"We've always been aware of the extreme high cost of college," said
The Lockwoods consider secondary education an investment, which their children have to work to achieve, either by earning scholarships or working to pay for it. But they're not the only ones. According to Discover Student Loans, the number of families that say they will help their children pay for college has declined from 81 percent to 77 percent.
"I think if they work for it, they'll have pride and ownership over something," Lockwood said. "Whether it's their first vehicle or a college education, they're more likely to take care of it. I think they'll take it more seriously, work harder and not want to waste it."
According to the student loan survey, 15 percent of families said they believe children should pay for college on their own, up from 12 percent in 2012, and 32 percent said children should pay for most costs, up from 27 percent in 2012.
According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the average student paid
To help their children cover the expenses, Lockwood said the family identifies their children's strengths they can use to their advantage. Lockwood said Jay has always performed academically well. He was encouraged to enroll in Advance Placement courses, and he began studying for the PSAT for 30 minutes a day his sophomore year.
By his senior year in high school, Jay received a high enough score on his PSAT to become a National Merit Scholarship finalist, and he received a full ride to
"It took planning on our part to recognize the gift of each of our children and emphasize on them," Lockwood said.
The Lockwoods plan to take a different approach with their second son, Andrew, 15. He plans to attend a community college before choosing a major at a four-year university.
Once Andrew is older, he may begin looking for a job to help cover additional college costs. Jay worked at McDonald's for a year, and 80 percent of his earnings went into a savings account.
"We have to be realistic. College is not about the experience; it's about the goal. And the goal is education," Lockwood said.
"If they're eligible for the grant, then you know they're in a family where they have to pay for college themselves, are borrowing loans or are already under significant strains," Bryant said.
Bryant said the cost of a college education doesn't have to be a financial hardship, Bryant said. This year,
"We tell people, go through the process; find out everything you can be eligible for, and make a decision based on that information," Bryant said.
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