Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
The lifetime cost of supporting someone with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can exceed $2 million, according to a new study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. More from The Huffington Post:
The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics on Monday and funded by the nonprofit Autism Speaks, suggests that autism’s financial toll on individuals, families and society as a whole is “much higher than previously suggested,” its authors write, and includes direct medical, educational and residential costs, as well as indirect costs such as lost wages.
“We took all of the data we could find that had been published on costs and synthesized it to come up with an estimate,” researcher David Mandell, director of the Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research at the University of Pennsylvania, told The Huffington Post.
“The lifetime cost of individuals with ASD and no intellectual disabilities was $1.4 million — and that’s in addition to the costs that would accrue with a typically-developing child,” Mandell said. “It’s $2.4 million for individuals with intellectual disabilities.” (According to estimates cited in the report, between 40 and 60 percent of people with autism spectrum disorders also have an intellectual disability, characterized by limitations in intellectual function and adaptive behaviors, including social and practical skills.)
On average, the cost for children with autism and an intellectual disability in the U.S. was more than $107,800 per year up to age 5, and roughly $85,600 per year between ages 6 and 17. Among children with no diagnosed intellectual disabilities, the associated costs were lower: approximately $63,290 per year for those 5 and under, and $52,205 per year for those between 6 and 17.
The top average annual cost was special education, followed by parents’ productivity losses and medical expenses, including inpatient, outpatient, emergency, home health care, pharmacy and out-of-pocket costs.
“I was surprised that the second-highest cost in childhood was lost wages for parents leaving work to care for children with autism,” said Mandell. “Normally, when we look at expenses, we’re looking at system-level expenses, education costs … We’re so rarely looking at more indirect costs.”
Image: Money, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, May 15th, 2014
A Michigan mom whose son was allegedly denied a school lunch because his account was empty decided to pay the outstanding balances on the accounts of each and every student in the high school to spare others the embarrassment her son suffered. Headline News has more:
“I realize I didn’t have to do that but I don’t want another kid going through what my son went through,” Amanda Keown told CNN affiliate WBND.
The total amount she had to fork over was less than $100 — a price she said was totally worth it to save other students from going through what her son, Dominic Gant, experienced.
“It was really embarrassing, especially in front of the whole class,” Gant told WBND. The junior said his lunch was taken away by school officials right after it was served to him, all because he had an outstanding balance of less than $5 in his account.
HLN has reached out to Dowagiac Union Schools but has yet to receive a comment. The principal of Dowagiac Union High School spoke to WBND and said that the teen shouldn’t have gone hungry.
“There’s no reason why a student should ever go without lunch, even if they have overdrawn their account. They can seek out one of the adults in the lunchroom and ask for permission to charge for another day,” Pieter Hoekstra said.
Hoekstra explained that a private contractor runs the lunch program so there isn’t much flexibility with payments because if the accounts go unpaid, the school is left holding the bill. He also said that the school regularly communicates with parents about the balances left on their kids’ lunch accounts.
Image: Cafeteria hot lunch, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
A new study comparing college tuition with family income has found that tuition has more than doubled relative to income in the past four decades. More from Newsweek:
That cost includes tuition, fees, and room and board for full-time students at degree-granting institutions—for both public and private colleges and universities. Back then, the average cost came to $9,502 after adjusting for inflation, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. By 2012, the average was $19,339. With a typical family earning $51,017—the U.S. median income—college tuition for just one child will absorb almost 40 percent of their income. That surpasses housing as the single biggest household expense.
If college costs were rising along with family income, there wouldn’t be a problem. But college costs have risen way ahead of income. There are several reasons. For starters, administration costs have been growing rapidly on most campuses. In part this has to do with an explosion in applications and enrollments, which require more resources. But salaries of administrators, particularly those in charge, seem out of line with the rest of the institution. It’s not unheard of for compensation of the president of a large university to approach $1 million. Meanwhile, campuses have seen a boom in infrastructure spending to upgrade student facilities like gyms, student centers and dorms. Finally, many public universities have offset cuts in state aid by raising fees.
Of course, the price of college varies greatly depending on where you go, and whether the institution is public or private. Almost three-quarters of Americans attend public universities and colleges, where costs have been rising quickly but still remain far less than private institutions. In 1969, public colleges and universities charged an average of $7,206, compared with $14,292 in 2012, after adjusting for inflation. By contrast, private institutions averaged $15,329 back then, vs. $33,047 in 2012.
Today, the cost of a private college or university would be unattainable for most families if they didn’t get substantial financial aid. At elite colleges and universities, the cost is considerably more than what a typical family earns. Without financial aid, a single year at Princeton can set you back $58,965.
Image: Money, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, December 31st, 2013
A growing number of young adults are stuck in what analysts are calling a “worst case scenario,” in which they are stifled by debt from college loans, but they never finished their degrees. More from NBC News:
According to a 2011 study by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, only 56 percent of students who enter four-year programs graduate within six years. That number plunges to 22 percent for for-profit colleges. Meanwhile, the percentage of incoming students relying on loans is growing—from 2001 to 2009, the number increased from 47 percent to 53 percent, according to a report by Education Sector. The same report also found that borrowers who drop out are four times more likely to default on their loans.
Some of these dropouts grew up middle class with an expectation of getting a degree, like [Christopher and Harmony] Glenn. Others are students from low-income backgrounds, perhaps the first in their families to go to college. Michelle Obama recently launched an effort to encourage these first-timers to pursue higher education, but the odds are stacked against them: Pell grants and funding for state and city universities continue to shrink. Forty percent of students at four-year colleges, and 60 percent at community colleges, are working 20 hours or more to make up for these gaps, according to the Pell Institute.
“A lot of these kids come up against this wall of bureaucracy,” said Jennifer Silva, author of Coming Up Short, a book about working-class young adults. “They lack mentors to help them navigate the system” of admissions, financial aid, and choosing classes. “It ends up leaving them feeling kind of betrayed.”
Image: College debt, via Shutterstock
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Friday, November 1st, 2013
In a study that is surprising many parents who worry about their children’s financial common sense, researchers have found “no compelling evidence” that young people are “bad borrowers” or at elevated risk for having credit problems. More from Today.com:
The key findings:
- Credit cardholders under the age of 21 are substantially less likely to experience a serious delinquency (90 days or more past due) or default than those who get one later in life.
- Someone age 40-44 is 12 percent more likely to have a serious default than a 19-year-old.
- Those who get a credit card in their teen years are also more likely to get a mortgage while young.
“There are some big benefits to getting a credit card early, so parents don’t need to freak out about it,” said study co-author Andra Ghent, assistant professor in the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State. “They may well be able to manage it just fine.”
The authors reached that conclusion after studying nationwide credit card data collected by the New York Federal Reserve Bank for 2005 to 2008. To examine the cardholder’s behavior without the influence of a parent or guardian, anyone with a cosigned card was excluded from the analysis.
The data did show that young people are more likely to experience minor delinquencies (30 to 60 days past due) than older cardholders. But, as they learn from their mistakes and figure out how to make payments on time – such as setting up automatic bill pay – the frequency of these minor delinquencies drops.
Prof. Ghent believes making small mistakes with credit early in life can prevent major ones later on.
Plus: Curious about what career your child may have? Find out with our fun quiz!
Image: Teen with credit card, via Shutterstock
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