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Old 04-21-2013, 08:49 PM   #601
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I would never go into debt for college especially when there is a cheaper way. I might have you mistaken with another poster and I apologize if I do, but wasn't it your son who didn't do great in high school? If so, between that and the fact that he isn't responsible says to me that he isn't ready for a four year college that will cause you significant debt. If it was my kid (and it likely will be with my 15 y/o) he would start at a community college and we would reevaluate after a few semesters.
He had a rough first two years, and was then diagnosed with Lyme Disease (he had it for a long time before diagnosis). Once treated and the side effects healed, he was like a different kid. Junior year and senior year- mostly A's. This year- 4.0 all quarters so far.

I am not worried about him academically. I feel that he needs to be more independent. I don't know how he can get that if he is living at home. I don't know if I would go so far as to say he is irresponsible- but he is more afraid of failure so he shuts down. He is always afraid of doing things wrong. But he has taken on leadership roles in clubs, groups, and a summer camp and he does quite well in those areas.

The state school will probably be our cheapest option and we will never have the cash in pocket to pay outright. It's either parent loans or a HELOC. We do have some money tied in savings bonds, and if we can figure out the tax implications of cashing them, it will cover 2 years. We are meeting with an accountant this week. Unfortunately, the bulk of the bonds are in my DS's name, which after doing some research, we have learned is NOT a good thing. Hopefully we can find a loophole or something to make it work. But we WILL have to take on some debt.
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Old 04-21-2013, 08:57 PM   #602
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He had a rough first two years, and was then diagnosed with Lyme Disease (he had it for a long time before diagnosis). Once treated and the side effects healed, he was like a different kid. Junior year and senior year- mostly A's. This year- 4.0 all quarters so far.

I am not worried about him academically. I feel that he needs to be more independent. I don't know how he can get that if he is living at home. I don't know if I would go so far as to say he is irresponsible- but he is more afraid of failure so he shuts down. He is always afraid of doing things wrong. But he has taken on leadership roles in clubs, groups, and a summer camp and he does quite well in those areas.

The state school will probably be our cheapest option and we will never have the cash in pocket to pay outright. It's either parent loans or a HELOC. We do have some money tied in savings bonds, and if we can figure out the tax implications of cashing them, it will cover 2 years. We are meeting with an accountant this week. Unfortunately, the bulk of the bonds are in my DS's name, which after doing some research, we have learned is NOT a good thing. Hopefully we can find a loophole or something to make it work. But we WILL have to take on some debt.
Does the financial aid package from the school already include Stafford loans (which would be in your son's name only) and work study (where your son would earn money during the year)? If not then definitely look into the Stafford loan-I think it's limited to around $2500 for freshmen.
Also most financial aid packages have an expected contribution from the student-i.e. earnings from a part time or summer job. Is your son working? This would lessen the amount you and your dh would have to pay. (unless it's already been accounted for in the package).

Good luck-I understand what you are saying about wanting him to go away to school. I hope it works out.

edited to add, just say your post below, we were posting at the same time. Again good luck!
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Old 04-21-2013, 08:58 PM   #603
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I wouldn't do it. I went to a very expensive school. I paid for it myself with work, grants and loans. I went to school with a lot of kids who had parents write a check each semester for the full cost. And then partied their time away and never had a full appreciation for the value of that education.They had no skin in the game. I strongly feel that kids need to own part of the process to appreciate what they are getting.

I don't know your son so can't say what is best. Our oldest had some similar issues to yours. He ended up going to a private school here in town as a commuter student. And he still didn't get his license until TWO DAYS before beginning his 40 mile round trip commute through the city each day. I still bear the extra gray hair that whole process gave me.

Our second just committed to a school 3 1/2 hours away from home. Thankfully he is much more of a self-starter, so probably not as much gray hair (I hope) coming out of this process, even though he's moving away.

Both of them are taking a small amount of student loans to make it happen. I would never take a loan on my house to make it happen. This is the point where they have to want to make it happen.

Many students start at one school and never make it through the first year. I would never put my home at risk for that. And it's not the sort of pressure I would want my child to feel. Maybe you can find a way to help him grow and be more independent while doing the 2 years at the community college if that's all he can afford right now.

