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College: Who Pays? Child or Parent?

Do you think that a child's first four years of college is the parent's responsiblity if the parent did not save for it?

What can I do next?

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For every A they get 100.00 put into a college fund. With A's hopefully, they will get a scholarship. But they need to work for it too, and there is no reason why they cant work while going to school. If they earn it, I think they appreciate it more, and try harder. I was never given anything without earning it.. car, Sr Trip, Class ring, pics, etc. I appreciated and stayed within my budget on everything. Parents should not feel obligated to that.

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Absolutely! The parent knew when they got pregnant that they would be responsible for the proper care, upbringing & highest education of this child. No matter whether college was saved for the parent has a few options. First, start saving if that is a possibility. 2nd, start looking into student loans/financial aid for the child. There are tons of grants out there for the child, as well. So have a serious talk with the child about college and the fact that the grades they are making now will have a large impact on getting into and getting funded for college. They must do there part... this includes researching and applying for the grants. And, if it is possible when the child is of age, have them get a part-time job to start saving for college. Financial aid and grants do not tend to cover fun, food and gas while in college. These things all have to be considered. Plus, when a kid has to earn for themselves they tend to be a bit more responsible. Good luck to you and whatever the outcome!

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I think that there are a lot of ways that parent can help their child get a college education. Just helping with school and financial aid research is a huge help. The parent can offer free room and board for the child to be a commuter student. 2 year colleges are much less expensive than a 4 year school and the end result is still an Associates Degree, transfering to a 4 year school is always an option after that. Everyone that I know who's parents paid their way through school took much longer than 4 years and half of those people do not use their degrees. I think that there is a compromise where both the parent and the child contribute to the expenses and it just depends on the family as to what kind of compromise would be best. I do think that a college education is necessary in this economy and any support given will increase the child's chances of succeding in life.

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Hi K.,
I'm also the mom of a 9th grader. IMO, much should be considered regarding that question. At 18, our kids are legally adults, and *are able* to work and pay for college. Their college isn't something we're obligated to. If we can't gift them with it to some degree, we can make it easier for them if they show some responsibility. We can even offer free room and board (i.e. living at home) while they're attending full time. If you haven't saved, and you can't pay, the question answers itself. However, you can still help your 9th grader sign up with CFNC, make a profile, keep track of grades, research colleges and college options, apply for grants, scholarships and loans, help him/her with ideas about how to pay for it as they go, or what kind of loans they might be comfortable with. My folks didn't have the resources to put me through college, but I wish they had at least helped me find my way 'in the dark'. With our older son, we paid for a semester at a time at our local technical college for any transferrable credits, unless he failed or dropped the class. Some parents give a deposit to their kids to cover the classes and books in their first semester. If the student proves good grades, the parents replace the money spent from that deposit. If they don't, the student pays for the next class. Since books are a big part of the cost, some parents only contribute back what their kids have gotten for their used books each class. If the kid can sell the book quickly and get a decent price, their parents match that. If the kid doesn't sell it, parents match $0. These two options help kids to keep their motivation to do well, and help them take some ownership of their own education. So many have said they later valued their education much more when they had to take ownership and work some for it. I also know many kids who pay $75 for CLEP tests (Google for resources) to get credits for the basic classes instead of paying for tuition and books and attending classes. Many students these days are taking a little longer to go through college so they can work some and pay it off as they go. These days, a job isn't necessarily guarenteed once graduating from college to pay off those huge loans! Yes, you can still be a great parent without necessarily paying for your kid's college.

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I think Dave Ramsey, a personal finance expert, has hit the nail on the head. Follow these "Baby Steps" for you FIRST:
1. You get $1000 in the bank as an emergency fund
2. Debt snowball: Pay off lowest amount 1st. It's 99% behavior and 1% money. Get the victories under your belt and you will be motivated to get out of debt. (House is later)
3. Get 3-6 months expenses in the bank. (Bigger Rainy Day Fund!)
4. Invest 15% of your income. Your retirement comes before kid's college!
5. College funding. I'll explain this later.
6. Pay off home early. Don't pay off home before you fully fund your retirement. Otherwise, you will have a paid for home and no money to live on.
7.Build wealth and give, give, give!!

Education is necessary. It is very important. However, make sure you have fully invested in your retirement before you pay for kid's college. You are closer to retirement than they are, and unless you want your kids financially supporting you when you retire, placing a bigger burden on them to support you and their family, take care of yourself first.

Once that is done, you can put money towards their education. Kids can earn scholarships or work for the money for college. During the summer, most kids can earn at least $5,000. Fast food, deliver pizzas, tutoring, call centers, whatever it takes, it is easy to get that. I know our state schools are good colleges here and one year with books, fees, tuition is just about $5,000. If they want to live on campus, or away from home, they can work during the year to pay for those expenses.

