College do$$ars

For many parents and their children, Fall is a time for the beginning or continuation of a Higher Education. When I attended a State Agriculture College in the late '60s, the excitement was so intense that I can still remember moving in on The Hill. I do not remember those years as being tarnished by out of line tuition costs.

Nowadays, the rule of thumb excitement level has been tempered by financial worry. In my profession, I talk to many college students and parents of this sector. So, I am going to expound on a service I learned of last Fall at a Women In Business seminar at The Lodge just north of us. Part of that gathering of minds was clumped into vendors espousing their trades. At one of these booths, I met and was transfixed by one man - Charles McElroy. He and his wife run Pine Grove B&B on the east side of our 'pond.' Filling in for his wife Anne, he was not promoting tea and crumpets, rather a college assistance program to help people navigate the college search process to find the "right stuff" and save do$$ars.

The concept was enlightening, but what held my unflinching attention was the clear passion in this presentation. Charles did not bore me with facts and complex flow charts instead he was "selling" the rebirth of the excitement that I had known 40 years ago as my Mom and I unloaded the station-wagon at Cornell!

My children, 29 and 27, are out of college. Their parents covered "all" of their expenses, or so I thought. My son informed me the other day that his student loan was down to 20 K - where the heck did that come from? He owes money and so does my daughter. I did not have that albatross around my neck upon graduation in 1970.

Is this an advertisement for College Assistance Plus (CA Plus) a franchise held by Anne and Charles - hardly. But if I had known about such a program 10 years ago when I started writing checks to Franklin & Marshall College and Ithaca College, those checks might have been a wee bit lighter or perhaps still in my check book!

Think about it - let your fingers do the walking!

Scott Drahos grew up on his family's farm in Aurora, which is now the site of McKensie Childs Pottery. Reach him at psdra@hotmail.

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