50 answers

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.

2 moms found this helpful

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!

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.

More Answers

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.

3 moms found this helpful

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!

3 moms found this helpful

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.

2 moms found this helpful

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.

2 moms found this helpful

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.

2 moms found this helpful

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.

2 moms found this helpful

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.


2 moms found this helpful

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.

2 moms found this helpful

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