Our job as parents is to raise mature, financially responsible adults who can produce positive effects on society. 10 years after they graduate, the only time people really care what school you went to is when it comes to football and basketball loyalties. Yes, some institutions have better programs than others and cost more. Scholarships are great ways to help pay for an education. While I am not a proponent of student loans (why start your new life in debt?) That is a personal choice if the kid wants to go to an expensive one and can't come up with the funds.

Kids need to learn (preferably earlier than college) that if they want something in life, they need to WORK for it. Too much is given out free. Don't feel like it is your responsibility to pay for it. Nope, it isn't. It is an added blessing they get if you can help out.

Start teaching your 9th grader s/he needs to start saving his money NOW. Teach your 9th grader the BABY STEPS above. Car? Kid pays for it. It is called RESPONSIBILITY. You are doing more for your child by teaching them this than handing them everything. The 9th grader can start babysitting, dog sitting/walking, paper routes, fast food, what ever... start their own business even.

Believe me, it can be done. I have seen it done numerous times. Your child will be better for it! If you need financial help, get Dave Ramsey's book "The Total Money Makeover" or take his Financial Peace University course. You'll be glad you did!

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I know that many people feel that it is basically a parent's obligation upon having children to plan on paying for college. However, it is my personal opinion that this is not a necessity. Part of my opinion is based on the fact that I was able to pay for my own schooling through work, scholarships, and later, grants. I never took out a single loan to pay for school. It was a harder path, in a sense, as I had to learn to balance my time between work and study, but it put the burden on me to succeed because I knew it was my money that was going down the toilet if I didn't work as hard as I could. It took a little longer than 4 years to finish but I graduated with a high GPA and a tremendous appreciation of what can be accomplished with self-discipline and organization.

Now, having said that, if parents are in a position to pay or help pay for a child's schooling, I am not opposed to it. It offers the child the possibility of doing more through their schooling. For instance, my husband, who also worked his way through college, was unable to participate in internships that would have improved his job skills and made it easier to find a job out of school. While this was a temporary problem, these sorts of opportunities are more available to a students who don't have to worry about maintaining a job through school.

Ultimately, you will have to decide what works for your family. Just know that there are worse things than your child having to pay for his/her own schooling. There is a lot to be learned from the struggle.

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I think you should explain to your child that college is their choice. Also, explain that you can't be expected to pay for everything. If they want to go, then they will have to make the grades to get a good scholarship (or several). My daughter had to work thru part of high school and now that she is in college, she works to help out. I give what I can, but she understands that I can't help with everything. If they have the drive to get the grades, then they will have the drive to help out.
I don't think it is a good idea that we hand everything out to our children. They need to be taught that you need to work for what you have in this life.
Good luck.

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For every A they get 100.00 put into a college fund. With A's hopefully, they will get a scholarship. But they need to work for it too, and there is no reason why they cant work while going to school. If they earn it, I think they appreciate it more, and try harder. I was never given anything without earning it.. car, Sr Trip, Class ring, pics, etc. I appreciated and stayed within my budget on everything. Parents should not feel obligated to that.

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I grew up in a large family and so we did not expect our parents to pay for college since that was just not a reality. I think in today's society, a parent and child need to work together to save for college. 40 years ago (when my older siblings went to college) not everyone went to college and it was not expected. Today, it is expected for kids to go to college (or at least trade school) and that they should study and prepare, so I think it is also expected that the parents model the same with some financial planning. That doesn't mean that you pay for the whole thing, but that does mean you two need to figure out some kind of plan. Also, it is never to early to start researching grants, loans, and scholarships. It will take the two of you working together. Good luck!

By the way, all 10 of us (yes 10) are college graduates. Mom and dad helped where they could.

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It's up to the child if they want to go anyway. If parents demand their kids go, then yes they should help out at the very least! But, if the child wants to go then ulimately they need to pay for it. If parents can afford to pay for it then I personally believe they should. (just the first 4 years) How rude to start your kids off with thousands of dollars of debt if you can help it?

My experience: My parents work very hard and don't over endulge in a lavish life style therefore, paying cash for three of four kids' college tuition (one of us has GI bill). My husbands' family made him take out loans STARTING HIM OFF WITH TONS OF DEBT! while they continued to build a brand new home and buy band new volvo convertabiles and SUV's.

My bottom line, if you live within your means...spend LESS than you MAKE and save and pay with cash, then you can save your kids tons of money from debt. My husband and I will be debt free before we are 29 and plan to pay for all four years of our kids' college.

If you need more help, visit Daveramsey.com he has the best example of finances I've seen out there! Plus, his books are all only 10 dollars right now on sale.


