November 29, 2010,
M.H. asks from Fuquay Varina, NC on November 20, 2010
Paying for Child's College Tuition?
Another question on here (about size of family) got me thinking about what the "norm" is for college and children paying these days? I know that every family handles it differently, but a lot of the moms were talking about paying for college and it made me take a step back.
My husband and I plan on helping our child(ren) out as much as we can with college tuition, but honestly, I believe the majority of that "burden" should fall on them. I believe that since they will then be "adults" and are working toward a career, they should be investing their own time and money into it. (Like I said, we will help some, but certainly not all.) I think I feel this way because the kids I knew who had their college education completely paid for seemed to slack off more and fail more classes (my hubby being one of them!). I had quite a few tell me that it wasn't their money, so what did it matter. Those of us that paid/took out loans failed zero classes and took them much more seriously (and my loans are there to prove it!). Again, I know that's not everyone, but it is what I noticed while I was in school.
I'm not trying to start some debate, because I do believe to each his/her own, but what do you think about paying for your child's college education? Is it "adios" when they turn 18? Are you helping with extras, but tuition is theirs to cover? Is it a full ride?
Hope you all are having a good night!
2 moms found this helpful
So What Happened?™
Thank you all for your insightful answers. My son is only 4, so we don't have to think about this for a long time, but I think that as long as my husband and I have given him all of the information (you will have loans adding up to this much, you will need scholarships, etc.), then it should work out just fine.
I hope I didn't offend any of you that didn't have to pay your way. I truly believe that most all college kids (even those who have to fund most/all of their own education) take advantage of the fact that they are there at some point in time, and again, I just saw way too many students who had their way paid that slacked off. Obviously, that is not everyone, it was just my observation.
To the mom that said she hopes I am not making my child pay his own way because I had to...I promise, that is not it. :) My parents actually paid a good portion of my college education (as I plan to do for my son), but they just refused to pay all of it. I believe that working in college and working to help pay for your college prepare you for what is to come in life. Most people do not have mom and dad paying for things as adults, so I believe college is a perfect transition to begin to pay for your own things and begin to understand the value of a dollar. This is just my opinion... :)
Again, thank you all for answering, and keep them coming...no right or wrong here! :)
B.K. answers from Chicago on November 20, 2010
If I can afford it (and I plan to be able to -- my older daughter didn't go to college but my younger one probably will) then there is no question that I'll pay for it. My parents paid for my education, and I wasn't a slacker and didn't take it less seriously. I wouldn't do less for my kids than what was done for me.
I also worked some through college and I would expect that of my kids as well. It helps pay for the extras.
4 moms found this helpful
H.L. answers from New York on November 22, 2010
My husband and I debate this. There are definitely examples of kids who had their way paid and slacked off. But maybe there are just as many people out there who would have finished college or gone if it was paid for and they would be in a much better career now. My take is kids don't ask to be born - we decide to have them. Why would we want to saddle them with debt? Not debt for a fancy car but for an education that is necessary to have a comfortable lifestyle (usually - I know you can do well w/out a college degree but statistically, a degree matters.) And paying for college does not predict a spoiled child. My parents paid for 4 years of an expensive private college despite not being "wealthy". I've never asked for a penny since. My best friend had to pay for some of her education and she's the one who can never seem to stop buying things she doesn't need and absolutely can't afford.
1 mom found this helpful
J.B. answers from Atlanta on November 20, 2010
My parents paid for my college tuition and I was neither a slacker or someone who failed classes and neither were the majority of people I knew well at two different colleges/universities who were being funded by their parents. I believe we should help our kids as much as possible and yes, I definitely plan to pay for all or most of my children's college educations. That's why we set up the 529 accounts that we and their grandparents donate to quite often. My FIL actually puts money into all of his grandkid's accounts every month! I love him for that alone! Most kids whose parents pay for college know that if they screw up -the free ride is over. Parents who continue to pay after their kid is failing and not taking a full load have themselves to blame.
