Shelley and Karl Callier of Uniondale take education seriously.

Their daughter is working on her doctorate at Emory University, and a son studied at the Art Institute of Philadelphia.

Their third child, Kenneth, an honors student at Uniondale High School, does science research projects, plays piano, writes music, practices karate as a second-degree black belt, and holds a part-time job. He's waiting to hear whether he got into several colleges, including Columbia University, his first choice.

A private college seems increasingly out of reach, the Calliers say. For years, they saved whatever they could for Kenneth's education, but this year money is especially tight. Karl Callier, a union electrician, expects to be furloughed for 10 weeks this year because of the shortage of construction work.

The Calliers are still helping their first two children pay off their education loans.

"We didn't make college education an option for our children, so we've had to sacrifice," said Shelley, a stay-at-home mother who has closely monitored the three children's academics and extracurricular activities.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

The Calliers are adjusting their plans for Kenneth. Even as he set his sights on Columbia, Kenneth applied to several land-grant colleges around the country that offer scholarships. He also applied to a program at Cornell University that offers discounted tuition to New York State students.

MORE: Click here for more education news on LI | College Prep Talk | Compare colleges on LI