A Message to Parents

It’s never too early to think about college — about the benefits of a college education and about ways to put college within reach academically and financially. Throughout their school years, students make academic and other decisions that affect whether they will be eligible to enter college. You — working with others — can help your child make these decisions wisely.

A college degree can provide your child with many opportunities in life. A college education can mean:

Greater Knowledge

A college education will increase your child’s ability to understand developments in science and in society, to think abstractly and critically, to express thoughts clearly in speech and in writing, and to make wise decisions. These skills are useful both on and off the job.

Greater Potential

A college education can help increase your child’s understanding of the community, the nation, and the world – as he or she explores interests, discovers new areas of knowledge, considers lifelong goals, and becomes a responsible citizen.

More Job Opportunities

The world is changing rapidly. Many jobs rely on new technology and already require more brain power than muscle power. In your child’s working life, more and more jobs will require education beyond high school. With a college education, your child will have more jobs from which to choose.

More Money

A person who attends college generally earns more than a person who does not.  

In the article, “Income Inequality Widens Across the Globe," by Scheherazade Rehman, she writes:

“So it might come as a surprise that a new study shows the value of a college degree is greater than it has been in nearly half a century, at least when compared to the prospect of not getting a degree. The Pew Research Center has found that the earnings gap between millennials with bachelor’s degrees and those with just a high school diploma is wider than it was for prior generations.


Among millennials ages 25 to 32, median annual earnings for full-time working college-degree holders are $17,500 greater than for those with high school diplomas only. That gap steadily widened for each successive generation in the latter half of the 20th century. As of 1986, the gap for late baby boomers ages 25 to 32 was just more than $14,200, and for early boomers in 1979, it was far smaller at $9,690. The gap for millennials is also more than twice as large as it was for the silent generation in 1965, when the gap for that cohort was just under $7,500 (all figures are in 2012 dollars)."

Some of these benefits of college may not be obvious to your child. Even though he or she has to make the final decision to attend college, you can help in the decision-making process by learning about all aspects of college yourself and sharing what you learn with your child.

There are many online resources and Financial Aid programs available to help you determine the best choices for your situation. Talking with your high school guidance counselor is an excellent way to begin.

Paying for College

A common objection to attending college is that it is too expensive. While it is true that some four-year college tuitions can total almost as much as a mortgage, there are many financial resources to aid in paying for college. Scholarships, federal loans, and private student loans are all great options for those looking for college financing. SMW Financial Credit Union has partnered with Sallie Mae® for one additional resource to help you get the money you need for college. Learn more about the affordable private student loans we offer.