College is extremely expensive! Depending on where your children go -you may not be able to pay it all. Many scholarships and grants exist, and I will be urging my kids and any others to take advantage of any they can. To me though -kids should enjoy their college years. I don't consider college-age kids to be full-fledged "adults." It's a golden time between living with parents and being a "kid" and having to be a full-fledged adult. It's their first experience out on their own and I would hate for my kids to spend most of their non-class time working. They'll have had summer jobs during high school, and they'll have the rest of their lives to work. I'm fine with some sort of part-time job for extras they want (I usually had one when I was in college), but I don't want them feeling like they have to wait tables 40 hours a week and take a full class load to make ends meet. I also don't want my child saddled with student loans for years and years after graduating as many of my friends are -and my husband who DID screw up and eventually had to pay his own way. So yes, I plan on paying for them or at least as much as we possibly can.
8 moms found this helpful
M.V. answers from New York on November 21, 2010
My husband and I are funding our children's college education 100% - we consider it an investment in their future. If they had to pay for it themselves, there is no way they could afford to go to the school of their choice. We do not expect them to work full-time while they are away in college - their job is to focus on their schoolwork and get good grades. They know this is a privilege and also know if they do not hold up their end of the bargain by applying themselves, they will have to withdraw, return home, and apply to a local school that they can commute to. Fortunately, we are blessed with 2 kids who are highly motivated and responsible and take their education seriously, and we are in a position where we are able to do this for them. I don't think that having your education funded by your parents makes you any less motivated as a student, but I guess that depends on what kind of student you've been all along.
7 moms found this helpful
J.R. answers from Glens Falls on November 21, 2010
My parents paid for everything but I certainly wasn't a slacker and I paid for everything for my daughter, too, and she did way better in college than she did in high school! I think it depends on your financial circumstances and your child's maturity and attitude towards education.
7 moms found this helpful
J.V. answers from Chicago on November 21, 2010
We have college funds for both kids, and we will contribute as much as we can possibly afford. It would be nice to pay 100% of their college costs, but we shall see if that's possible.
You are also crazy in thinking that only kids who pay their own way do well. My parents paid for my undergraduate education and I graduated with honors. It has little to do with who is paying for it. I knew I wanted to get a PhD, so I had to do well to get into a top grad program. Also, how would your theory explain the thousands upon thousands of kids that attend community colleges and never get anywhere? They are usually paying for their own schooling.
6 moms found this helpful
L.A. answers from Austin on November 21, 2010
I have told this story here a million times.
When our daughter was 3, she asked about how school works.. I explained day care, kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, high school and then College.. I told her "the neat thing about College is that you get to live at the school!" She was so excited she said she wanted to go to college "Where it snows!"
I was like wooo.. where did that come from? I was thinking here in Texas..
Anyway I immediately said "We would love for you to go to college where it snows, but that is very far away and will cost a lot of money." Mommy and daddy do not have a lot of money so you will need to work really hard and study a lot in school, so you can get scholarships and grants to go to school where it snows."
And she did it! She was a National Merit Scholar, applied to 9 top tier colleges, was accepted to all of them and was awarded Presidential Scholarships and grants at EVERY college.. We still pay a bit, but she really earned it.. In the summers and during holidays she works for her spending money. She is very frugal.
The First year Texas offered the opportunity to purchase the Texas Tomorrow plan, my mom purchased it.. This has helped to pay the Tuition based on Texas in state tuition, even though our daughter is up north..
Our daughter is a double major, Deans list, and takes her education extremely serious.. Out of her classmates that went away to college, there are 2 that I can think of that flunked out.. These were kids that their parents really forced them to go to college, even though to the rest of us, felt they needed time to mature..
Most of the parents helped their children quite a bit with paying for college, but most of them also qualified for some assistance..
You do what you feel is right. But make sure your kids understand their part of the puzzle. That you are going to pay tuition, so they will need to do their part and save for everything else.. .. If they continue to live with you while in college.. keep this in mind they will be there 4 more years..