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I think it is the responsibility of the parent to pay for college up to what they can afford. If you can only afford for your child to attend a local community college and are willing to pay that - that is what you present to your child. Any college your child wants to attend above and beyond what you can afford should be their responsibility. I do not think a parent should spend in the 10's of thousands of dollars per semester and go in debt to send their child to school. That's why they should work hard in high school, excel academically there - and compete for scholorships. Some of the responsibility should fall on the child. If they want to further their education beyond high school they will work hard while there to acheive their goals. My mom paid for me to attend a community college. I got a degree there and worked using my degree and then pursued further education once I had the money to pay for what I wanted to do. I have a family member who's daughter wants to attend an out of state college which is way more expensive and they told her - they would pay only for her to attend college in state (I mean North Carolina has some pretty great universities) and that they would only pay for 4 years. If she decides to go out of state they will only pay up to what they would pay for-for in state tuition. She will have to pay the rest. I think it is a conversation that you should have now since you are the mother of a ninth grader. That way they know what to expect. Who knows 3 years down the road your finances and priorities may change and your plans may have to change with it.

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I think of paying for college like a pie--you piece the money together from everywhere you can find it. My son worked every summer and on weekends in the fall during high school and saved his money for college. He had $6,500 saved when he started college last fall. His grandparents gave him $1,000 a year for 4 years toward college as a graduation gift. They pay the money every fall directly to the college. They do it for all of their grandchildren. It was a trust fund that they set up years ago. He gets $4,000 a year from the Tennessee HOPE Scholarship. He does not work during the school year because he has to keep his grades up to keep the HOPE Scholarship. He won a $2,500 scholarship that he received his freshman year in college.

Last year as a freshman in college he paid for all of his tuition, room and board, books second semester, supplies, and spending money. I paid for $500 of books first semester, $500 of architecture supplies, and his $2,100 architecture computer this spring. So far he has not had to take out any college loans.

Next year will probably be different. He has been looking for a summer job for two weeks and can't seem to find one. Where he worked last summer laid off 10 people at Christmas time, so he can't go back there. I have been saving money all year long because I heard on the news last year that college loans are getting harder to get because of the recession and I was concerned that he might not be able to find a summer job. None of his 10 or 12 college friends have found summer jobs yet. He is considering applying for a loan for school next year and he is still job hunting 8 hours a day.

I paid for my college with summer jobs, academic scholarships, $1,000 a year of help from my parents, and no college loans. My husband paid for college with sports scholarships, college loans, and no help from his parents. Who should pay for college has been a heated discussion between the two of us. His parents did not pay for his college and he does not want to pay for the children's college.

The most important thing to me is that all 4 of my children go to college. I don't care who pays for it or what it costs. I just want them to go to college and have a great future ahead of them. I paid off my husband's college loans and it took 10 years to do it. I will help my children any way that I can so that they don't start out their young lives saddled with loans to pay back.

One last thing...my son said to me after about 6 weeks of college last fall that he can tell which kids are paying for their college and which kids have parents who are paying for everything. He could tell by how much they were studying!

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I paid (and am still paying for) my way through college. I think it's irresponsible for a parent to put their child in a huge amount of debt right as they begin starting their adult life. This is why for my son's 2 yr birthday, I started a college savings plan which I contribute a little to each month. It's not too late to start one if you are considering- every little bit helps. Here in NC, contributions up to $5000 a year will earn a deduction on state returns. Not sure about your state...

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HI K.,

This is a complicated issue. If the parent is not able to pay for it, it really is a mute point. You can't spend what you don't have. The child will qualify for more financial aid if they apply on their own - your income doesn't neccessarily disqualify them. I don't think any child should "expect" this type of gift from their parents. My parents paid for my college education, but their were conditions. I had to have a "B" average or the money stopped. I also received a lot of scholarship money. I also worked while going to school to earn spending money. It's never too late to start saving. I do think you need to sit down with your child and have an honest discussion about this. She is old enough to understand. Let her know what you're willing and able to provide. I would stress to her the importance of good grades and SAT scores in high school, so that she does qualify for scholarships. When the time comes, she'll have to compare all of her options. Good luck! L.

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I am a mother of 4 girls, my financial advisor told me something wise a very long time ago. He said that saving for college is good but there are so many grants and scholarships available that the monies saved for college is better spent on saving for retirement. There is a book at your local library that has a listing of all grants and scholarships available.

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Absolutely! The parent knew when they got pregnant that they would be responsible for the proper care, upbringing & highest education of this child. No matter whether college was saved for the parent has a few options. First, start saving if that is a possibility. 2nd, start looking into student loans/financial aid for the child. There are tons of grants out there for the child, as well. So have a serious talk with the child about college and the fact that the grades they are making now will have a large impact on getting into and getting funded for college. They must do there part... this includes researching and applying for the grants. And, if it is possible when the child is of age, have them get a part-time job to start saving for college. Financial aid and grants do not tend to cover fun, food and gas while in college. These things all have to be considered. Plus, when a kid has to earn for themselves they tend to be a bit more responsible. Good luck to you and whatever the outcome!

