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That's right! For those of you with kids that are nearing college or college planning has been in your mind lately - it's a two-for July! Two timely updates as you get ready to send your child for their Sophomore, Junior, or Senior year of high school and need the best planning advice possible. Remember to check out all the articles our team and the folks at Collegiate Funding Solutions have put together for you!


No More Pencils, No More Books, No More Teacher's Dirty Looks! July is the month of picnics, fireworks, lazy days at the beach-- and definitely not school.


While it may be challenging to motivate your college-bound student to find the right college at the right price, some time can undoubtedly be devoted to thinking about essays and researching schools of interest.


What Are You Really Paying For?

Over the past decade, there have been shifts in the way that students study. More important is the length of time they spend on their studies. According to an American Interest article, College Students Are Studying Less Than You Think, students today are studying 40% less than they did 50 years ago. Even more surprisingly, they study less than they did as high school students! This begs the question, "If students aren't learning as much, what am I as a parent paying for?"


For the majority of college students, they want to go to college for just four things:

  1. A line on their resume

  2. Job stability

  3. Career satisfaction

  4. Success/status outside the workplace

And if you are under the impression that it really matters where your student goes to college, do some research. In all but a few cases where the student wants to get accepted into a law, med, vet, dental, or other graduate schools; or wants to work on Wall Street-- public vs private really doesn't matter.


But it can make a significant difference, especially if your student possesses the majority of these qualities:

  • Intellectually curious

  • Has a growth mindset

  • Expects to work hard

  • Doesn't give up

  • Believes in themselves

  • Isn't afraid to seek help

  • Is resourceful

  • Takes time to think about things

  • Listens

  • Is inspired

  • Takes risks

  • A self-starter

  • Involved

A student who demonstrates these traits is probably going to succeed anywhere. But if they go to a college where they are surrounded with students like themselves, they will truly flourish. That kind of student's education may be worth any dollar amount you can afford.


Practical Matters

Colleges require up-to-date immunizations in addition to annual physical documentation.


Some colleges won't give students their dorm room key on move-in day until these items are taken care of! Check the college website for their policy. If you're still debating between schools, be sure to ask the college about their policy on immunizations to ensure your personal and informed beliefs are consistent with the school's policy on such matters.


Prescription Medication

Does your student take prescription medication? If so, you'll want to either stock up before they head out for school or locate in-network pharmacies near them.


Maybe you can take advantage of one of the convenient online order services, which would be one less thing to worry about. This is important to consider since many colleges don't allow freshmen to have cars on-campus unless they're commuting from home.



The Student Health Center

Most colleges have health centers, but what they offer can vary. Some are able to diagnose and treat many illnesses, while others are more basic, and will refer your student elsewhere depending on the severity of the condition. Of course, if your student is experiencing shortness of breath, severe bleeding, or head trauma, they should head to the nearest emergency room as soon as possible.


Both you and your student need to familiarize yourselves with the health services the college offers as soon as you set foot on campus.


Power of Attorney: Durable, Financial & Healthcare

Your job of caring and guiding your child is not done when they leave for college; actually, it's probably never done! However, from a legal perspective (keep in mind Whitaker-Myers Wealth Managers, LTD. is not a law firm and does not give legal advice) your 18-year-old is a legal adult, which means you can no longer make decisions on their behalf. This can become a problem if your child has a medical emergency at school. The medical power of attorney gives one adult the right to make specific healthcare decisions for another adult, should they no longer be able to make those decisions for themselves. If this isn't done, a doctor who doesn't know your family or child could end up making those decisions for you.


The durable power of attorney is more general and allows you to do things such as possibly putting restrictions on care for the student around your religious convictions (say the immunizations) should your child not be able to make them on your own. In addition, the financial power of attorney can allow you to help manage your child's financial affairs if they cannot do so themselves. Talk to your Financial Advisor today about establishing the POWERS PLAN through our partner Encore Estate Planning. They'll be happy to ensure your power of attorney situation is wrapped up before your child leaves for college.


Mental Health And Substance Abuse Resources

Let's face it: college is tough. It's also when signs of depression or mental illness can begin to show-- even if your student never had symptoms previously. And, if we're still being honest, it's when students may start drinking or experimenting with drugs.


No one likes to think about these possibilities, but ignoring mental health can be disastrous.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, anxiety is the top presenting concern among college students (41.6 percent), followed by depression (36.4 percent), and relationship problems (35.8 percent).


Seven percent of college students have "seriously considered suicide" during the past year. Sadly, suicide is the third leading cause of death on college campuses.


If you have any indication that something is wrong, please tend to it before your student goes off to campus. The influx of students with these issues to colleges is growing beyond the ability to serve their needs.


Colleges are not in the business of providing physical health and mental health care. While the schools recognize the need to provide ample services, this is often done somewhat grudgingly and often after a crisis - such as a campus suicide.


