate the likelihood that your child can graduate in four years. Ask yourself:
- Is my child a good student who works hard in school and is serious about an education?
- How clearly defined are my child’s goals?
- Does the college offer advising services for scheduling required classes, so my child can take the ones needed to graduate on time?
Then sit down to make a realistic financial plan. Try to anticipate your costs if you feel your child may need to an extra year or two to complete a degree.