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I think that if you are in a financial situation that has not allowed you to save for college, single mother, one parent working,sudden medical bills for illnesses,etc... You child probably already realizes that college cost a lot and if you have been financially struggling for a time that mom won't have all this extra available $$ for college. That being said look into community colleges for at least the first couple of years. In MO they have a program called the A+, if you have decent grades, and sign up for tutoring other students, younger I think,and do community service projects the local community college lets you attend for no cost for the class, you still have to buy books and pay lab fees, etc... I don't know if TN has anyhthing like that. We helped our kids out but did not pay all of it. There are loans that parents can take to pay for school also. Talk to the guidance counselor at the school. They should be able to help also. Good Luck and God Bless

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Here's my opinion:

My parents did not pay for my college (bachelor's degree) and I took out student loans to pay for it. I could not get grants because my parents made too much to qualify. However, they did pay for my sister's entire bachelor's degree...down to her food and housing, etc.

I worked 3 jobs while in college to pay for my living expenses, books, etc. I have student loans that for about every $100 I pay, about $40 goes to interest...and that is with a "low" interest rate of 5.5%. Getting student loans it is NOT the way to go. I started my adult life with thousands of dollars in loans. Being a mom, I wish I had that money to spend on my son. I wish I could be saving that money for my son's college. The money I could be using to save for retirement/my children's college, I'm paying out each month. So, to make a long story short, don't do student loans or keep them to as least as possible.

I will tell you that my sister was able to do a lot more in college than me. She was in the marching band and was able to focus much more on her school work.

I am all for the college student working evenings, weekends, or summers, etc, and in general taking responsiblity. But I think it is totally unfair to put so much on a student that they have trouble finding time to study.

Just remember, schools have payment plans and they will work with you. If you cannot afford a 4 year school, definately do the first 2 years at a community college. Also, getting a technical degree can be a powerful asset. Then the student can have a decent well-paying job while they finish up the last 2 years of their bachelor degree. For example, getting a 2 year nursing dgree. You can work 3 days a week, 12 hour shifts, then use the other 4 days a week to finish up your degree.

But again, I believe it is completely unfair for a 22 year old to come out of college and start their adult life with thousands of dollars in student loans. It hurts my family financially...and it's one of the main reason's I cannot be a stay at home mom.

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If the child is a good student, have him/her to go to a guidance counselor (and others) to apply EARLY for any and all available scholarships! It helps tremendously. And if the kid's NOT a great student (I mean 'doesn't try' vs 'has to work hard to make good grades), then I think s/he should prove him/herself diligent toward furthering his/her education.

As to who pays, there are many 'opinions' that go one way or the other, but it's totally a matter of choice per family! There are also programs to help 'invest' toward a college education.

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I'm not sure if they changed the laws since I graduated from college 5 years ago, but I know that the parents' income can disqualify a person from receiving financial aid, as it must be declared on their FAFSA form. This may only be if the parent claims the child on tax returns. Check into that.

Personally, I think parents should HELP pay for college, but paying for the whole thing...that's up to your family. Then again, my parents paid for 2/3 of my college, and scholarships paid the rest. It was nice to know that I only had to have a job if I wanted extra spending money. Then again, I don't think I studied as hard as I would have if I had to pay for it on my own.

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I have seen it both ways. My parents helped me pay for my schooling. I went to a Community College for the 1st 2 years and then finished at the Community College through a University extension program. I now have my degree from a University, but it cost MUCH less than if I had gone the 4 years at the actual University. Because it cost less, my parents helped out with the expenses that were left after scholarships and aid. I have friends who paid their entire way through by taking out loans. Loan programs are a good idea if there is no savings to draw from and if scholarships and aid are not an option. I also have a friend who took out loans and now her parents pay half of the monthly payment and she pays the other half. It all depends on the situation. I never expected my parents to help me the way they did and I am very grateful for it. I also would have understood if the expenses were on me. Now that I have my own child, I hope to be able to provide her with an education, but I also am not going to work 60 hour weeks to do it. Like I said, it depends on what is feasible in the situation. The parents and child should sit down and decide what works best for everyone. Community Colleges are a great alternative as well as Extension programs offered at most Community Colleges. Student loans can be a great help too as can scholarships and aid. It is important to do the research and to use your child's school as a resource. Guidance Counselors usually have a lot of info on these issues. Hope I've given some insight. Take care!