Of course, stress is a normal part of college and life. Students should certainly work toward mitigating the effects of stress by taking advantage of their school's free fitness center, and focusing on healthy eating habits. Drinking plenty of water, and (trying) to get a full night's sleep never hurts either.


Tips On Indirect Expenses

Officially, these are referred to as Indirect Costs. You may recall seeing them listed on your student's financial aid package. Because these expenses are not directly billed, you often have more control over how much you spend on them. Look at non-billed expenses as an opportunity to cut costs, so you have more funds left over for paying the college bill.

  • Books - every college student will have to buy books at some point. While the campus bookstore may be convenient, it's also usually the most expensive option. It's almost always better to find them used, or even look online for websites that rent textbooks. Digital versions for their e-reader is another popular and cheaper option.

  • Dorm Needs - for students living on-campus, you will need to acquire furniture and supplies to outfit their dorm. Most dorms come with only the bare minimum-- a bed, dresser, and a desk. Students typically need to provide their own bedding, TV, appliances, and any sort of decoration. If they have roommates, your student should try to coordinate with them before move-in day to avoid ending up with multiples of the same item.

  • Laptop - a laptop can often be one of the priciest non-billed expenses. Check for college student discounts, as some companies, such as Apple and Microsoft, offer them.

  • Travel - this cost can vary significantly depending on how far away your college is AND how often they go home. If the school is within driving distance, a bus is usually a financially wise option. Or even better, your student can check the bulletin boards in the student union or even ride-sharing apps to see if they can find a ride from another student going in the same direction. If your student must fly to get home, try to plan your visits in advance. Plane tickets are usually much cheaper when bought months ahead.

  • Parking Fees - if you plan on having your student bring a car to campus, expect to pay, as on-campus parking permits can cost hundreds of dollars each semester!

  • Car insurance can also increase, depending on the school's location. Consider leaving the car at home while living at school. They'll still have access to it on breaks and over the summer. Contact our friends and advisors at Whitaker-Myers Insurance Agency, a sister company to us, to have them quote your child's car insurance as an independent agent, just as Dave Ramsey recommends.

  • Food and Beverages - although most colleges require students to have a meal plan if they live on-campus, students will still typically spend money on food outside of the dining halls. Late-night pizza, a coffee from Starbucks in the morning, or lunch at a restaurant with friends can all quickly add up. Students can save money here by viewing dining off-campus as a unique experience rather than an everyday activity. They can save the Starbucks lattes for the weekends and stick to coffee from the dining hall on weekdays.

  • Off-campus activities - Last but not least are off-campus social activities, like weekend ski trips. If your student has friends whose parents are financially comfortable while you're stretching it to pay the direct costs, now is the time to have a discussion about what kind of off-campus treats you can subsidize.

Each month, we provide you with tips on the best ways to pay for college regardless of your financial situation.


Some people wouldn't dream of going grocery shopping without their coupons. Most people don't buy a car without shopping around first. Lots of us use online booking sites to find the lowest fare on a flight or a hotel room.


Don't wait too long to figure out the best way to pay for college. Doing that is like waiting to buy fire insurance when your garage is in fire. It's just too late.


If you've thought about contacting us but haven't, this is a really good time of year because summer is relatively quiet.


Depending what grade your student is in, there may be a lot we can do to help you save on the cost of college.


The longer you delay will mean less you can do to save a year or two in college costs.

We have the capability, expertise, and professional relationships to help you ensure that your student attends the RIGHT college for the RIGHT reasons and the RIGHT price!


Give us a call at 330-345-5000 or email us at lcurry@whitakerwealth.com. Don't wait and lose tens of thousands of dollars of income, savings and possibly go into debt because you procrastinated. If you do things "old school" pick up the phone and call me or send an email!


Until next month...

MONTHLY COLLEGE PLANNING UPDATE: JULY 2023

July 9, 2023

John-Mark Young

Whitaker-Myers Wealth Managers is an SEC-registered investment adviser firm.  The information presented is for educational purposes only and intended for a broad audience.  The information does not intend to make an offer or solicitation to sell or purchase any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and are not guaranteed.  Whitaker-Myers Wealth Managers reasonably believes that this marketing does not include any false or misleading statements or omissions of facts regarding services, investment, or client experience. Whitaker-Myers Wealth Managers has a reasonable belief that the content will not cause an untrue or misleading implication regarding the adviser’s services, investments, or client experiences. Please refer to the firm’s ADV Part 2A for material risks disclosures.

Past performance of specific investment advice should not be relied upon without knowledge of certain circumstances of market events, the nature and timing of the investments, and relevant constraints of the investment. Whitaker-Myers Wealth Managers has presented information in a fair and balanced manner. 

Whitaker-Myers Wealth Managers is not giving tax, legal or accounting advice, consult a professional tax or legal representative if needed. 

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