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Parent concerned about affording two kids' college bills

Friday, August 8, 2014 - 7:25 am

Q.: I have two kids. My son is already in college, and my daughter is a senior who is choosing which college she wants to attend. We are a middle-class family and live in a wealthy town.

I am incredibly worried about funding both of my children’s education. I want to be able to support them, but I also know that we cannot afford to spend that much money on college. I would never want to sacrifice their education, but I am worried we will get into debt because of this. How can I tell my daughter that she cannot attend a school that we cannot afford without crushing her dreams? – Reality Check, Westchester, N.Y.

A.: How good are your daughter’s grades? Before giving up on certain schools, help your daughter research scholarship opportunities that may be perfect for her accomplishments. Speak with the guidance counselor at her school to learn about opportunities that you may not already know.

Definitely talk to your daughter also about the reality of your family finances. Figure out first what you can afford to pay for her college education and which schools fit into that range. This will help her at least to see what the options may be. Remind her that every family has to make individual school choices based on what they can afford and the student’s academic record. Promise your daughter that you will work with her to secure the best education that your family can afford.

Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to or C/O Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.