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I think that it totally depends on the child. My parents paid for my brothers education to the tune of 100,000.00 He totally wasted thier money. He took it for granted and spent 6 years full time getting a B.A., although he did well in high school he never recieved anything higher than a "c". To be truthful he graduated with a "D" average but becuase it was a private int many people that hire him are unware that his scores were so low. He was big man on campus two years running. Never worked during that six year period. He said that he didn't want it to interfer with his college experience. He now makes less than 20,000 a year, continues to need their financal support. While on the other hand my sister and I finance our entire edu ourself. In part because my parents didn't believe in paying for women to attend college. They thought that we would marry and it would be a waste of money. My brother is the youngest. It was tough at times. We usually had old editions from libary to study from (many times we couldn't afford to buy the books for our classes). Sometimes I would give my sister my tution money for the quarter so that she would not have to drop out. I joined the reserve (military) to defray the cost. I also worked a third shift job ft while attending school. Now that I look back it was totally worth it. She is a now a successful Doctor, and althought, I'm a homemaker now. I have a degree in Psy and Minor in Social. We both graduated with honors. We are close and have an amazing relationship. The lessons that I learned are invalable. I met my wonderful husband through me sister and he could not believe how close we are. With that all said when my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child we started his college fund, and I decided to stay at home. We decided not to buy the luxury car and buy something more modest. Our friends often wonder why we don't have the latest model vech or why we don't have a boat but we decided a long time ago that our children would not have to struggle the way that we did. We also decided that we wanted to create whole individuals that would appreciate the sacafices that we went thought to get them to where they want to be. We are teaching them to be grateful and not think that it is a right, or that we owe them anything. I hope this helps. It also helped for my sister and I too forgive our parents for not helping us when we needed it. To realize that they were not perfect, then neither are we. I know that our mother is very remorseful and wishes that she has the bond that my sister and I share, esp since our father has passed.

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When I was in high school, my mom told me that if I was going to go to college, I was responsible for paying for it. It felt awful, but it did make me more responsible. I found that there are a handful of colleges out there that are tuition free. They are hard to get into and there are stipulations, of course. Those were the only schools that I applied to. I graduated with a bachelors in '02 and all of my student loans are paid off (and have been for a few years now.) I had taken loans out for books, room and board and those types of things. I owed less than $5000 when I graduated. Giving the child responsibility is good. I paid my own way through college and am stronger for it.

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No, don't think it's your responsibility, although if you can afford it, more power to you. My brother served as an RA in the dorms to get his tuition paid for and financial aide. So no, it's not your responsibility. VERY few parents can just fork out the money. Most kids are going with financial aide and scholarships.

There are also some colleges that offer free tuition in exchange for the students working at the college. College of the Ozarks is one of them and a wonderful university, beautiful campus.

So don't beat yourself up. A child will appreciate their college years a lot better if they are paying for it, more apt to not skip classes or fail. I have a friend whose daughter wanted to go to a private boarding school for High School and her parents had no money. Told her if she could raise the money she could go. So she did, raised all 4 years of room/board & tuition. So, child can get summer jobs to put in savings, work hard at getting scholarships, ask the school counselor there are all kinds, financial aide...there are ways.

Joining the ROTC in college will pay for all tuition & then they serve 4 years in the military upon graduation. But they got a free education. Or serve 4 years military & invest in the GI Bill and take college when they get out.

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Check out Dave Ramsey. He is selling his books on his website right now for $10 each. Teaching your child the principles of money management and financial responsibility would be as worthwhile as paying for college.

I worked hard and got good grades in high school, and got a full tuition scholarship to an in-state university, along with some other scholarships. When my own money (from my savings and scholarships) ran out, my mom would send me money as needed, about $500 a month for all my expenses - ten years ago, (tuition was already covered by scholarships - but I did have to maintain my grades and take 15 or more hours a semester). I lived modestly, sharing a bedroom with a roommate, seldom eating out or paying much for entertainment, driving an old, paid-for car, etc. My mom had also bought some educational savings bonds when I was younger, and we'd use those as needed. By the time I was a senior, I was working full time, and didn't need help from my mom any more. I finished school without any debt. That is priceless. I think it's ridiculous for people to finish a bachelors degree with tons of debt - it sets them up for financial disaster, or at least hardship, in life.

Ultimately, it is up to your child to pay for college if that's what he/she wants to do, but it is immensely helpful if you can pitch in and guide him/her in personal responsibility so that your efforts/money are not wasted.

My husband was able to live at home and attend the same university that I did, and also got the full tuition scholarship that I did, along with Pell grants, and he always worked, but that was for his spending money (gas, insurance, dating, entertainment, car, etc.) In his opinion, he did it himself without help from his parents, and the kids should be able to as well. But, I believe we will help as needed when the time comes.

It is reasonable to tell your child what you can afford to do, such as an in-state university vs. Yale..., or going to a local university so he/she can live at home and save money on room/board.

As a 9th grader now, there is still plenty of time to do all the things that count for a lot on scholarship applications, namely excellent grades, good citizenship (service clubs, boy scouts, etc.), extra curricular activities, etc. The guidance counselor at school should be able to help with all that.

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I think it depends no your situation. My mom was a single mom and did everything she could for me as I grew up including working 2 jobs to keep us in a nice house, in a nice neighborhood, in a nice school district. That meant that when it was time to go to college she couldn't afford to pay my full tuition.

So when I went off to school she gave me whatever she could and the rest was my responsibility. Honestly though, having to pay for my own school made me work harder. Many of the people I knew who had parents paying for all of their tuition skipped class, failed classes, etc because they didn't see the value.

