Playing the College Game

Planning for college is an important issue to consider during divorce mediation.   Often people hope that their children will attend college.  However, they are unsure about how the expenses will be paid.

Ruth Simon’s article, “Playing The College Game,” (Wall Street Journal pg. B7 12/22-23/2012) contains lots of practical advice. For instance,  to increase your child’s chance of receiving merit aid, Simon recommends that students apply to colleges, “where their grades and test scores  put him or her in the top 25% or 50% of the the class.”

Simon’s article contain some statistics that  are cause for optimism.  “…almost 86% of first-time full-time freshmen at private nonprofit colleges and universities received some type of grant in 2011.”  She encourages parents to think beyond freshman year.  If a student receives a grant in his/her first year, is it likely that the grant will be renewed for the next 3 years?  How will the increases in fees and tuition be handled? 

After divorce, financing college can be particularly challenging.    If your child does not receive adequate financial aid, you can consider an appeal. “One option is to show that the offer didn’t account for special financial circumstances.”   Divorce may create special financial circumstances.   For example, parents need to pay for two residences.  Health insurance premiums are often  higher. 

Simon’s practical advice helps divorced or separated parents find colleges that are a good fit, financially and academically, for their children.

Sheila Russian is a divorce mediator in Baltimore, Maryland.  For more information : www.baltimoremediationservices.com

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