College or Safari?

College or Safari?

Both! For Less!

Who could not have been inspired last night by President Obama’s budget address? It’s like we’ve been in the darkness for so long that the light at the end of the tunnel is blinding, and so exhilarating!

But one of my clients had Obama’s spirit before the rest of us knew it!

Jodi Eckenhoff is the mother of three daughters, a practicing physical therapist in the suburbs of Chicago. In a few weeks, I’ll be guiding Jody and her recently university graduated daughter, Alison, on my premier Great Migration Safari. Wow, now that’s some graduation present! you say with awe. Uh-huh, but there was a catch!

(As a parent whose children are now out in the real world on their own, I know how difficult it is to finance a child’s higher education. I had the fortune of children who managed to perform well enough to get some substantial financial assistance, but even so, my daughter went to Bryn Mawr, studied at the University of Cape Town, then got a law degree, and also following Obama’s spirits, now teaches junior high school!)

The average cost of a college education broke $30,000 in October, 2006, according to the College Board, a non-profit association of 4,500 schools, colleges and universities. The College Board, in fact, has a little web tool that lets you estimate the cost of higher education in different places in the country, by different degrees, etc:

How Much Does College Cost?

Today, that tool renders a private institution for 4 years around $37390, 4-year public (in-state): $18326. When you add text books and materials, pizza deliveries, other living costs, car repairs, bond money, trousers that allow 2.567″ of paisley boxer shorts to show, text messaging, keg deposits, it becomes substantially more. But there’s the rub, and Jody knows it well! The tool is fixed on determining a “four-year” education, and today, most kids take 5 years. That adds another hard $9350 in college costs, plus another year of incidental expenses. Guess what, that could equal the cost for TWO on my premier Great Migration Safari. So Jody gets to go, too!

That’s right, parents, Jody tells her daughters that if they get their degree in 4 years, they can choose a “big trip” that she’ll accompany them on! I promise to give homework to everybody!

I’m very grateful that Jody chose my safari, and kidding aside, I can’t think of a more educational trip than the GMS. The two-week experience, I hope, is as enlightening as a good school-room education strives to achieve over a much longer period of time.

Congratulations, Alison, and even more so, congratulations, Jody!