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K.P. answers from Memphis on November 21, 2010
I think it mostly depends on what you are able to do. If you are financially able to save the money to send your kids to college, then it makes sense for you to do so; if you're low-income and/or have a lot of kids, you may truly not be able to do so. It also depends on where the kids want to go to college -- an in-state public school will be (comparatively) cheap, while an out-of-state and/or private school may have you paying through the nose. Take a look at your financial situation, how old your kids are, and how much you can save for them. And as you save for their college education, drill it into their heads that they *will* go to college and *will* work hard and *won't* waste your money. You're right that a lot of kids will just blow off college because it's not *their* money they're wasting. Taking the time to lay the groundwork in your kids' pre-college years will save you some time and heartache during their college years.
I have nothing against making kids pay for their own college, and think it's generally a good idea (although I don't know that it's necessarily a panacea for them to take out loans; I've known many kids who have goofed off during college and/or taken out more money than they needed for tuition and books because the pay-back time/date on their loans seemed so far away). At the least, I don't think that parents should pick up the difference between an inexpensive college and an expensive one, just because the kid wants to go to an expensive one. [I'm laying the groundwork on that one, even though my kids are only 4 & 6 -- I give them clothes and food and toys and such, but if they want something other than what they have, they will have to pay for it. For example, my older son wanted a "Lightning McQueen" toy he saw at Walmart for $20, and I made him pay for it with his birthday money, rather than just buying it for him. I buy him most of his toys at yard sales, and he is perfectly content with that most of the time; since he wanted a particular brand-new toy that was 10-100x the price I normally pay for toys, he had to pay for it himself. The same principle will apply with college - if he wants a different college from what we can afford, he will have to pay for it.]
Also, if you pay for part or all of their college, it should be dependent on their grades. There is no way you should sign up for paying 4 years of college for them to goof off and flunk many of their classes. Take it year by year, or even one semester at a time -- just like college grants are done. If they prove themselves to be studious and hard-working, they can go to college the next semester/year; if not, you won't pay a dime, and they'll have to take full loans or drop out and start working.
Plus, they should probably be made to save some/most of their money from working as a teenager, to pay for college, and be made to work during the summer and also at night and on weekends *during* college, to defray expenses. For one thing, they won't have enough time to get into trouble. ;-) And for another, they'll be more appreciative of money, and the cost of living, and of hard work -- all very good things for them to learn in life!
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T.F. answers from Dallas on November 21, 2010
People have a lot of different views on this topic. You have to do what you feel is right for your family.
My husband and I feel it is our parental obligation to get our daughter through college debt free. We have planned things in such a way that there will be no loans.
We started saving when she was born and we are prepared for her full ride. We anticipate/plan for $60,000 + a year. Of course, she'll contribute to her personal expenses, may have a scholarship or 2 but she will not have the added pressure of trying to finance her education. It is a full ride for our daughter.
Our daughter is very driven, motivated and looks forward to her expereince. She knows she has a full ride and she knows what is expected of her as far as grades, hard work, etc. She is excited about college. We started visiting colleges this fall. She's currently in 10th grade.
It does depend on personal circumstances and the discipliine you have. We are fortunate. We are very hard workers, have strong work ethic and things have paid off for us financially. We live debt free and we are fully funded for our retirement.
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N.S. answers from Raleigh on November 21, 2010
My husband and I plan on contributing as much as possible and have already started saving (they are 2 and 5). We will sit down with our kids close to college time and let them know how much money they have in their college accounts and take a look at the schools they want to go to.
My husband worked part time in college for spending money, and it didn't cut into his school work. He was able to graduate without student loans. I worked summers and saved up my spending money for the year.
I have way too many friends that graduated with student loans. Some are almost 40 and still paying some of them off. I absolutely DO NOT want to start my kids off in "real life" with loans and the lesson that they can borrow money to get what they want instead of saving for it. It's hard enough to pay the bills when you are in an entry level job, adding a loan payment on top of it makes it harder.
I'm not saddling my kids with debt, nor am I tapping into my retirement account to pay for college. They have X amount and we'll budget it together when they are ready to go off to school. Having debt (and the stress it brings) is not a "life lesson" in this house. Budgeting and saving is.
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