Cost of College and Student Loan Crisis Explained

[MUSIC PLAYING] What brought me here? Well, I was the first to go to college in
my family. I’m the oldest, the oldest of three. And my parents and myself, we had the best
intentions. But we were uneducated consumers. We had to take a blind leap of faith. From a financial standpoint, it wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t pretty for me. It wasn’t pretty for my parents. And then, that mistake was compounded two
years later when my parents sent my younger sister to college. And the end result of that is the fact that
my mother’s 66 years old, she’s taking the train to Boston at 5:30 AM every day. My father’s 64 years old, he’s working two
jobs. The main reason is because they have too much
college debt from myself and my sister. And they’re old school people, too proud to
accept any help. I grew up in New Jersey, one of four kids. My mother’s still currently working as a guidance
counselor, my father a contractor, still working. And luckily for me, they put a huge emphasis
on education and I’m grateful for that. But I did see the fear, the anxiety, the burden
that that really put on them. And when I got into this business, about a
decade ago, it didn’t take very long for me to realize that that was not unique to my
family. And most families are terrified when it comes
to approaching this process. And it’s been our experience, when families
approach such a significant investment as college, if they make decisions from a fear-based
place, they’re bound to make some mistakes. We’ve seen firsthand that there are many,
many flaws in this process. And I think that it makes sense for us to
expose what those flaws are, because those flaws are set up to help these colleges and
help the federal government for that matter. If you’ll indulge me, I’m going to go on a
little rant here. I’m going to exercise some demons. And this course is not about preaching negative
and throwing stones. But it’s relevant, because we had a broken
system here. It’s a collective problem. We all need to share some blame on this. But let’s start at the top. Let’s start with the federal government. They’re the ones that decide, first of all,
how much each family should pay per year for college, what they can afford per year. That’s the starting point for who dictates
that number. I had two siblings, so we were family of five. And when I applied for financial aid, I had
two working class parents. And back then, they made about $120,000 a
year, their life savings outside of retirement, was roughly $30,000. The federal government said that that with
that they could afford $24,000 a year for college, per student, per year. So that’s our starting point. And then, that number gets sent off to all
the colleges that I apply to. And if the college is more expensive than
$24,000, and as we all know, most colleges are, well, then we’re very likely going to
pay more than that. That doesn’t mean we’re just going to pay
the $24,000. And of course, that’s what happened with me. So it was more than $24,000 a year. I couldn’t afford that. My parents couldn’t afford that. And that’s an example of how most families
go through the process. But who I really want to focus on for a little
bit, because this is where most of my frustrations lie, are these colleges themselves. Now, again, we’re not here to bash colleges. We love the experience. We believe in the investment. But these guys are, I could almost call them,
cutthroat, in terms of how they run their business. And make no mistake about it, that’s what
they run. One of the biggest, I would say, laughable
flaws is the fact that these colleges will hide behind the fact that they call themselves
nonprofit organizations. At the end of the day, these are multibillion
dollar moneymaking machines. And that’s the mentality that families need
to take when approaching this process. They are big corporations. They run their business as such. They’re worried about their bottom line. They’re not worried about the family’s bottom
line. They’re worried about their own bottom line,
just like any other corporation. And they have multimillion dollar marketing
budgets, marketing teams. They’re preying on the students. They’re preying on the parents. And they’re selling them the quad and they’re
selling them the dorms and the food and the lazy rivers and the pools, because they don’t
want you to think about the fact that this school costs 50, 60, $70,000. So they do that for a purpose. The other main flaw in this whole process
is the fact that families don’t understand what a particular college is actually going
to cost them until the end of senior year, at the end of this whole process, after the
admissions applications have gone in, after they’ve gotten their acceptances, and they
have about one month to make one of the biggest financial decisions of their life. To us, that just seems backwards. And we’re looking to change that mentality. We want you to start the process at the finish
line. These colleges are unfair. And we have great personal friends that are
financial aid officers and financial aid counselors. They’re not going to sign off on this course. And that’s fine with us, because we’re not
in the business of getting more money to the colleges. We’re in the business of getting more money
in our clients’ pockets. We’re advocates for the families and that’s
our responsibility. That’s our job. I’ll give you some antidotes from this year. We have a family that’s a mixed household
family. Some step kids and they had three seniors
in high school at one time, lot of moving parts. And they missed a deadline for one of the
students, her first choice, by one day. Something got lost in translation. The college said not only are you not getting
financial aid this year, all four years. Nice Catholic Jesuit school. Would not budge from that. And even when we were confident we could make
a difference, there was nothing we could do either. We have schools right here in our great city
of Boston that will systematically, suddenly decrease financial aid each year, as they
rise inflation. And for most families, that kind of goes unnoticed. It’s great for the school’s margins, but guess
what that? That several thousand dollars a year? That makes a big difference to our clients. It’s been 12 years of being on the front lines
and dealing with these colleges and seeing all of the flaws. And there are many flaws of this process. And we think it makes sense to finally expose
what those flaws are. So we are here to advocate for the families. And we want to expose these problems, so nobody
has to be victim to them anymore. I bashed the colleges. I bashed the federal government. But to be fair, we as consumers, we deserve
some blame too. Myself, when I went through this personally,
I did what most people do and that’s I went shopping first. And then, I’m told what my budget is and have
to figure out a way to pay for it. We want you to start at the finish line. You have the right to know what a school is
going to cost you, before you even send in the applications. And that’s how we think you should approach
this major investment. Our mission with this class is to spread the
word to the masses, to change the mentality on how families approach paying for college,
so that way they don’t fall victim of, what we think, is a broken system, so that way
they could start making decisions from a place, not of fear, but from a place of abundance. So what I can tell you is I’m fed up with
it. I know I can speak with everyone at CFS, they’re
fed up with it. And we want this to change. We need it to change. And we’re done being bystanders waiting for
it to change. So we see it as our personal responsibility,
as our mission, to educate families, to empower them, so that they are not repeating the same
mistakes that so many before them have made.

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