One of my friends parents told him that they would split the cost of school 50/50 with him and that any scholarships went towards his 50%. I think that is an awesome solution and what I hope to do for my own kids. That way they still see the value of the education, they aren't 100% responsible for the bills, but they have the motivation to work towards and apply for scholarships.

Good luck!

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It's different for everyone, I think. My husband's parents paid for his college. He barely passed many of his classes and developed a bad drinking habit and other bad habits that went with it.

I took out loans to paid for my own college. I got straight As and well involved in the college and accepted to a very good law school.

Personally, I think kids take more responsibility when they pay for it themselves. My loans were paid off years ago and were not very burdensome, even though they totaled nearly $20,000 since I went to a private school. Kids have a LOT of options besides having it paid for by their parents. Good luck.

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It depends on the financial situation of the parents, and also on the college wishes of the child. If you have squandered money that could/should have gone into a college fund, you may rightly feel guilty about not having done more, and you may feel that to "make it up" to your child, that you ought to foot some of the bill. If you didn't save because you couldn't, then you shouldn't feel guilty about it, and you can give them your best wishes.

If you could pay for an in-state school, but your child wants to go to a private and/or out-of-state school (where the tuition is higher), then they need to fully pay for that choice. Ditto renting an apartment compared to staying in a dorm. Research all the costs of college (books, tuition, dorm, food), and see where you can trim costs. If you have a college nearby that they could go to and stay with you for free (and tuition is likewise inexpensive), but they insist on living on campus or in their own apartment or going to another college, then they're going to have to pay for it. Just like you shouldn't have to pay for their candy, but are responsible to feed them good food -- if they want something extra, they need to pay for it themselves. None of the mentality of "I exist, therefore you need to serve me"!

You still have 4 more years ahead of you, so see if you can squeeze out some money between now and then to help offset the cost, and start drilling it into your child's head that both now in high school as well as in college, s/he will need to work after school, on weekends, and during summer to save money for her college, as well as keep her grades up for scholarships, and apply for as many scholarships as possible. There are thousands of small scholarships available nationwide, and if s/he gets a hundred scholarships for $100 apiece, then that's $10,000 neither of you have to come up with. [If you're asking for a friend whose child is graduating this year, then she won't have these 4 years, so her child will just have to work while going to school.]

If your child won't put forth effort to go to college, and expects you to pay for it all (even taking out loans if necessary), then I don't think you should give him/her a dime! If s/he doesn't want to go to college badly enough that s/he is willing to pay for at least some of it, then why should you work and slave so that s/he can live fancy-free and squander his/her college years? Besides, if s/he has to work a lot in addition to going to school full-time, that will keep the mischief at a low level, as well as give him/her an appreciation of the value of working -- which can be an even better education than any college can do!

1 mom found this helpful

I think it's a shared responsibility. We've always encouraged our kids to work when they can and save money for school. While they were in high school, we reminded them to get good grades and stay active so they could qualify for scholarships, and there are some scholarships for students as young as 9th grade. We've also searched out less expensive schools. It's been rough because we have six. The oldest had a two-year scholarship and then quit when the money ran out. Our second and third have worked their way through school (we don't believe in student loans) and are still doing so (we still help our third son). Our fourth was accepted to four different schools and we chose the least expensive, but he's getting a great education and working to contribute to the costs. We have two more. One won't have the grades for scholarships and will probably start out at community college. The other, who starts high school next fall, is determined to go to Harvard and is ready to work hard to get there.

Kids must work while in college, but it is our responsibility to help as much as we can.

1 mom found this helpful

I think that there are a lot of ways that parent can help their child get a college education. Just helping with school and financial aid research is a huge help. The parent can offer free room and board for the child to be a commuter student. 2 year colleges are much less expensive than a 4 year school and the end result is still an Associates Degree, transfering to a 4 year school is always an option after that. Everyone that I know who's parents paid their way through school took much longer than 4 years and half of those people do not use their degrees. I think that there is a compromise where both the parent and the child contribute to the expenses and it just depends on the family as to what kind of compromise would be best. I do think that a college education is necessary in this economy and any support given will increase the child's chances of succeding in life.

I think it's great when parents help their kids with college because starting out in the adult world without tons of school loans is a great gift to an adult child. However, not all parents can do that--mine couldn't--and they were very up front with me that they would help me all they could, but that I would need to get good grades and apply for scholarships, and the rest would have to be in loans. I was mentally well-prepared for that, and in the end I liked feeling responsible for my education.

Now I also have a friend who could afford to send her son to college, but she was afraid that he would slack off and be wasting her money. I suggested that he pay for college with student loans in his name (although she would still have to pay the minimum parent contribution), and then if he maintained a certain GPA, she could pay off the loans when he was through, and if he slacked off, he would be responsible for footing the bill for those semesters.

If you don't have the money to help send your child to college now, but your kid is not a slacker, and you do want to help, then maybe you can contribute what you can throughout the college years and also help pay off the loans afterward. That way it's a joint effort and the burden is shared between you.

