University of Virginia

Where to find answers?

There are lots of people offering help about paying for college.  The problem is, the advice is often wrong!

Andrew Ferguson has an absolutely hilarious version of this in his excellent book Crazy U. He spends an evening reading message boards on College Confidential where he finds a mix of good advice, bad advice, and non-advice. Add to that some petty bickering and downright rudeness. In the end, he says, “…nobody can tell you [the answer] because nobody knows, and nobody will admit that nobody knows.”  He concludes with, “How seriously are we supposed to take the opinions of a person who identifies himself as ‘boogerman’?”

Too true!

Looking at College Confidential today, a poster asks if there is any harm in not accepting federal student loans that were offered as part of a financial aid package. The simple answer is no. Loans are not discretionary, basically every student can get a federal loan for unmet need, and you can take it or leave it, it’s up to you. But the thread goes on for post after post, with comments about effect on grants, asking what school the poster is talking about, bringing in subsidized vs. unsubsidized loans.

In the end, the poster says the consensus is that it won’t hurt, she that’s what she’s going with!

Advice on how to pay for college doesn’t have to come from taking a consensus of anonymous opinions. Our blog and newsletter are free and address the very issues that affect most families.  We are always available if you have unanswered questions too. 

Remember, every family’s situation is unique. Even the best advice from a friend or family member might not apply to your family.  Please let us know if we can help.