High School College Night: Argh!

High School College Night (Excerpt from my book, The College Game)
I don’t wish this abuse on anyone – attending a high school’s college information or financial aid night. To be fair, it’s not a total waste of time because you’ll experience, up close and personal, the brutality of truth. You’ll witness an eager speaker delivering an unforgiving blizzard of details on how to fill out forms and other mind-numbing paperwork. This person just so happens to be – brace yourself – a financial aid officer from a college. It’s the friendly fox lecturing the unsuspecting chickens. She’ll use the offensive 4-letter word – LOAN – like a blunt instrument, swinging it without mercy for two punishing hours. Your local high school neglected to warn you that tonight marks the date of your first nervous breakdown.

Why would a college financial aid person
 even hint at a single legal way to get more money from their coffers that are found in this book? Would a banker give you his bank’s access code so you could easily rob it? Part of the college’s game is to keep you uninformed about the rules of the game and to get you to spend more of your money, not to give you theirs. And they love lecturing you on what loan-troths you can feed at in order to pay their overly inflated fees.

Here’s a sample announcement from a high school’s website on their financial aid night:
PARENT FORUM COLLEGE FINANCING SEMINAR An experienced financial aid professional will conduct the Seminar. Topics:
 The college financial aid application process;
 Completing the FAFSA;
 Resources for scholarships and grants;
 Determining financial aid eligibility;
 Student loans, parent loans, and payment plans;
 New resources for families

In sum, these nights are a lecture on the required paperwork and cost problems with more debt as your solution. In two hours, you will suffer perhaps the same mental anguish that prisoners receive in any two hours of a warden’s lecture.

Never discussed at these high school aid nights are proven pro-retirement ways to pay for the bulk of college expenses. Never mentioned are the advantages of community colleges. God forbid! That would be discussing the competition, and in fairness to the speaker, we shouldn’t expect a lecture on the competition. By the way, Bill Gates qualifies for financial aid, so “eligibility” – as suggested on the high school’s website – is misleading and a non-issue.

Going to a high school’s college or financial aid night is a self -inflicted injury in a near pity-party atmosphere.

Your local high school is a well-intentioned but unintended co-conspirator with the colleges in keeping parents ignorant of how to save money on skyrocketing college costs. Because I make a profit, I don’t get invited to speak at high schools on the topic of financial aid. Yet the school will invite a college official to give a seminar on this subject, with a mouth fully engaged on how parents can get into more debt. No one even realizes the college official represents a business entity that is price-gouging the very parents the well-intentioned high school wants to help.
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