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.