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18 Years in the Making

Want to pick up the tab at Harvard for a child born today? It will probably cost about half a million dollars come 2027.

Hey, at least you have 18 years to plan. Parents footing the bill for tuition this fall are facing down a perfect storm of ugliness. Unemployment is rising, while bonuses and commissions aren't what they once were for those who still have jobs. Others have no equity left in their homes thanks to declining housing prices. Those who do may have trouble finding a bank willing to hand out home equity loans that they can use to pay for college.

Beyond a more generous tax credit, President Obama's moves so far don't add up to much for most middleclass families. For low-income students, Mr. Obama wants to guarantee Pell grant financing levels and to match inflation increases, and his stimulus package provides more Pell and work-study money. He is pushing to change the way federal loans are dispensed and to expand access somewhat to federal loans. But students who borrow already graduate with an average debt of $22,700. Read more…


Publish date: April 17, 2009