Avoid the shock of a fifth year of college tuition | Reuters

By Beth Pinsker

| NEW YORK

NEW YORK When Donna Frost Gordon's son asked if he could stay in college for an extra year, it was for a good reason - but he still turned the family's finances upside-down.

After studying abroad and then finally declaring an accounting major at the State University of New York at Binghamton, the son decided six months ago to pursue a combined master's degree.

"I was sort of happy shocked," said Frost Gordon, a 48-year-old real-estate agent based in Westchester, New York.

She and her husband are still figuring out how they are going to pay for the additional year, though, because the extra $20,000-plus in tuition has kind of sn