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Kaitlen Bird, 18, and her father, Joe Bird, look over her acceptance letters from Colorado Mesa University and its music department in their Craig home. In light of decreasing employment rates for recent college graduates, Bird said he hopes he can help Kaitlen avoid taking out loans to pay for her education.

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For parents with college-bound teens, dodging debt is an uphill battle

Possessing a musical ear and an acceptance letter from Colorado Mesa University, Kaitlen Bird is ready to strike out on her own. But, whether her father’s financial resources are ready to bear the cost of her education — roughly $16,200 a year for a full course load, housing and a meal plan — is unclear. “Right now, that hasn’t all been decided,” Joe Bird said when asked if he and Kaitlen are considering college loans. He hopes a mutual fund he set up for Kaitlen when she was born —just as he did for her sisters, Rebekah, 15, and Christa, 13 — will be enough to pay for her bachelor’s degree in music.


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