Friday, September 11, 2015

Financing College

You might think this is an odd post for a blog that’s about writing in general and writing my novel in particular. I hope to file this topic in the “Things I Got Right” department.

I have my 22-year-old protagonist as a recent college graduate who wants to go on for an advanced degree in museum studies. Money is an issue for her. My novel is set in early 2008, a time when money would become an issue for lots of folks, not just students.

I wanted my protagonist to think about and handle college financing in a realistic way. To that end I was fortunate to have some expert advice “in house.”

My husband, Mark Davidsaver, has produced a website of financial calculators for many years. His most favorite is one specifically designed for people, parents and students, to calculate future college debt.

He used his own experience with navigating federal, state, and college forms. He got feedback from actual college students and tried to make his calculator as streamlined and as easy to use as possible.

He’s quite disappointed that it never caught on. His paycheck withholding calculator remains his most popular.

So, why mention this now?

Because of a recent back-to-school column by Katy Williams, a St. Ambrose freshman, for The Dispatch. The title of her column: What I wish I knew before I went to college….

For point #3, she mentioned, “Money does not go as far as you think it will.”

Her suggestions:
·        Learn to budget
·        Find a part-time job
·        Avoid having a car

All solid ideas that have stood the test of time.

To that list I would suggest a visit to:

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