Financing an Education after High School

“Financing an Education after High School,” Ensign, Aug. 1972, 66

Financing an Education after High School

Many families find it a financial burden to meet the post-high-school training expenses of their children. Whether the student trains as a technician, attends a business school, goes to college, or seeks some other avenue for further education, all require advance planning.

In cooperation with the Educational and Career Advisement Center at Provo, Utah, James R. Sanderson* of the College Entrance Examination Board has responded to ten questions about financing an education in the United States:

Q. Are our colleges going to continue to be overcrowded?

A. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there will be fewer post-high-school-age citizens in the 1980s than there are today. As a result, it is unlikely that we will face a serious problem in providing higher education facilities, but paying the education bill becomes more serious each year.

Q. Who will pay those education bills?

A. Parents and students carry the major burden of paying for post-high-school training, and they will be expected to continue to make maximum effort to meet these expenses. Thus, it is important for each family to know how much financial help they can give.

Q. How can parents know how much they will be expected to contribute to a child’s education?

A. Most post-high-school institutions have determined the amount parents are expected to contribute. If a student applies for financial assistance, his parents complete a document describing their economic circumstances. Table 1 shows the total amount of money the typical family may be able to provide each year for post-high-school education. Students must also supply information about their own savings and assets.

Table 1.
Parents’ contribution from net income

Net income before federal taxes

Number of dependent children






















































Q. How much will the total bill come to each year?

A. The cost of education varies widely, depending upon the nature of the institution in which the student enrolls. Public two-year colleges and technical schools are the least expensive and independent universities the most costly, as noted in Table 2.

Table 2.


Two-year Public College

Four-year Public College or University

Private College or University





Board and room

500 (at home)



Books and supplies




Personal expenses












Federally supported student-aid programs have provided great impact in recent years in assisting students seeking an education. The National Defense Student Loan program loans money through the financial adviser of the school to students judged to be in need. This money is repaid following graduation. A similar plan, the Federally Insured Student Loan program, loans money to students through banks and savings institutions. Such loans are repaid over an extended period of time following graduation, on a low-interest repayment plan

Q. What determines who will get financial aid?

A. A college financial aid officer considers each student’s application for assistance, taking into account all costs that must be met. A careful examination is made of all the resources available to the student. The difference between these two figures is his need for financial assistance.

Q. How might some of these needs for financial assistance be met?

A. There are several ways of meeting these financial needs, such as scholarships, loans, college work-study programs, educational opportunity grants, and work on campuses. Today most colleges, universities, and technical schools use scholarships to financially assist deserving students rather than as a means of encouraging high-ability students to enroll.

The College Work-Study program provides funds to colleges and training institutions to create employment opportunities for students. Stenographers, librarians, and lab technicians are hired through this program.

The Educational Opportunity Grant program provides financial grants to students from low-income families. Eligibility requirements limit these awards to students from families whose income is $9,000 or under per year. Grants range from $200 to $1,000 for the academic year.

Q. Does the Church participate in these loan programs?

A. Parents can prepare to meet college expenses through advance planning for systematic savings, purchase of savings bonds, or educational insurance programs. However, even with this preparation, certain students find that they don’t have enough money to meet college bills. Here are a few suggestions parents might consider:

1. Early in your child’s senior year contact the high school counselor for information on the post-high-school training institutions he wishes to attend. The counselor may inform you of academic programs available, deadlines for admission, applications for financial assistance deadlines, and examinations required for admission.

2. Obtain copies of the “Application for Financial Aid” and the “Parents’ Confidential Statement,” and be sure that both are submitted well in advance of the institution deadline.

3. Describe your circumstances honestly and fully. Most aid officers are sympathetic to problems that may prevent parents from assisting.

4. Prospective students should consider carefully with their parents their willingness to accept loans or part-time employment.

Q. Where can additional information on education financing be obtained?

A. Numerous publications are available through high school counselors. One such publication, which is revised each year, is entitled Need a Lift? It is published by the American Legion. You can also write to the Educational and Career Advisement Center, A-152 ASB, Provo, Utah 84601.

Q. Where is the best place to start?

A. Most financial assistance is controlled and distributed directly through the college or technical school. Contact the financial aid officer at the school to which you intend to apply.

  • Brother Sanderson is assistant director of the Western Region, College Entrance Examination Board. He holds an M.B.A. degree from the University of Utah. He teaches Sunday School in the Sunnyvale First Ward, Palo Alto (California) Stake.