Foust Law Office March 2019

MARCH 2019 THE

COMMUNITY CONSCIENCE

EDUCATION IS IMPORTANT, BUT ATWHAT COST?

Raising kids can be a challenging endeavor. When Heather and I married in 2013, she agreed to take on not only a husband but also two boys: Andrew, 12, and Chandler, 11. The boys are now 17 and 18 years old and face growing up in a world very different from the one Heather and I knew when we were teenagers. We are far from perfect parents, but we do our best. Our newsletter chronicles some of our successes and some of our less-than-stellar moments. We hope you can learn from some of our failures and find some entertainment in the moments we share.

yourself at Studentloanhero.com/featured/ how-much-student-debt-is-too-much.

university system. Tuition at these schools can be one-fifth of what it is at private schools. Undergraduate tuition at Montana State University was $7,080 for the 2017–18 school year. At the same time, tuition at Gonzaga University (my alma matter) was a staggering $41,330. Although private schools regularly offer scholarships to defray these costs, it is difficult to imagine how their experience is five times better than what it could be at the University of Montana or Montana State University. Although some states are enrolled in the Western Undergraduate Exchange Program, in-state schools are an incredibly good bargain when you consider the alternative. In determining whether going into debt for an undergraduate degree is worthwhile, I encourage you to read an article from the Washington Post that I recently came across. The article asks, “Is a college degree the new high school diploma?” Heather and I want our kids to do and be their very best. We just cannot see how crushing debt is a viable means to get there.

As we are about to send Andrew and Chandler off into the adult world, we feel a mixture of sadness, melancholy, and excitement. Some important decisions are about to be made on how and where these two young men will take their next steps in life. Balancing the learning experiences offered at private universities with financial practicality is more challenging now than when Heather and I were their age. Over the past 40 years, college tuition has increased at a rate that is nearly twice the rate of general inflation. A 2015 study showed that nearly seven in 10 graduating seniors can expect to incur student loan debt, with the average debt for Montanans being nearly $27,000. Despite these staggering figures, experts still agree that earning a college degree is one of the wisest investments a student can make. Still, balancing the desire to have a great college experience with how to pay this huge bill without sending your young adult into indentured servitude is not easy.

Some of these tips seem painfully obvious but were lost on me.

• Don’t take out more than your annual starting salary. Start researching majors and careers today. Learn about your repayment plan. Opt for federal loans over private loans. Search for as much free money as you can get. Learn about careers that offer loan forgiveness or assistance. Find a part-time job during college. Don’t spend student loan money on other expenses. The common theme in all the information I’ve found is that planning ahead for these expenses and understanding the consequences is the key to making good decisions. • • • • • • •

- Lucas Foust

In Montana, we are fortunate to have two excellent major universities and a very good

One article I have come across gives some very good practical tips. You can read it for

406-587-3720 • 1

www.lucasfoustlaw.com

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