Have you ever heard the phrase, “Drop Out Factory” in reference to America’s higher education system? According to a Harvard study titled ‘Pathways to Prosperity’, only 56% of students who embark on a bachelor’s program get their degree within 6 years and just 29% of students who seek an associates degree finish within 3 years. Another study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development found that only 46% of Americans complete college once they start.
There are many reasons why students drop out of college. The most common reasons I’ve heard are: no plan to pay for college and ran out of money, the school wasn’t the right fit and none of their credits will transfer to their new school, couldn’t decide on a major and dropped out of frustration, or they had to drop out to help support their family.
Most of the above reasons for dropping out could have been avoided had they taken the appropriate approach when planning for college. Unfortunately, the most common reason students drop out is because of lack of funding. My advice is to seek a professional that can create a college plan for your entire family. When seeking out help, be sure to do your research, you don’t want to get involved with someone who doesn’t have your best interests at heart.
Here are a few tips on how to find a college funding professional:
- Check to see if they are a BBB accredited business and what their rating is.
- Avoid anyone who is promising EFC savings only. A well-structured college plan will ease a family’s cash flow crunch during the college years and will make use of more than just the financial aid code to help you save money.
- Can they help your student find a college and major that will fit their personality, making college engaging and enjoyable?
- Can they recommend schools that will give your student more merit money (free money), helping to avoid student loan debt when they graduate?
- Is the college funding professional a part of a respected organization like Professional Education Services?
For most families, children’s college education will be the most expensive investment outside of their home. Don’t make the mistake of taking a wait and see approach. I have seen too many families take this approach only to leave them draining their retirement or leaving their student with a mountain of student loan debt. You can have better, but you have to take the first step and seek out help.
If you’d like to understand the concepts of a great college plan, check out a College Dream Builder workshop. There is no pressure and nothing for sale. You will learn what it takes to have a well-structured college plan and how a college plan could save you thousands of dollars off the cost of college.