I paid for my own college tuition. Well, I say that I used grant money and student loans. It made me work harder for my grades and I went to class because I knew it was all on my head. Nobody else was making me do it.

I selected the college and I decided to finish. Because of that I have developed a "Follow through attitude".

With this though, I knew that I wanted to help my child more than I was helped so I started a 529 as soon as I got his social security number.

Its not to late to start a 529, if you want. Just go to your local bank and they will help you decide what the best route would be.

Good luck!

I am also the parent of a 9th grader and ultimately I think that it is the parent's responsibility to assist the child with gaining admission,providing financial aid information and supplementing scholarships, aid with living expenses whether the young adult attends on campus or lives with the parent. College requires a huge amount of commitment and work so the student should definitely have an investment in every area of the process..even student loans. I will ensure that my child fully understands the process and she's working on scholarships NOW : ) Of course if parents can afford to they should assist more financially; however, I think that parents should protect their retirement.

I think the parent should help the child if they are able. If the parent didn't save and the parent has a low enough income bracket the child might qualify for aid. An alternative is for the child to wait a year and work so that after a year he is considered independent, and then he would qualify for more aid. At least help them navigate loans, etc. Don't get one that starts charging interest immediately rather than after they graduate or they'll forever be in the hole. At any rate, I would do whatever it took to help my child get their education because it is so important, and nowadays cutting them loose when they're 18 isn't responsible because it takes a college degree to be competitive in the job market.

I paid for my own college, but I had to wait until I was 25 to attend because they ask for the parent's financial information on loan applications unless the student is 25 or above or married. So yes, I think the parents should help out with whatever financial aid does not cover. Of course, I am coming from the perspective of a person who owes 35K in student loans. ...not a great way to start out.

K....a person can go to college in this day and age, and get help with the fees. My mother was a single mom and couldn't help me pay for college...guess what??? I found a way! It wasn't what she wanted, joined the military, but after 8 wonderful years serving my country, taking classes for free while in, and then my GI Bill to pay for the remainder, I completed college and have looked into going back for my Masters....with today's economy, the government has several ways to help our kids. I suggest starting with a 2 year community college, live at home, save money and work while going to school. My cousin's ex, who now makes over 1 million a year....put himselft through 6 years of college working 2 jobs. Had a few student loans but nothing outrageous. It depends on how much a person wants it. Good luck and hope this helps!

I think if you didn't save or you can't pay for it, then please help your child look into grants and scholaships and work study programs. Sometimes students can also get jobs on campus if they're residents.
I was lucky enough to be left an inheritance for college, but when it still didn't pay for everything my parents paid for it. However, when I withdrew I paid the fees.

My parents felt it was their privaledge to provide a college education. The deal was that if our grades dropped below a 2.0 overall, we had to start paying. So if we were slacking off and partying and not attending class, we had to pay. Also, my parents only paid for the first 4 years. So if we slacked off and had to go an extra year, we had to pay for it.

My husband's parents didn't feel that way. They paid for his first year and his grandparents paid for his second year and then he had to get a job. He actually had 3 jobs at one time because he was also supporting his biological mother.

I think that I would like to pay for my son's college but there would definately be some stipulations

I think each individual case is different, but the children that pay for college tend to take it more seriously in my experience. My parents couldn't pay for me to go to college at all.


Ok. Just wanted to get that out because of what some of the people are advising you. Anyway, there are tons of scholarships and grants out there. Encourage your child to start saving himself as well as looking to see what is available. You are responsible until that child has graduated from highschool, but legally, not beyond that. You and your child could look at different aspects such as dorm versus home. Parents paying for college can be nice, but I have seen it backfire horribly. A lot of the students that had parents paying for everything tended to not be serious and received much lower grades. I have even heard some of those kids in the councelor's office, complaining that parents were threatening to cut them off if they failed a class.

I am paying back student loans, but they are not as bad as some people make them seem. Advise your son to be careful. Only borrow money that is absolutely necessary for attending class and surviving. Do not borrow money for a car, partying, etc... I had enough grants to take care of my tuition and got loans for books and living expenses.

I hope this helps some. Good luck with highschool.

I think that if the parent is able to help, they should. I think that the child should try to get as much grants and scholarships as they can but that they should not be burdened with loans after they graduate or should not be worried about working so hard that they do not do well in school. My parents did not save for my college but my great grandmother left money for me. I was able to go to college without any loans but had to work to pay for my books, food, living expenses, etc If you can start saving now and can save enough for his/her first and/or second year then you can work while he/she is attending and be saving for the third and fourth year. The child can work part time while in college to pay for living expenses and if they are at a local school that is not too expensive, they may be able to help pay as they go as well.