And you're not alone in many ways. Our oldest turns 20 tomorrow. And I finally got him doing his own laundry about a year ago. I still highly suspect that he wears a lot of dirty clothes. But he would likely be doing that if he were away at school too. I have really had to learn to just let go of many things with that approach. Treat him as if he was away at school, even though he's living at home. It's definitely a work in progress here though.
He is getting grants and loans, and qualified for work/study. In fact, he got more than I thought he would. But when the colleges are $40K (private) and $23K (small state school), you still need to come up with the balance. Unfortunately, we don't have that kind of money laying around. We could do a parent loan, but at 7+% interest, it doesn't exactly make sense. He will be taking out the max on Stafford loans in his name, so he does have some "skin" in the game. He is working this summer and will be paying for his car insurance (if he passes the darn test!) and will pay for his books and other expenses.
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:07 PM   #604
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We have at least 4 community colleges within a 2.5 hour drive that have on campus living. Would that be an option for your son? It would give him the freedom and nudge that you want, but not be as expensive as the in state school.
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:07 PM   #605
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I have been getting a lot of advice from friends and a lot of it includes sending my son to community college for 2 years to save money. While I have no problem at all with community college, and I think it would be a perfect choice financially, my DS17 NEEDS to go away. He is super dependent on my DH and I, and he really needs to grow up. We give him responsibilities around here, but he is the type of kid who is afraid of everything and in turn, that sabotages everything he tries. He failed his license test 6 weeks ago- and has another test scheduled for the end of April- but he's not driving yet. He finally does his own wash, but it took months of me saying "yes, that's right" until he could do it with NO input from me at all. I need him out of here for his own good. He needs to know he can survive on his own, and if he makes a mistake, it's OK and he will bounce back.

So, we are probably going to go into some major debt, against our house, on this kid. I am terrified of this. We are currently debt-free. So I ask- in your opinion, is this a good reason to go into debt?
I would not send the son away either. To put it this way, my son is also a senior and he is going to community college.

He is fairly independent (can drive, has job) but has strong organizational challenges. He has been taking community colleges while in high school since his sophomore year- only part time- one class a summer. He is now transferring to another community college to enroll in a degree completion program =Drexel at Bcc.

He does not want to be away. He is a comfortable at home kid and isn't . social- he has even said he doesn't want to be distracted by other people and other things. He is also aware that my daughter (a sophomore) is not far away from college herself. He knows about the financial hit that will be for both of them in school

To be fair, his classes will transfer over to another 4 year school if he chooses.

Personally if you know your kid- don't push him to go away. I would not want to put up against house collateral if you aren't sure about his ability.
Honestly, would you feel resentment about this if he doesn't do well?

Will he thrive? You don't know
What will he do when he gets a poor grade and/or constructive criticism? Will he withdraw more or will he use it as a thriving kick in the pants?
How is his time management? Organizational skills? Social skills?


I would personally find a community college class for him to take as soon as possible. My son will take one 10 week one beginning in May ending in July, and he is taking classes in September.

He wants community courses- but at a different campus. He switched to a different school because it was more professional and a different environment. It is a little more expensive but it is worth it to him to thrive.
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:13 PM   #606
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MarcyinPA

We have at least 4 community colleges within a 2.5 hour drive that have on campus living. Would that be an option for your son? It would give him the freedom and nudge that you want, but not be as expensive as the in state school.
The only PA community college to offer housing is about 10 minutes from where I live. Housing is limited (demand exceeds supply), so they base acceptance on how far away you live. It is doubtful that he would get a room. It is too bad that more community colleges don't offer housing. It would be helpful for a lot of kids!
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:17 PM   #607
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He had a rough first two years, and was then diagnosed with Lyme Disease (he had it for a long time before diagnosis). Once treated and the side effects healed, he was like a different kid. Junior year and senior year- mostly A's. This year- 4.0 all quarters so far.

I am not worried about him academically. I feel that he needs to be more independent. I don't know how he can get that if he is living at home. I don't know if I would go so far as to say he is irresponsible- but he is more afraid of failure so he shuts down. He is always afraid of doing things wrong. But he has taken on leadership roles in clubs, groups, and a summer camp and he does quite well in those areas.
Honestly, he sounds like the sort of kid I would still be hesitant to send away to school. If he's at home and you see him shutting down in fear of failure, you can step in and help him come up with a strategy for success. If he's away, it's going to be much harder for you to see that it's happening.

My friend's son had trouble away at school the first year. He started struggling and just stopped going to a couple of his classes. She had no idea that's what was happening until he got his first semester grades. And some of his financial aid was dependent on a certain GPA and he ended up withdrawing.

