Minnesota parents: Time to think about the college price tag

It is officially springtime in Minnesota. That time of year when parents are busy touring colleges with their teenage sons and daughters, trying to figure out what the most realistic school is for their children. For many, while of course getting accepted plays a role, so does the cost of the college.

Minnesota parents can easily find themselves buried in debt due to student loans. In fact, there have been a number of parents -- and even grandparents, aunts and uncles -- who have ended up filing for bankruptcy after co-signing for student loans that ended up not getting paid back.

This is why it is important to think about the big picture before just signing on the dotted line.

In terms of the school, if a teen is accepted to a private college that costs around $55,000 and the state school that is around $20,000, one has to question if the extra cost is really worth it? Is the private school really worth the extra $35,000?

Keep in mind that decisions regarding private versus public are deeply emotional and ones that should not be taken lightly. Rather, recognize that there is emotion tied to the decision, but then put that emotion aside and be realistic when looking at the numbers. In the end, emotion should not make the decision.

And, while no one likes to do it, parents and students should also think about worst-case scenarios. What would happen if the student was not hired right after college? What about if a parent lost their job? What if there were unexpected medical expenses in a few years? Of course the hope is that none of these things will happen, but it is better to be prepared for the worst-case situation and know how it would be handled than to be totally unprepared and vulnerable.

For those parents who are reading this and realizing it is too late, with the bills already out of control, keep in mind that while discharging student loan debt in bankruptcy is very difficult, there are still other debt relief options available. An attorney with experience handling these types of cases can provide more information.

Source: Minnesota Public Radio, "Debt And The Modern Parent Of College Kids," April 10, 2013

  • Our firm works with those struggling under the weight of student loans. To learn more about what options are available, visit our Minneapolis student loans page.

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