Saving for college
 
          The mom of one of my students recently gave me a copy of a column by Jane Bryant Quinn, the nationally syndicated writer of financial issues. It is related to two topics that are dear to me: going to college and saving money for that crucial education.

          The fact that your child is going to college should be a given, considering our society and our times. This is regardless of your familyís finances or socioeconomic status.

          Whether parents have gone to college or not, family discussions about education should be imbued with the understanding that college will follow high school just as surely as first grade followed kindergarten. Parents need to infuse the conversation with the attitude that the family will make it happen.

          Parents who are college graduates can speak about their experiences: studying, roommates, writing term papers, all-nighters, organizations, and jobs are all valuable topics in their own way. Additionally, make it your business to visit college campuses so your children can get a sense of the diversity that exists; this can be done either in the area near your home or when you travel to other parts of the country.

          The mom who gave me the column admits that her family hasnít done much to save for their childís college education. With other financial demands on them, they recently took to culling their coins regularly and have begun saving the newly-minted quarters that feature the states. They are also collecting Bicentennial quarters. Thus, their child is included in the process and is learning about geography and history at the same time.

         The article by Ms. Quinn focuses on information about Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, which was authorized in 1996. It empowers each state to enact its own version of a college savings plan. There are 41 participating states. You can get more information from The Best Way to Save for College by Joseph Hurley (800) 487-7624, www.savingforcollege.com or get information about your stateís plan at (877) 277-6496, www.collegesavings.org.

         This column has been incorporated into Teach Your Children Well: A Teacherís  Advice for Parents.

 
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