Good luck,

Here is my point of view. My husband and I had our 3 children keeping in mind that we were going to see them through all their years of school including college. I have several friends from high school that their parents handed them the payment booklet right after graduation and it took them years to pay it off, so they were not able to pay for cars, or do much of anything else because they had to pay off their college. An alternative for you is to find out if their is a community college near by that has a 2 and 2 program. Your child would spend their first 2 years at the community college and then transfer to a 4 year college for the remaining two years. Also check with your childs high school. My son will be a senior next year and he will be taking 2 college courses in the fall and 2 in the spring through the local Community college. He will graduate from high school with 4 college credits. Call the counselor at your childs school when they get closer to their senior year. There are so many scholorships out there that you would not believe exist.

I really think it depends on the child.When my husband started college at 18 it was all paied for by Duke because his mother worked(s) there. He dropped out after a year because he did not care since he was not paying for it. He went back after 5 years ,finished but now we are paying off $36.000 of student loans. His sister on the other hand took that oppotinity and now has college degree and FAT ZERO of debt.As parents we know our kids, unfortunatly for some of them it takes longer to get it togather.IF my kids are responsible and go to college I surely hope my husband and I would help them with payments(because I know what it's like to live with so much debt)

uh yeah! your childs education is your responsibility. thats why you start saving before you have them lol... (need to get on that myself)

I do feel the parent should take responsiblity for college, not to say that the student can't work during college to help pay for necessities. But it is not to late, start saving now!!! Even if you can get a little in an account now that will get him/her started. You have 3 years left. Set a goal to save a some each month. Make it a priority to set some aside in an interest earning account. Dave Ramsey has some great advice on what kinds of accounts produce the best returns. Good Luck!!!

Financial advice I have heard: You can get loans for school, you can not get loans for retirement. Fund retirement first, school for kids second. Hope that helps.

I believe it is the parent's responisibility to pay for at least half of college. It is very unfair to put that enormous of a burden of debt on a young person. Now if all you can afford is community college then that is what you present and if they choose a big university then you give them what you can and they are on their own.
I am 36 years old and am STILL paying off my college loans because my parents didn't save a dime for my college yet always encouraged me to go to college.
I really don't see any reason why a parent wouldn't save at least some for their child's college.
It is getting more and more difficult to get loans for higher education and my guess is at some point it will no longer be available and those that want to go to college need to be prepared to work their way through or the parent's had better pay for it.

Absolutely yes. Your son will be considered a dependant and your income will be considered when it's time for him to fill out his financial aid forms. Unless he lives independant of you and supports himself 100% then the university expects you to contribute to his tuition, room and board.

My kids are expected and are being groomed to believe they will attend college, no discussion. My husband and I fully expect to pay tuition and all expenses for the first bachelores degree. Graduate school they have to fund on their own.

My parents used loans, grants, workstudy programs, scholarships and I worked part-time sometimes to pay for my extras.

For the vast majority of people, college is a necessity if you want to support yourself and a family.

I am just finishing college myself and the kind of person I am i went pell grant and student loans and looked into scholorships i dont think it was my parents place they gave me room and board and food and everything i needed for the time i was living with them and i personally feel that it was/is my responsibility to pay for it my self i on the other hand am going to do my best to try and save money for mine i hae 3 and i will also help them go the pellgrant and student loan rout i have an adhd kid at least 1 any ways and a lefty so there are 2 that i can help when it comes to that i feel like i need to do my best to help but there are also other ways to help as well.

I think if a parent can pay even if they did not save they should. If anything I think a parent should at least help out. My parents paid for my education and I will try to do the same (if I can).

I don't think it's the parent's responsibility. My parent's paid for mine and I'm grateful for that but if they hadn't I would've gotten student loans. It also doesn't have to be all or nothing. Start saving some now if you can, or help later with student loan payments.

I definitely am a strong believer in parents helping to pay for college. I am aware it is not cheap and unfortunately keeps getting more and more expensive. I would have my child apply for FAFSA and as many scholarships as possible, but encourage them to go and help fund part of it. With as much as schools are these days the kids would be spending the new money they are paying for college to pay for the schooling for quite awhile.

I think it should be the childs responsibility. We have seven kids, there is no way we could pay for their colleges, even if I wanted to! I think anyone who gets a free ride is more apt to think its all a big party, and squander the money spent on college. The ones who have to work for it appreciate it more and actually study instead of partying all the time! We do help our college kids by letting them have free room and board, and even making car payments for them while they are in school. My adult kids who are not in school are expected to pay room & board if they continue to live here with us.

One thing to consider: start saving, or helping them save now. Then the money can can then be used for whatever you all feel it's best suited for, when the time comes. It's not to late to create a Upromise account. You can consider "inviting" family & friends which you think be willing to sign up and help contribute as well.

Keep in mind they may qualify for more Financial Aid or grants if they are no longer being claimed as a dependent. If they are able to, encourage them to take college level courses in HS. Keep in mind that getting an Associates degree may still take 3 or 4 years, unless they have already taken all the "general core" classes.

Here's an article offering some good information & options: http://www.usnews.com/usnews/biztech/articles/060910/18fr...

Good luck with everything.

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