Even Bill de Blasio Says He’ll Have a Hard Time Paying for College

Posted By Carol Brzozowski on April 22, 2015 at 11:20 am
Even Bill de Blasio Says He’ll Have a Hard Time Paying for College

With an average price tag of $9,139 for tuition and fees for state residents at public colleges, and a U.S. median household income of $51,939, it goes without saying that a family’s standard of living takes a hit when a son or daughter attends college.

Those with modest incomes rely on need-based programs such as the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which offers assistance like Pell Grants and low-interest loans based on the difference between an Expected Family Contribution formula and the cost of attending a college.

And what happens when you don’t qualify for need-based assistance? College costs can be a serious concern for even affluent families.

Case in point: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently told The New York Times that having two children in college will be challenging. The mayor earns $225,000 a year and generates tens of thousands of dollars in rental income, according to Fortune.

The mayor and his wife have a daughter at Santa Clara University in California, where tuition is around $55,000 per year, and a high school senior weighing college options that include Yale and Brown.

College finance options available to affluent families include:

  • An education savings account, such as a 529 plan.
  • Merit-based scholarships and grants. Lists of these grants can be found in in high school counselor’s offices, college financial aid offices, and organizations such as Big Future and GoodCall. Sports, extracurricular groups and parent workplace scholarships are another possibility, as are merit-based scholarships offered by colleges.
  • A job.  Although students from affluent families don’t qualify for federal work study programs, working a job while in college – especially one related to a field of interest – starts building a resume for work experience while providing income.
  • Some families save on housing costs by investing in real estate in which their student lives – sometimes with other students who rent a room – until graduation, at which point the property can be sold or rented to other college students.
  • Taking general education courses at a community college near home for the first year or two decreases living expenses.

While a family’s standard of living might take a hit for a period of time due to college expenses, higher education still remains a good investment. According to 2014 findings from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers over 25 years old who possess an Associate’s degree have median weekly earnings of $792, compared to $668 for someone with a high school diploma.  Earnings increase and unemployment rates decrease with advanced degrees.


Carol Brzozowski
Carol Brzozowski received a B.A. in journalism from Central Michigan University. She was an education reporter for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, where she won the Newsmaker Award from the Florida Teaching Profession/National Education Association for distinguished news coverage of Florida public education. She is now a freeelance journalist whose work has been featured in Education Week, regional parenting publications and environmental trade journals. She is the mother of two sons, now in college.

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