Nobody likes to talk about money. Especially when they do not have enough of it.
College is expensive. Since 1975, college costs have increase 5 to 6 percent above inflation (or more!) every year. In 2003 the average cost of tuition rose 14 percent. Part of the reason for this is that the government continues to hand out money in the form of grants and student loans, and
A good question to ask yourselves – What is the purpose of college for your family?
According to Andrew Ferguson, author of Crazy U, a book that tracks one father’s journey of getting his son into college, “In old world Europe, higher education has been conceived in almost spiritual terms, as a way to instruct maturing minds in the treasures of civilization, the guiding ideas, the political and moral philosophies, and the works of art and literature that make us what we are.” Today, many parents see college as a way for their child to get the skills they need to get a good job. Families need to decide on their vision of the purpose of college before embarking on the long road of college preparation and application.
So when it came time to start thinking about college for our own children, my husband and I asked ourselves – what non-traditional options are available? We are a “think outside the box” kind of family who decided to homeschool our children almost thirty years ago, back in the day when many people were still asking, “What in the world is homeschooling?” We had not saved up a large sum of money to spend on our kids’ college education, choosing
We also wanted to see that happen with little to no student (or parent) debt.
Here is a quick summary on how our children drastically reduced their cost of a college education.
All three of our children have accredited state university degrees. Our eldest has a B.A. in Music from Thomas Edison State University which she earned at a cost of $8,000 total. (Keep in mind, this was ten years ago. I am sure costs have increased.) She spent one semester at Cuesta College but acquired most of her undergraduate units through AP testing at the local high school (which was allowed even though she did not attend the high school) CLEP testing at the local community college, and creating portfolios of her ability in music. Some classes were passed by sending in videos of her playing the piano and violin. Other classes were passed by submitting evidence of her participation in the San Luis Obispo Symphony and the Cal Poly University Orchestra. (Interesting side note – our daughter was never enrolled in Cal Poly and did not pay any Cal Poly tuition, but because she played her violin at a level that helped raise the other Cal Poly students’ playing ability, she was allowed to participate for free. Thomas Edison State University still gave her credit for those classes.) Her upper division units were all completed through distance learning through Thomas Edison State University. (To keep reading, click: Read More)