It is precisely this sort of kid I would have misgivings about sending away to school.

Ultimately you're the one who knows your child though. You'll have to listen to that inner voice that tells you what is right. For our oldest, that little voice screamed at me that he needed to be home (thankfully that's what he wanted too). For our second, that inner voice is screaming that he needs to get away.

Just remember, it's not a race. Some mature at a different pace than others. It's the end result that matters, not how they get there.
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:18 PM   #608
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I would not send the son away either. To put it this way, my son is also a senior and he is going to community college.

He is fairly independent (can drive, has job) but has strong organizational challenges. He has been taking community colleges while in high school since his sophomore year- only part time- one class a summer. He is now transferring to another community college to enroll in a degree completion program =Drexel at Bcc.

He does not want to be away. He is a comfortable at home kid and isn't . social- he has even said he doesn't want to be distracted by other people and other things. He is also aware that my daughter (a sophomore) is not far away from college herself. He knows about the financial hit that will be for both of them in school

To be fair, his classes will transfer over to another 4 year school if he chooses.

Personally if you know your kid- don't push him to go away. I would not want to put up against house collateral if you aren't sure about his ability.
Honestly, would you feel resentment about this if he doesn't do well?

Will he thrive? You don't know
What will he do when he gets a poor grade and/or constructive criticism? Will he withdraw more or will he use it as a thriving kick in the pants?
How is his time management? Organizational skills? Social skills?


I would personally find a community college class for him to take as soon as possible. My son will take one 10 week one beginning in May ending in July, and he is taking classes in September.

He wants community courses- but at a different campus. He switched to a different school because it was more professional and a different environment. It is a little more expensive but it is worth it to him to thrive.
Actually, he wants to go away. I would have to be forcing him to go to community college. He is social and enjoys being involved in activities. His time management has improved in the past two years.

The biggest issue here is money. I think he will be successful wherever he goes. I think he will become more independent if he is away (the state school that is a contender is 45 min. away, so not TOO far).

If he totally blows it academically, he knows that we will re-evaluate (i.e., I am not wasting my money) for the spring semester.
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:34 PM   #609
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He had a rough first two years, and was then diagnosed with Lyme Disease (he had it for a long time before diagnosis). Once treated and the side effects healed, he was like a different kid. Junior year and senior year- mostly A's. This year- 4.0 all quarters so far.

I am not worried about him academically. I feel that he needs to be more independent. I don't know how he can get that if he is living at home. I don't know if I would go so far as to say he is irresponsible- but he is more afraid of failure so he shuts down. He is always afraid of doing things wrong. But he has taken on leadership roles in clubs, groups, and a summer camp and he does quite well in those areas.

The state school will probably be our cheapest option and we will never have the cash in pocket to pay outright. It's either parent loans or a HELOC. We do have some money tied in savings bonds, and if we can figure out the tax implications of cashing them, it will cover 2 years. We are meeting with an accountant this week. Unfortunately, the bulk of the bonds are in my DS's name, which after doing some research, we have learned is NOT a good thing. Hopefully we can find a loophole or something to make it work. But we WILL have to take on some debt.
I understand that you want him to be independent, but there are others ways to go about it and save youself two years of debt. A great deal of growing up can take place at the community college starting with him getting his license so he can get himself to school on his own. You have to do what feels best for your family, but I would never encourage anyone to go into debt especially when there were cheaper options readily available. Good luck!
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:34 PM   #610
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Actually, he wants to go away. I would have to be forcing him to go to community college. He is social and enjoys being involved in activities. His time management has improved in the past two years.

The biggest issue here is money. I think he will be successful wherever he goes. I think he will become more independent if he is away (the state school that is a contender is 45 min. away, so not TOO far).

If he totally blows it academically, he knows that we will re-evaluate (i.e., I am not wasting my money) for the spring semester.
My son was considering a state school that is 45 minutes away and he would have commuted. His thing was why spend $18 K for room and board for that? I can stay at home and get a better car.

I would have an honest talk with him about abilities. Will he withdraw emotionally or academically once he gets his first low grade? Gone are the high school teachers who are very student centric and student centered. What will happen if he gets a low grade? Will he stop going to class? Will he have the skills to go to the professor or will he internally keep it in? Will he keep that "failure" from you- the parent?

