All You Need To Know About Sending Your Kids To College

by | Jul 5, 2022 | Co-parenting, Divorce and Finances, Divorce Professionals, Money Management, Navigating Divorce

Sending your kids to college is always a stressful time; especially when you are in the planning stage of the process. As parents, we always want what is best for the kids! Now add to that the emotional and financial stress of a divorce — certainly not an easy time to navigate both of these major life events.

But life happens and we need to adjust along with it. That said, we still want what is best for the children, even if some of the colleges have price tags hovering around $80,000 per year! When it comes to the subject of sending your kids to college after or during divorce, there are various types of colleges that may financially benefit divorced or divorcing parents (even if one parent is high net worth). There are also opportunities for financial aid, merit scholarships, student loans and more to help parents minimize the cost of college and reduce the potential need for student loan debt.

 

Here are some tips on what you need to consider if you’re sending your kids to college:

 

1. Communicating with your kids is key.

The first thing that I can’t stress enough to parents as you prepare for college is to speak with your kids. Set expectations with your child in regards to finances. Work towards a common goal. College is a major expense. Do not feel guilty that you might be unable to afford a college that costs $80,000 plus per year. Many people can’t! Also, do not feel the need to take on enormous student loan debt because you feel guilty about your separation or divorce. You might then be potentially jeopardizing your own future retirement.

Realize, at the same time, that the students are unable to take out student loans on their own to cover the $80,000 plus college if you do not wish to pay. Freshmen typically can only take out $5,500 in federal student loans for the year. Keep this number in mind when considering various colleges and their costs.

black teen going to college followed by her parents

2. The best plan is the one that’s right for your child.

Be strategic, always, especially when you’re planning on sending your kids to college after or during a divorce. Learn what money moves to make as you separate or divorce and learn what colleges to apply to that will benefit both you and your child. Each person/household has a different situation with regards to income and assets. It’s important to know what will work best for you so that you are able to maximize savings on the cost of college.

Understand that no matter where your child attends college, whether public or private, in state or out of state, they will have opportunities for success! The key is to encourage our children to maximize these opportunities once they are on campus.

3. Research your child’s potential college.

Speak with your attorneys or mediators about sending your kids to college. Every state has different guidelines. Some states do not require college to be paid for by the parents. That said, I am still hopeful that the majority of parents will want to do what is best for their children, married or not, and come to even an informal agreement in regards to paying for college. If this is not the case, certain colleges will require the financial information of only one parent, typically the custodial parent. It might be best to seek out those colleges.

mom talking with her teen or young adult daughter

Know that just as each student is different, so is each parent’s financial picture and so is each college. As mentioned, some colleges consider the income and assets of just one parent. And if the parents are remarried, there are some colleges that will want the income and assets of all four parents, even if the step parents are not contributing anything towards the child’s college costs. It’s important to determine the best colleges to apply to for your specific financial situation in addition to academics and social life.

4. Be flexible and be ready for surprises.

And realize though, that after divorce, circumstances can continue to change. Financial aid applications are filed yearly. Things such as remarriage, changes in child support or spousal support may all affect financial aid that the student receives and can fluctuate from year to year.

Unfortunately, as we know, life happens. It doesn’t always go exactly as we had planned. Maybe we were unable to save enough money to fully fund our child’s dream college. Or, maybe life just got in the way. Regardless, it is possible for all of our children to receive a great college education at a cost that can be manageable for each of us.

Sending Your Kid To College? What Divorced Parents Need To Know

About the Author

Vicki Vollweiler is the founder of College Financial Prep, with a specialty in the area of Divorce and College. College Financial Prep helps parents navigate college planning, college affordability, financial aid, scholarships and student loans. Vicki, a member of the National Association of Divorce Professionals, is a divorced parent who understands the additional financial and emotional complexities of planning for college when separated and divorced.

 

 

Learn More About College Financial Prep

If you (or a friend) are dealing with both divorce and college, contact College Financial Prep as early as possible in the college planning process.  We have successfully helped parents save hundreds of thousands of dollars on the cost of college.  Click here to schedule your appointment.

Visit College Financial Prep online to learn more.

Sending Your Kid To College? What Divorced Parents Need To Know

About the Author

Vicki Vollweiler is the founder of College Financial Prep, with a specialty in the area of Divorce and College. College Financial Prep helps parents navigate college planning, college affordability, financial aid, scholarships and student loans. Vicki, a member of the National Association of Divorce Professionals, is a divorced parent who understands the additional financial and emotional complexities of planning for college when separated and divorced.

 

 

Learn More About College Financial Prep

If you (or a friend) are dealing with both divorce and college, contact College Financial Prep as early as possible in the college planning process.  We have successfully helped parents save hundreds of thousands of dollars on the cost of college.  Click here to schedule your appointment.

Visit College Financial Prep online to learn more.

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DISCLAIMER: The commentary, advice, and opinions from Gabrielle Hartley are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice or mental health services. You should contact an attorney and/or mental health professional in your state to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. 

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