Ask Amy: High schooler worries about college cost

Dear Amy: I attend a private high school. My parents know my tendency to worry, so they try to hide any financial troubles and sugarcoat my world. I appreciate their intentions. However, I would rather they not hide reality from me.

I know my current tuition leaves my family with just enough money to get by. My father tries to support our family by working more than 70 hours a week. My mother assures me that we have enough money for college, yet the money set aside is only enough for about one term of the good school I want to go to.

I’m not that smart, something my parents haven’t realized, so I am not optimistic that I’ll get a “miracle” scholarship. I considered joining the military for a scholarship, but my mother just about had a heart attack when I mentioned it.

I don’t want to compromise where I will go for college (if I even get accepted), but I would sooner do that than leave my parents in financial ruin. What do I do?

Amy says: Speak to your college counselor and explore all of your options.

State colleges often charge a fraction of what a private college would cost, and the best value of all is a community college, where you can receive an associate degree and transfer to a four-year school.

I once interviewed the dean of admissions at an Ivy League school, who told me that the school looks for students who have excelled at community college. Like you, these students are typically hardworking, motivated and mature.

You owe your parents your very best efforts. If you can translate your anxiety over this into positive action by finding an affordable school, then everybody wins.

Switching loyalties

Dear Amy: My husband and I use a management company to manage some rental properties we own. Last year, the company’s two owners split and divided the clients between them.

I handle almost all contact with the company and have no problem with the person we are working with. We are about to purchase some more properties, and my husband wants to have them managed by the other guy.

How do I handle this? Our guy knows we have been talking with the other one and has stated his group can do the same work. It’s getting a little awkward.

Any advice?

Amy says: If you agree with your husband’s choice to have the other company manage your new properties, then perhaps he should make the call.

You two should be able to leverage this issue into a guarantee of good service and a possible savings if you are able to get these former partners to compete for your business. (This might be your husband’s intent.)

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com.

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