Today, education beyond high school is practically a necessity to build a better life. Whether it's a 2-year or 4-year college degree, or a trade or technical certification program, more education opens doors to more opportunities.
Research proves that education beyond high school leads to better paying jobs and lower unemployment. In fact, some studies show that a college education benefits the entire family, now and into the future.
The bottom line is, your child or the child in your care should continue education beyond high school. And any support you can provide will be a huge help.
But how can I consider sending him to college during an economic downturn that might cost me my job?
It's natural to have concerns about the future when so much about our economy is uncertain. However, it might help you to know that federal aid programs may take a major change in your circumstances ” like divorce, loss of your job or a major illness ” into account. Encourage your child to get a good education, regardless of your financial situation. If you do lose your job, make an appointment with the Financial Aid Administrator at your child's school. Explain your circumstances. Additional assistance may be available.
But I need her to help around the house.
It's possible she can pursue her education without leaving home. And in the long run, helping her get an education may be an even bigger help to the family.
But I need him to get a job and contribute to the family income.
Some kids pay their own way through college, reducing the family's income needs. And with more education, he will be able to get a better-paying job in the future, helping him contribute more to the family in the long run.
But I didn't go, and neither did anyone else in the family.
Our economy has changed quickly in just the past few decades. Job requirements or expectations for your generation may not be the same for your child's generation. Today, many of the best jobs require additional education beyond high school.
But I will miss her if she's not at home.
Again, it's possible she can continue her education by attending a nearby school while still living at home. If she does attend an out-of-town school, there are lots of ways to stay in touch, like letters, e-mails and phone calls. And there will be a lot of opportunities to see her, like winter and summer breaks, and even parents' weekends.
But we just don't have the money.
Many of the students featured on this site come from families with very limited incomes. But they found ways to go. You might be surprised at how many financial aid resources are available. Cost might be a hurdle, but it's not a roadblock. Check out How to Deal with the Cost for more information.
But he doesn't need more education for the jobs available around here.
It might seem that way, but some jobs may have more educational requirements than you realize. And you may not be aware of all the opportunities. Also, it's possible your child may not live in one place all his life. Job markets can change rapidly, so the career flexibility more education can provide will be a valuable asset.
But she has a child of her own to care for.
Being a parent can make getting an education more difficult. But thousands of parents have done it, and your child can too. Many schools provide services, such as on-campus daycare, for students with children. And with more education, she will be a much better provider for her child in the long run.
But his grades aren't good enough.
A child whose grades haven't been the best can still go. If he still has a year or more before high school graduation, it's not too late to work on raising that GPA. Get involved at his school, offer your help and support and make your expectations clear to him. If he will be graduating soon, consider community colleges, which can have more open admission policies. Trade and technical schools are other good options.
But she has special needs.
Children with special needs, whether from a medical, mental, emotional or learning disability, can continue their education beyond high school. Many mainstream postsecondary schools provide assistance and services for students with special needs. There are also some postsecondary schools devoted exclusively to special needs students. The Higher Education section of DisabilityInfo.gov is an online resource that lists programs for the learning disabled and special needs communities.
But he has been in jail.
Serving time in jail or prison doesn't automatically disqualify him from receiving federal student aid. Once he's released, he can apply for all types of federal student aid. Even if he is currently incarcerated, he still has some limited eligibility. For more information about how incarceration affects his eligibility for federal aid download the Frequently Asked Questions about Federal Student Aid for Incarcerated Individuals Fact Sheet.
But she isn't ready to be independent.
Almost every parent or guardian feels this way at some time. Many are surprised at how a little independence can help kids show more responsibility. In general, college helps students gradually ease into adult independence. And if she goes to a local school, she can continue to live at home until you both feel she is ready to be more independent.