It may not be a grade- but it could be a life experience - such as not getting into a fraternity, or messing up in a social situation. Will that cause a withdrawal?

You can set him up in an apartment for community college. We were thinking about that for our own son but he didn't want that. With his social skills, he would rather be at home. I'm not worried about my sons life skills- laundry, budgeting-but his social skills are a bit challenged. He's not a joiner, so he would be the kid that stays in the dorm room all the time except for class.
My hope is that he will join things in his new school.

Maturity comes later for some kids. I would be hesitant to send away if he has a hard time bouncing back from a driving test or laundry. Going away will have a lot of challenges- will he bounce back or shrink back?

Last edited by Cindy B; 04-22-2013 at 05:08 AM.
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:52 PM   #611
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Marcy your son sounds like my daughter in many ways. She's very laid back and a tad bit lazy sometimes when it comes to being a self-starter. She is in honors/AP courses and does well in school. We will have enough saved for one year of college, she will take the maximum loans allowed for students which should cover another year and I will be taking loans for the other two years. While she could go to community college for two years, I don't think that's the best thing for her. She's obviously a smart kid and I think community college might be a step backward. I, too, am looking forward to her leaving home and going to college so she'll learn to do for herself and be on her own. I had spoiled her and done everything for her so I have no one to blame but myself. But I feel now is the perfect time for her to spread her wings.

As for everyone who says they won't pay for their children's education, I'm curious how you think they can pay for it. From what we were told, the max loans the first year are $5500, then $6500 sophomore year and junior and senior year max out at $7500 each year. How can kids pay for college for four years on that?

My advice is do what you feel is best for you and your family. My daughter is very interested in a degree in marine science/biology. Do I thinks he's going to be able to get a high-paying job in that field? Nope. But I also have no intentions of destroying her dream. If she wants it bad enough, she'll find a way to make it work.
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Old 04-21-2013, 11:16 PM   #612
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Marcy your son sounds like my daughter in many ways. She's very laid back and a tad bit lazy sometimes when it comes to being a self-starter. She is in honors/AP courses and does well in school. We will have enough saved for one year of college, she will take the maximum loans allowed for students which should cover another year and I will be taking loans for the other two years. While she could go to community college for two years, I don't think that's the best thing for her. She's obviously a smart kid and I think community college might be a step backward. I, too, am looking forward to her leaving home and going to college so she'll learn to do for herself and be on her own. I had spoiled her and done everything for her so I have no one to blame but myself. But I feel now is the perfect time for her to spread her wings.

As for everyone who says they won't pay for their children's education, I'm curious how you think they can pay for it. From what we were told, the max loans the first year are $5500, then $6500 sophomore year and junior and senior year max out at $7500 each year. How can kids pay for college for four years on that?

My advice is do what you feel is best for you and your family. My daughter is very interested in a degree in marine science/biology. Do I thinks he's going to be able to get a high-paying job in that field? Nope. But I also have no intentions of destroying her dream. If she wants it bad enough, she'll find a way to make it work.
I am a firm believer in parents paying for the education of their children. However, I am also a firm believer in avoiding debt whenever possible. If there is a reasonable alternative that would allow me to avoid two years worth of debt and still provide an education for my child, I would do it in a heartbeat.
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Old 04-22-2013, 05:06 AM   #613
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Marcy your son sounds like my daughter in many ways. She's very laid back and a tad bit lazy sometimes when it comes to being a self-starter. She is in honors/AP courses and does well in school. We will have enough saved for one year of college, she will take the maximum loans allowed for students which should cover another year and I will be taking loans for the other two years. While she could go to community college for two years, I don't think that's the best thing for her. She's obviously a smart kid and I think community college might be a step backward. I, too, am looking forward to her leaving home and going to college so she'll learn to do for herself and be on her own. I had spoiled her and done everything for her so I have no one to blame but myself. But I feel now is the perfect time for her to spread her wings.

As for everyone who says they won't pay for their children's education, I'm curious how you think they can pay for it. From what we were told, the max loans the first year are $5500, then $6500 sophomore year and junior and senior year max out at $7500 each year. How can kids pay for college for four years on that?

