Those who control college tuition costs have an unfair advantage. They understand that, for many parents, our kids are going to college no matter what.
We start stashing money away in a college fund the moment we discover the little lady is with child. Grandparents, who are always ready to help, will gladly forgo or moderate casino junkets in order to add to the college nest egg. At any college bookstore, baby pajamas, bibs and diapers that bear the college name and logo are for sale.
Pressure is more intense in families where either dad or mom never attended college. They are hellbent on college for their children. I know men who have built empires in the building industry without ever spending a day in a college classroom who regret that they have no alma mater and who follow the Philadelphia Eagles the same way one who has graduated from Penn State cheers on the Nittany Lions.
College is a worthy goal if the kid warrants the expense and the great effort demanded to make a college education count for something worthwhile, or if it fits a realistic career path in keeping with a kid's aptitude and intellectual endowment. At cocktail parties, I seldom hear friends or acquaintances boast about a son or daughter who is a fantastic bartender or hairdresser. No one shares the news about a son who is a chief auto mechanic.
I have been in the business of getting high school seniors into college for 56 years. I have come to the realization that there is a college out there for anyone. College hucksters have done as good a job as Home Depot and Sears in marketing themselves, both the non-profit and for-profit schools.