I wish someone had warned them that this day was coming, or that it was going to be so hard. Last week was college admissions decision week. By now, high school seniors have learned they have been accepted at dream schools – their dream schools. They are also learning that they can’t go because the financial package didn’t come through or it wasn’t enough. One of our daughter’s friends has been accepted to six selective colleges and universities, any of which she would be thrilled to attend, but the friend is likely to stay in Maryland and enroll in-state. There just isn’t room in the family budget for the extra $55,000 for tuition and expenses, and the financial assistance she was expecting from the colleges has not materialized. Our daughter’s friend had a certain vision for her college experience, but the financial reality has brought it into focus.
What are kids supposed to do? What are parents supposed to do? We teach them to reach for the stars, but sometimes, when they are lucky enough to grab one, we tell them they have to throw it back. I feel for the kids – all those years of hard work geared toward an impressive college admission, and once achieved, rendered useless. I feel for the parents – who are surely working hard, earning a living for their families, but unable to cover the costs of private colleges. Something has gone terribly crooked on this road to higher education. Sadly, the only road sign some kids are seeing right now is “STOP.”