My advice is do what you feel is best for you and your family. My daughter is very interested in a degree in marine science/biology. Do I thinks he's going to be able to get a high-paying job in that field? Nope. But I also have no intentions of destroying her dream. If she wants it bad enough, she'll find a way to make it work.
I went to community college, transferred to a highly ranked school and graduated. Community college was not a step backward- in fact most of my classes were more challenging there than the university ( and the university had a 3.50 or higher and dual major requirement) The classes that were the hardest in the community college were ones that were required but not my major - Chemistry, Human Biology. I purposely sought out harder courses as well.

In my case (back in 2005) I took two courses that were required by my university that were offered at the community college. It was same instructors, same books, same syllabii but the CC price was $400 per class and the University price for the same class-same instructor was $1200.per class $800 vs. $2400

Community colleges are much more challenging than they were back in the day. It is no longer 13th grade. Sure you may have a few slackers in a class like English or Public Speaking (ones that everyone needs to take)-but the majors, classes and such are so different now. My son is taking engineering classes put on by Drexel University at a CC campus. That certainly is not 13th grade.
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Old 04-22-2013, 05:30 AM   #614
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.As for everyone who says they won't pay for their children's education, I'm curious how you think they can pay for it. From what we were told, the max loans the first year are $5500, then $6500 sophomore year and junior and senior year max out at $7500 each year. How can kids pay for college for four years on that?

My advice is do what you feel is best for you and your family. My daughter is very interested in a degree in marine science/biology. Do I thinks he's going to be able to get a high-paying job in that field? Nope. But I also have no intentions of destroying her dream. If she wants it bad enough, she'll find a way to make it work.
This is exactly why I am eating my words on paying for my D's college. She is going to Otterbein, which is private, 10 hours away from us, and very expensive. The next four years will be very, very tight for me. I'm going to have to make radical changes to my lifestyle, which is already extremely modest.

However, my D has learning difficulties, ADD, and anxiety. The only interest she has is theatre. (Technical theatre which is more stable than performance, by the way.) While her GPA is good, her test scores are beyond horrendous. We had to find a BFA where core was limited. Enter Otterbein, a perfect match for her. The core is very "cool" and interesting and extremely minimal for BFA kids. The best part is no math (or foreign language) for the BFA kids. She will have loans and scholarships, but I will be responsible for a massive portion of the bill. However, I am willing to do whatever is necessary for her to find a school where she has a fighting chance at a degree. This wouldn't happen at a "normal" community or state school.

You have to do what you think is best for your kid. If you have to evaluate again down the road then so be it.
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Old 04-22-2013, 06:46 AM   #615
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessKsMom View Post
As for everyone who says they won't pay for their children's education, I'm curious how you think they can pay for it. From what we were told, the max loans the first year are $5500, then $6500 sophomore year and junior and senior year max out at $7500 each year. How can kids pay for college for four years on that?
One of my sons is on a scholarship through a cooperative agreement with my husband's work. So not something available to the general public so not really pertinent to this discussion. The one heading to school this next year didn't like the schools available under the deal at my husband's work, so turned it down. (That was really hard to do). He does have merit scholarships to cover the tuition at the other school he chose, but will have to pay for room and board. He will take loans to cover part of it, and will have work study and summer employment (hopefully) to cover the rest. It is an engineering school, and our understanding is that there could be good paying coop opportunities as he gets older that will hopefully reduce the amount he will have to take in loans.

I'm ok with him taking the loans since they won't be excessive, and since he's going into a field with excellent employment potential. If he was undecided about a major, or wanted to major in something with less reliable employment potential (history, philosophy, etc.) I would have more misgivings.

He really wanted to attend Purdue, which is a higher ranked engineering school, and was accepted, but would have had to come up with $30K a year to do so. That actually made the decision VERY easy to make.

I have several nephews just finishing up college (one graduated last year, two will graduate in a few weeks). They worked their way through school (2 from the local branch of our state university system). They worked summers leading up to college and worked while they were in school. They lived at home part of the time and shared an apartment closer to campus part of the time.

When I went away to school, I worked and lived on campus my first year. Money was very tight and I wasn't sure if I could pull it together to go back the next year. That's where you have to get creative. At many schools, you can move off campus after the freshman year. Sophomore year I moved in with a family in town and traded room and board for after school and weekend babysitting. The next year I moved out of there into a single room with some older ladies near campus. I also worked full-time after class and on weekends.

There ARE creative ways of pulling it all together. I actually believe that is an important part of the process. But the student has to have the drive, has to "own" the process and really want it. For a student without the drive, it certainly gets more complicated.
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