If you are a middle-class or poor parent, the college admissions scandal may seem like a steel door closing on your child's future. The very rich bribed their kids' way into elite schools, preventing average Americans from the financial, professional and other opportunities available at elite universities.
While these people spent $400,000 to forge documents, you're struggling to save $400 for your child's education. While they want elite education for the family's reputation, you want your children to have a better life than you do.
The great thing is that your children's future is not closed off or limited by lacking access to elite schools. You can help your child get a great education that provides for their professional future and sets them up to become a multimillionaire without even a second thought about so-called "elite" colleges.
One path to success is to take advantage of the community college systems in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia. In both states and the District, students who meet certain grade-point averages and other criteria receive near-automatic acceptance at four-year universities. This means that your children can get a solid education at an affordable price - and still have a good name to bank on once they graduate.
In Virginia, the "Guaranteed Transfer" program offers students at any of Virginia's 23 community colleges who graduate with certain grade-point averages and an associate's degree automatic acceptance at the state's 30 public four-year schools. I know several college students who took advantage of this great education program to save money on tuition and continue living at home instead of paying for a room on-campus.
Maryland students have a similar opportunity. Unless four-year universities exceed capacity, community college students in Maryland who have an associate's degree or 56 semester-hours of credit with a GPA of 2.0 or higher will have automatic acceptance into a public four-year university.
The District of Columbia's transfer program is likewise very flexible and the perfect opportunity to open the doors for your child's success.
Many Americans look down on community colleges. However, many community college professors teach at the four-year level, so the education is often exactly the same. Other professors have amazing real-world experience, such as my entrepreneur father who taught several courses on business and financial planning at a community college near my New Hampshire hometown.
The financial savings of these transfer programs are significant. The Maryland community college in-county average tuition was $4,324 in 2017. The average cost of tuition and fees for community colleges in Virginia is $4,620.
Contrast this with the cost of a four-year university. Maryland's average annual in-state four-year tuition was $20,405 in 2017. Virginia's colleges were virtually the same, at $20,337 for tuition in 2017.
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This means that the average student will save nearly $16,000 per year by going to a community college for two years prior to attending a four-year university. Assuming a 5% interest rate and $300 per month in repayment, that's an addition savings of approximately $10,000 in interest payments!
So far, so good, right? A solid education at an affordable price while avoiding thousands of dollars in long-term loans.
Now, let's set up your children to become millionaires.
Like most parents, you're likely to provide significant financial help for your child/children's college. Since they are going to a community college first and then an affordable four-year university for their final two years of school, you'll have a lot more money to spend on anything else.
How about investing $5,000 each year for four years in your child's retirement? Stock market and mutual fund investments average about 11% in gain each year over any 25-year period. According to an official compounding interest calculator of the U.S. federal government, those four chunks of $5,000 will be worth over $2.6 million when your child turns 67, and over $5.5 million when your child turns 74 years old.
As the law-breaking rich and a class-action lawsuit against the schools fall like dominoes in court, non-rich DMV residents don't have to look at the admissions scandal with anything but hope. Elite schools may have turned their back on us, but we never needed them. Let's get your kids their American Dream.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Dustin Siggins (email@example.com) is founder of the Virginia-based communications firm Proven Media Solutions.
Visit The Baltimore Sun at www.baltimoresun.com