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Tuition Costs: In-State, Public, + Private

November 18, 2014

By Nikki Cecala

When I was in high school, I couldn’t wait to get out of my hometown. I wanted to live somewhere new and start fresh. I presume this is the feeling of most high school students. It’s a craving for an escape from the bubble of routine and normality. While going away to a 4-year college affords teens greater independence and exposure to these new experiences, it’s important to consider the tuition expenses and other costs.

Your teen can leave his or her hometown and attend several types of colleges. There are in-state public schools, out-of-state public schools, and private schools. Note that private colleges and universities often charge one tuition rate for all students regardless of where they reside, due to reduced state funding. Usually the cost of private institutions is significantly higher than public institutions. Attending an out-of-state public school could be less expensive than attending a private institution. In-state public schools are often a lower-cost alternative to the other two options.

Of course, the biggest expense regarding any type of college is tuition, but there are other costs to consider as well. Based on the College Board’s Trends in College Pricing 2013 report, I put this chart together to show you the cost difference in schools and where the money goes, from tuition and fees to room and board to books and school supplies. According to their research, the average cost difference between an in-state public school and a private school is over $24,000 a year!

Tuition Costs: In-State, Public, and Private | Total costs for in-state: $31,228; out-of-state: $45,638; private: $55,587

Reduced Tuition Options

As you can see, in-state public schools are significantly more affordable than out-of-state public and private schools in any location. However, there are some schools that offer reduced tuition loopholes in case your student is interested in an out-of-state or private school. Some colleges will waive residency requirements to students whose parents are policemen, firemen, teachers, or are in the military. At Texas A&M University, non-Texans who earn a competitive scholarship of at least $1,000 qualify for in-state tuition rates. It can also be beneficial for your child to attend your or your parenting partner’s alma mater. Northern Oklahoma College waives non-resident fees for children of alumni of several Oklahoma schools.

There are also tuition aid programs that reduce out-of-state tuition for qualifying students who attend school in one of the four geographic regions in the United States. The benefits vary by region, state, and school, so research the benefits in your area accordingly. Here are good places to start: 

Check out the below websites for further information about the entire college process.

Each year, the cost for a college education rises. Don’t give up or let your teen be discouraged. If you do your research thoroughly, it can save thousands of dollars and help your student attend the school of his or her dreams.


8 Parent Engagement Activities

November 13, 2014

By Jessica Vician

We love parents. Show us your pride as an #EngagedParent.

Our goal at YOU Parent is to provide tools that help you raise your child to the best of your ability through parent engagement. But what is parent engagement?

Parent engagement is a collection of activities you can do with your child that aid his or her core needs: social, emotional, physical, and academic development. From birth through high school and beyond, there is always an opportunity to engage with your child, but some ways are easier than others.

Here are eight parent engagement activities that you can do with your child. Each activity addresses one of the four core needs.

Easy: Sit down for a family dinner and talk about your days. What was the best thing that happened all day? What was the worst? What did each of you learn that day?

Difficult: Have a few of your child’s friends over for dinner. Ask about their families, favorite subjects in school, and their hobbies. You can learn a lot about your child through his or her friends. Getting the kids to talk might be tough at first, but in the end it will demonstrate to your child that you care about his or her social life.

Easy: Tuck your child in for bed and lay beside him or her to cuddle for a few minutes before sleep. Show your love with a hug or squeeze.

Difficult: If your child is acting distant or difficult, confront him or her directly and don’t end the conversation until you know the real reason your child is acting that way. Confrontation is uncomfortable, especially if you’re not prepared for the response. But helping your child address a problem now can save his or her life later—especially if your child is dealing with depression, bullying, or other serious problems.

Easy: Talk a short walk with your child. Catch up on each other’s lives.

Difficult: Train for a 5K with your teen. Training might be challenging, but accomplishing something together is a memory you both will cherish forever.

Easy: Check your child’s homework each night and ask him or her to tell you about the work. How did your daughter get the answer to that math problem? Ask her to talk you through the formula or equation.

Difficult: Email the teacher to proactively communicate about your child’s progress. While sending an email isn’t difficult, taking the first step and reaching outside of your comfort zone might be. Don’t worry—teachers want to hear from you before there’s a problem, so you will be making a great impression.


Standards-Based Report Cards + the Common Core

November 12, 2014

By Maureen Powers

Standards-Based Report Cards + the Common Core | An apple and pencil sit on the desk in front of a grading scale.

The school year started months ago. Regardless of what part of the country you live in, progress reports or quarterly report cards have been issued. While you likely want to review those reports to evaluate how your child is performing, there is a chance the grading system may have changed.

Some schools continue to use traditional letter grades A through F but many schools now use Standards-Based Report Cards. What are these standards? Standards describe what students are expected to know and be able to do at each age and grade level. Student progress is determined by measuring how close the student is to being “proficient” at the skill in the standard.

