Florida economic meltdown dampens dreams of college

MIAMI _ For Charlie Enright, a shaggy-haired high school student with a serious appetite for history and literature, the ivy-draped Northeastern liberal-arts college has long been the focus of his higher-education longings.

But maybe not now, Charlie.

Of the many mean consequences of the current economic meltdown, one is that fondly nurtured college dreams for thousands of smart, ambitious kids are yielding to harsh economic realities.

With job security wobbling, incomes squeezed, and savings portfolios -- for those lucky enough to have them -- dwindling, the hard question of how to pay for college has become more nerve-wracking than ever.

Across South Florida, parents, guidance counselors and university administrators say, many families and college-bound kids are recalibrating their aspirations.

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