Can We Afford to Send Our Kids to College? Do We Even Know What It Costs?

Dear Mr. Dad: Our son is a high-school senior. He’s a good student and wants to go to college next year. Seems odd to be worrying about this already, but there’s no way we can afford to send him to the places he’s looking at. My husband lost his job, I’m working only part time, and we weren’t able to put enough into our son’s college account as we’d hoped. What should we do?

A: Welcome to the dizzying world of college finances. In every other generation in recent history, children have done better than their parents. They get more education, have better jobs, make more money, and live longer. Until now. Children growing up today are in the first generation that will be doing worse than their parents in just about every measurable area. And perhaps the most obvious sign of this changing tide is how families are adjusting their college dreams.

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