HOUSTON—A Houston dad will be crisscrossing the country this week, from North Carolina to Houston to St. Louis and back. All this, so he can attend three graduations among his five daughters. But the plane fare is the least of the tab.
"We’re looking at roughly $60,000 to $70,000 per child per year," said Marc Ostrofsky, the girls’ father. "A total of about $1.5 million after tax dollars."
Tracy, 20, is at the University of Denver. Maddy, 23, graduated last year from Berklee School of Music. While this week, Mary Grace, 18, graduates from Kinkaid and is headed to Boston University. Kelly graduates from Duke in Durham, N.C., and Shelly graduates from Washington University in St. Louis.
Now 22, Shelly and Kelly are twins. When they were Memorial High School co-valedictorians, they got some advice from the famous dad of another pair of twins: President George W. Bush.
"[He] said that’s the last time my daughters probably listened to me, when I said go to different colleges," Ostrofosky recalled.
Mr. Bush said Jenna and Barbara Bush listened, as did Kelly and Shelly Ostrofsky.
Their dad, Marc Ostrofosky, is a successful Internet entrepreneur and a New York Times best-selling author. He and Beverly married a few years ago, blending their two families. Footing the college bill was an extended family affair.
"I think in the future it’s going to be different. I don’t think a lot of people are going to play that game," he said.
Instead, he believes that students will mix brick and mortar with online classes to save tuition. Even one year can mean a savings of $75,000 for a private college.
We jokingly asked, when his youngest graduated from Boston University in 2016, would the family be done with big education bills?
Ostrofsky laughed, pointing to Kelly, and said, "No, because I’m told this one wants to go and get a Ph.D now."
As for telling his kids to stay in school, he quipped, "Be careful what you wish for."
For the Ostrofskys, it’s a million-dollar answer.