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Back to school, back to reality.

With the end of summer vacation Summer vacation (also called summer holidays or summer break) is a vacation in the summertime between school years in which students are off for 3 months, depending on the country and district.  on the horizon, our attention begins to turn to that annual ritual known as back-to-school. And make no mistake--this is serious economic stuff.

According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 the National Retail Federation's 2007 Consumer Intentions and Actions Back-to-School survey, families with school-age children are expected to spend $563.49 on back-to-school merchandise, up 6.9 percent from last year's $527.08 average. It's estimated that total back-to-school spending this year will reach $18.4 billion.

And how about those freshmen heading off to college for the first time? Tuition paid? Check. Room and board paid? Check. But there's more--almost $4,000 more.

Recent research by the NRF NRF National Retail Federation
NRF NATO Response Force
NRF National Research Foundation (South Africa)
NRF Neighbourhood Renewal Fund (urban renewal funding package in the UK)
NRF Nouvelle Revue Fran├žaise
 and the College Board's Annual Survey of Colleges outlines an estimate of "start-up" expenses for college freshmen. Here are a few:

* Textbooks and school supplies: $904

* Clothes: $212.78

* Electronics: $1,727.50

* Dorm furnishings furnishings

the extra type or quantity of hair on the head, tail, ears or legs, specified for a particular breed. For example, the feathers in setters, the beard in Bearded collies, the eyebrows in Schnauzers.
: $344.41

Let's say we get through all of this and our kids finally graduate with a four-year degree. Everybody is all set right? Not exactly. Are today's recent college graduates starting their careers with the big salaries to support their student loans, housing, transportation and living expenses? You know the answer.

A poll conducted by USA TODAY USA Today

National U.S. daily general-interest newspaper, the first of its kind. Launched in 1982 by Allen Neuharth, head of the Gannett newspaper chain, it reached a circulation of one million within a year and surpassed two million in the 1990s.
 and the National Endowment A transfer, generally as a gift, of money or property to an institution for a particular purpose. The bestowal of money as a permanent fund, the income of which is to be used for the benefit of a charity, college, or other institution.  for Financial Education found that 60 percent of the young adults surveyed feel more financial pressures than previous generations. Of those surveyed, 22 percent say they've taken a job they otherwise wouldn't have because they needed more money to pay off student debt. Many of them are now questioning whether the value of the degree was worth the investment. Translation: debt.

Sure, there's new federal legislation called the Student Debt Relief Act of 2007 that would, among other things, increase Pell Grant The Pell Grant program is a type of post-secondary, educational federal grant program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. It is named after U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell and originally known as the the Basic Educational Opportunity Grant program.  awards and reduce interest rates. One additional provision would be to have loans forgiven after 25 years of repayment. What a bargain! How would you like to be almost 50 years old and just paying off your student loans?

When are we going to have a real conversation about education costs?

With all of the attention lately regarding housing and foreclosures, the need for financial education is greater than ever. How are our kids supposed to be able to place a reasonable down-payment on their first mortgage? For a $300,000 home, a 20 percent down payment is $60,000--how are they supposed to come up with this?

When are we going to have a real conversation about housing costs?

Between the cost of higher education higher education

Study beyond the level of secondary education. Institutions of higher education include not only colleges and universities but also professional schools in such fields as law, theology, medicine, business, music, and art.
 and the cost of housing, our kids are faced with the prospect of borrowing their way through life. How can we change the cycle from borrowing to saving if we don't have a serious conversation about costs?

We teach our children to stay away from drugs; we encourage them to get good grades. We pass along our values and beliefs. Let's also teach our children basic financial survival skills: earning, spending, saving and investing. And while we're at it, let's ask the presidential candidates to have a real conversation about the costs of education and housing.

Daniel Hebert is president of the NH JumpStart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy Financial literacy is the ability of individuals to make appropriate decisions in managing their personal finances. Raising levels of financial literacy is now a focus of government programmes in countries including[1] Australia, Japan, the United States and the UK. , a statewide nonprofit A corporation or an association that conducts business for the benefit of the general public without shareholders and without a profit motive.

Nonprofits are also called not-for-profit corporations. Nonprofit corporations are created according to state law.
 that seeks to improve the personal financial literacy of young people.
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Article Details
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Author:Hebert, Daniel
Publication:New Hampshire Business Review
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:1U1NH
Date:Aug 17, 2007
Previous Article:N.H. home sales fall, prices steady.
Next Article:What income inequality crisis?

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