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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.


Should Your Teen Have an After-School Job?

October 22, 2014

By Nely Bergsma

Should Your Teen Have an After-School Job? | A teen wearing a uniform smiles behind the counter at work.

When your teenager reaches the legal working age, he or she may be eager to get a job. The decision to start working is mostly likely economically driven. Teenagers tend to love money and they love to spend money even more. As a parent, perhaps you would welcome the additional income to the household. But should your teen have an after-school job? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Are you and your teen ready for the extra responsibility?

There are many advantages to a teen working an after-school job, beyond earning a few extra dollars for either him or herself or for the household. Working during the school year would allow your teen to learn to balance responsibility, socialize with others in and/or outside of the community, and learn a new skill or task while building his or her college résumé. It is also an opportunity to learn financial responsibility and the value of saving. All of these advantages can serve to empower your teen, helping him or her grow and demonstrate what “real life” will look like one day.

While working during the school year could be advantageous for your teen, there are a few considerations to ensure he or she makes the correct decision and succeeds in this endeavor.

  • Is your teen aware of the employer’s expectations for the job itself, dress code, and code of conduct? 
  • Will the amount of time at the job take away from the expectation of school deadlines, studying, and projects? 
  • Will his or her grades suffer? 
  • Will his or her home life and household responsibilities suffer? 
  • Will your teen need to give up extracurricular activities in order to meet the expectations of a job? 
  • Is your child physically ready for the additional responsibilities of an extended day? 

As you have from the beginning of your child’s life, you can continue to support him or her with this choice. Helping your teen weigh the pros and cons of his or her decision before accepting a job will ensure that he or she feels successful, empowered, and supported.


How to Raise Financially Independent Kids

July 1, 2014

“Start early, be consistent, and make sure they know what their responsibilities are.”

Andy Byron, a 57-year-old financial planner with a family of five kids, says those three tips are the key to helping raise financially independent kids.

In an article written by Chris Taylor of Reuters and published on, Taylor reports on the rising number of parents in their 40s and 50s who are providing financial assistance to their adult children. In fact, in the past year, 73 percent of those parents helped their adult children out financially, according to his research.

So how can you put your kids on the path to financial success or even just sustainability? Read Taylor’s article and incorporate that advice into your parenting.

Tags :  financialacademicsocial

Paying Allowance for Chores

June 12, 2014

By Beth Wilson

$5 allowance, $4 for spending, $.50 for giving, $.50 for saving

Illustrated by Libby VanWhy

Should children be paid an allowance for doing chores? I posed this question to a few of my colleagues recently and all had a strong opinion against the practice, stating that it's part of being in a family. Yet they were just as likely to withhold money to go to a movie if things didn't get done around the house. Alternatively, it was not unheard of to give money to a teenager to wash and detail their car.

At the simplest level, both of these examples involve giving or not giving money for work that was either done or not done, which, to me, sounds a lot like paying an allowance for doing a chore.

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer to the question. Each person brings their experiences and opinions into their role as a parent, and each family situation is different. The important thing is to discuss with your parenting partner beforehand and agree upon the reward system.

My husband and I had different opinions on whether or not to base allowances on chores. After some discussion, we agreed on a reward-based chore system that took into account our budget and incorporated saving and giving. We strongly believed that teaching our children the value of money and how to handle it would help set them up for success in later life.

Rewards. We budgeted for allowances and included the extra incentive of "Daddy Bucks." Since not all chores are equal, the younger kids with the easier chores received a smaller portion of the overall allowance payout. We paid allowances based on the percentage of chores completed for the week.

In addition to the allowance, each child received a set amount of Daddy Bucks redeemable for activities that always involved their dad with options like a trip to the local convenience store for an ice cream treat or breakfast out before school.

Giving. We chose tithing as a way to incorporate giving in keeping with our belief in God and his ability to provide for all of our needs. On payday, each child put 10 percent of his or her earnings into an envelope for the Sunday church offering plate.

The practice of giving can also be applied to charitable causes. For instance, if your child loves animals, encourage him or her to donate 10 percent of the allowance to the local animal shelter. You will teach your child about sharing and charity while helping someone in need.

Savings. Learning to live on less and wait for something were disciplines that we wanted to establish early in the lives of our kids. Each payday, another 10 percent of their earnings went into their savings envelopes.

This article is part two of a three-part series. Read the first in the series, 4 Tips on Assigning Age-Appropriate Chores, and come back next month for the final article in the series.

Tags :  socialacademicfinancialparenting

Pros and Cons: Summer Jobs for Teens

June 4, 2014

By Kevin Rutter

A teen smiles behind the counter of a store.

Summer is around the corner and the time away from school provides an opportunity for young people to step into the working world. As your teen considers a summer job, first make sure he or she is adhering to youth labor laws and then weigh the pros and cons of summer employment.

Youth Labor Laws
The United States Department of Labor is the federal agency that monitors child labor and enforces child labor laws. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the federal law that provides guidance on youth employment, sets the minimum age of employment at 14 years old and limits the number of hours worked by minors under the age of 16. Since the rules vary depending on the age, the job, and individual state laws, check with your child’s high school counselor on your state’s law. He or she can also provide you with the necessary documents to apply for employment.

At my high school, I am the facilitator of the Cooperative Education Program that helps students land jobs during the school year. I am a big proponent of youth employment because of its many benefits. Here are my top three pros:

  1. Orientation to the employment process. Finding a job is not an easy thing to do and it requires several steps, including filling out an application, submitting a resume/cover letter, and interviewing. Getting your child to engage in this process helps to build a foundation for confidence in filling out other applications, producing better resumes/cover letters, and in interview situations.
  2. Making money. Earning some money is a great thing and teaches your child the value of a dollar. It also provides you a chance to teach him or her about money management. You can help your child open a checking account (many banks have accounts specifically for high school students) and learn a basic principle in earning money: PYF. PYF stands for Pay Yourself First and means that every time a person has money coming in, they must feed their own savings account first, before anything else is paid out. Professional financial advisors suggest automatically setting aside 10 percent for this purpose, but teenagers have less fiscal obligations than adults and can easily set aside a greater percentage. I would suggest 25 percent for your student.
  3. Learning workplace norms. Working a summer job teaches a student a broad range of valuable employability skills like showing up on time, working well with others, verbal communication, problem solving, and following the rules.
There are some cons to teens having a summer job. My top two are: 
  1. Spending money foolishly. I have observed a big mistake with some of my students: they don’t save their money properly. To have a healthy, happy financial life, it is critical that they get into the habit of setting some of what they earn aside.
  2. Burning bridges. It is also very important exit the summer job on a good note. Future employers will call the places your child has worked to check on how he or she behaved and performed in the workplace. Take care to emphasize to your child that he or she must put in two weeks’ notice prior to leaving the job and should resolve any conflicts that arise in a professional manner.

It’s smart to consider all the pros and cons of each employment opportunity that might interest your child. Talk to your teen about financial responsibility, appropriate workplace behavior, and the benefits of getting a job in order to figure out what he or she wants to be when the times come to decide on a career path.

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