Paying for College

College Options for Family Hit Hard by Economy?

Question: During the recession of 2008, my husband lost his job, forcing us to use all of our college savings and eventually ruining our credit scores. My son is a bright motivated high school junior who has worked hard to get into a good college. My husband and I are now working and make an income that does not allow us to receive any federal aid. However our income leaves little left over for college tuition after mortgage and bills are paid. How can we pay for his college now with poor credit and no savings?

In today's economy, your story is not a unique one. Lots of other families seem to be in a similar bind. Yet, although misery may love company, you'll need more than commiseration to get you through your son's college process. So here's what “The Dean" recommends:

1. If you haven't done so already, try an online EFC (Expected Family Contribution) calculator to find out approximately how much you will be expected to pay towards your son's college each year. Here's the College Board's version: this recent “Ask the Dean" column for more information on using an online EFC calculator: )

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