The acronym FAME can help parents remember progress toward the standard:

F= Falls Below the Standard

A= Approaches the Standard

M= Meets the Standard

E= Exceeds the Standard

In the Unites States today, 43 states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) have adopted the Common Core State Standards for children in elementary through high school. Understanding what your child is expected to know and be able to do is important and will help him or her be successful in school. You can find more information about your state’s requirements through the Core Standards website.

In addition to the elementary through high school students, all 50 states in the nation have now created early learning standards for three- and four-year-old children. Many states have even added educational guidelines for infants and toddlers. The American Psychological Association has created a State Resources for Early Learning Guidelines Toolkit where you can find links to the early learning standards in your state.

You might need to use your child’s teacher as a resource in deciphering a new report card. Ask if the report card measures what students are expected to know for that reporting period or by the end of the school year. If you don’t understand the new criteria, contact the teacher and ask him or her to walk you through the report and explain how your child is performing. This is a learning opportunity for parents, too.


How to Be An Engaged Parent While Deployed

November 11, 2014

By Judy Razo

How to Be An Engaged Parent While Deployed | A soldier chats with his family on a tablet.

A military deployment comes with a lot of stress and a long list of things to do before departure. For a military parent who is about to deploy, the emotional strain of leaving a family and the distress that it will put on the children can be especially stressful.

Children don’t often understand why mommy or daddy has to go away. They might blame themselves for the absence or assume responsibility for the well-being of the family while their parent is gone. They may also act out or fall into a depression due to the parent’s absence.

Regardless of the child’s age, the biggest impact a deployment has on a child is emotional, which can manifest in a number of ways. When you are the parent being deployed, how do you stay engaged in your child’s life and relieve some of that emotional strain for your child?

Before deployment, talk to your child’s teacher, school counselor, and principal. Let them know you are being deployed, for how long, and share any necessary information they may need from you. By being aware of this emotional strain on your child, the educators can help your child cope at school. Your child may need quiet time to him or herself or extra attention that the teacher, counselor, or even principal may be able to provide.

Talk to your child’s teacher about upcoming class projects. You will then be able to ask about those projects when you talk to your child during your deployment. It will also give him or her something to work on so he or she can have an update for you the next time you communicate. Ask about your child’s grades and how he or she is doing in school.

If possible, continue to email your child’s teacher while you’re away. Consider it a partnership—let the teacher help you monitor your child’s academic and social well-being while you’re gone. He or she observes your child’s behavior at school and can alert you and your partner to any changes so that you can help your child.

Communication is essential during your deployment. Depending on your accessibility to technology and the Internet, you can use platforms like Skype or Google Hangouts to have face-to-face check-ins with your child. Send regular emails and photos when possible. Describe where you are and tell stories of your adventures. What might seem mundane to you will help color your child’s imagination and most importantly, let him or her know that you are okay.

Not all days will be good days for conversations during your deployment, but it’s important to stay positive in front of your child. Come up with a code word for you and your partner to use on those tough days in case the conversation needs to remain light and short or if you are free to talk openly.

Everyday Life
Have your partner or child’s caregiver maintain as much normalcy and routine as possible. Children thrive on routines, so keeping one in place while you’re away will help your child cope. Ask your partner to plan events and help your child stay busy to pass the time.

If your child needs to be disciplined by your partner or caregiver, be supportive of your counterpart. You may not be there to implement the discipline, but your opinion still counts a lot both to the caregiver and to your child. The disciplining will be more effective if you are behind it.

Although you will not physically be there, try to surround your child with your presence before you leave. Put photos of you with the family and with your child throughout the house. Leave a special photo for each child to have in his or her bedroom. Before you leave, make a gift for each other—the activity serves as a bonding opportunity and you can each keep a token from the other during your time apart.

When you return from deployment there will be an adjustment period for both you and your family. Take time for yourself to readjust to your environment. Use the military’s resources and support for you, your partner, and your child as you acclimate back to daily life at home. Spend time with your family as well as one-on-one time with your child before attending or organizing welcome home parties. Your child will need to feel that he or she is a priority and that you have returned as his or her mommy or daddy.

There are many resources you can use to help with every phase of deployment, including Military One Source, Military Child Education Coalition, and the Family Readiness Centers available at military installations.

A deployment away from your child will never be easy on either of you, but hopefully some of these ideas will help make it a little less stressful.

Thank you for your service.


Take the Parent Pledge

November 6, 2014

Take the Parent Pledge during Parent Engagement Month! Click the image below and print the PDF. Snap a photo of your signed pledge and share it with us on Facebook and Twitter using the #EngagedParent hashtag. 

Parent Pledge textparent pledge text

This pledge is part of a month-long recognition of Parent Engagement Month. For more Parent Engagement Month downloads, click here, and come back each week for new activities and tips. 

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