College Planning 101


Author: Stacy Hanley 


In 1992, I had to make a decision on where to go to college. My parents wanted me to attend my home state university, The University of Georgia. This made sense logically since it was close by, the tuition was $4,000/year, and I had been awarded a scholarship which would pay for half of that tuition. But alas,  I wanted to go further away from home and attend my dream school, Washington and Lee University,  which was over 13,000/year. 


My parents and I had many serious discussions about this decision as my dad’s homebuilding company was in the midst of a real estate recession and my parents were really concerned about how they would pay for a W&L tuition, room and board, etc. However, I believed that I had worked far too hard in high school to not choose my dream school.


After much deliberation, we found a happy medium. My dad told me that in order to make my dream a reality, we were all going to have to make sacrifices — that included me selling my car to pay the 1st semester tuition, which is exactly what I did. During my freshman year at W&L, my dad would send me handwritten notes of gentle reminders like “Remember, you’re there for an education, not an experience.” As time went by and my dad saw that I was pulling the grades, his notes encouraged me to have some fun, but always with a caveat: “Work hard, play hard, but be good” was one such note. 



I still remember going to lunch with my parents during my graduation weekend in 1996.  My dad turned to me and said “Many people measure their success in different ways — my success is that you graduated from W&L and I paid for it.”


Flash forward 30 years, and my son Colin is starting his senior year and looking at colleges.  The W&L tuition my family sacrificed to pay those years ago has gone up 300% since 1996. Multiply that amount by my 3 kids, and the number is nothing short of terrifying.


I am sure that I am not the only parent who has concerns about paying for college. If you are a parent like me, or maybe even a grandparent who wants to contribute towards education, then you came to the right place.


In my recent webinar, I sat down with one of the best experts on the subject of paying for college, Kathryn Edmunds of Renn Wealth Management. To hear our discussion on the best practices for saving for your child’s tuition ahead of time and the estate planning updates you should make as soon as your child turns 18, watch the recording of our presentation here