The cost of college is on the rise. While this means parents are setting aside more of their income so that their children can get an education in the future, for parents who are working toward earning their own degree, this additional financial burden presents a significant challenge.
According to U.S. News and World Report, “The average cost of college among public and private institutions keeps increasing. . . . Prices at most schools, including public ones, increased for the 2018-2019 school year . . . the average price for tuition and fees at in-state schools rose by nearly 2 percent, the average out-of-state price increased by less than 1 percent . . . [and] the average tuition and fees at private colleges climbed 3 percent.”
However, while the cost of higher education is rising steadily, “U.S. median household income is almost the same as it was 20 years ago.”
Unmet Financial Need for Higher Education is Highest Among Single Student Parents
This disparity means that many parents simply do not have the money they need to pay for college. According to data from the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, the average student has about $5,000 in “unmet need” when it comes to paying for college. However, this number jumps to nearly $6,500 for single student parents, with single fathers in the Mid-East Region facing the largest unmet need at greater than $7,000.
This is unfortunate, but it makes sense. Single fathers who are pursuing higher education must not only find a way to pay for tuition and expenses, but they must also continue to meet their child support (and potentially alimony) obligations as well. They may be working in lower-paying jobs (which may be their reason for pursuing a degree), and they may need to sacrifice time at work to attend classes or study for exams.
It is a challenging scenario that requires a careful balancing of priorities; and, when it comes to choosing between supporting your children, paying your utilities and paying for your own education, it is not hard to see why many single fathers put their own educational expenses last.
Going to College Costs Most Single Fathers a Minimum of $10,000 Per Year
For the 2018-2019 school year, a U.S. News and World Report study indicates that the average tuition and fees for a public, in-state student is $9,716. This does not account for textbooks, transportation, parking, and the various other costs associated with attending classes. This means that, minimally, single fathers can expect to pay more than $10,000 per year to earn their education, with tuition and fees at private schools exceeding $35,000 annually.
Planning for the Costs of Higher Education During Your Divorce or Separation
For fathers who are preparing to go through a divorce or separation, ensuring that you have the financial resources you need to earn your degree will be an important part of the process. Whether you are currently in school or you are planning to enroll in the future, factoring in the costs of your education now will allow you to make decisions with your future needs in mind.
Many fathers find that budgeting is one of the most difficult aspects of adjusting to life after a divorce or separation. Planning ahead can help, and this includes considering scholarships and other forms of financial aid.
Speak with a Hackensack Family Law Attorney in Confidence
If you would like more information about the legal and financial aspects of getting divorced or separated in New Jersey, we encourage you to contact us for an initial case evaluation. To speak with an attorney at MR. Men’s Rights Divorce & Family Law of New Jersey by Schultz & Associates, LLC in confidence, please call 201-552-3394 or inquire online today.