Paying for College During a Recession

The latest trend: forget the “five-year plan” of yesteryear, today’s college-bound students are on a three-year plan.

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Your 529 college savings plan is gone. Your parents’ retirement funds are half of what they were, and their stock portfolios have taken a dive.  But you still want go to college…how can you, and your parents, pay for it?


Dr. Katherine Cohen, the most in-demand college admissions expert in the country, founder of IvyWise, emphasizes that a college education should still be on the top of any investment list.


Dr. Cohen offers these suggestions to help limited college budgets go further:  


The latest trend: forget the “five-year plan” of yesteryear, today’s college-bound students are on a three-year plan.  Students should:


  • Take AP courses in high school and local college courses over the summer to build additional credits and cut down time at college.
  • Take the maximum course load possible each semester at college and graduate in less than four years.
  • Take summer classes at local community colleges and transfer credits.
  • Graduating in three years can reduce college expenses by up to 25 percent.

Other options for students who cannot afford to attend the college of their choice, according to Dr. Cohen, include:


  • Have a back-up plan.
  • Make financial aid officers aware of any mitigating circumstances or changes to their financial situation.
  • Defer college enrollment to work for a year and save money.
  • Consider attending a community college and then transfer into a four-year college after a year or
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