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Old 09-06-2012, 12:43 PM   #121
arihillfarm
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I think this is a great way to approach this topic. Parents paying for needs and kids paying for wants. I was fortunate in that my parents paid for my undergrad (my mother had it written into the divorce decree that she would pay room and board and my father would pay tuition and books) and that I was able to get a full graduate assistantship to get my master's degree. It was such a blessing to be able to go into the world with my education and no debt. I taught at a small private college for 12 years (now home with my little ones by choice) and some of my students were leaving with well over 60-70K in loans. :-(

The plan for our three kids is scholarships, splitting the GI Bill from my DH between them in the way that makes the most financial sense and paying for the rest of their needs out of pocket as we are able and with the help of their 529 plans.

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I have twins who just started college this month.

When I went to college (early 80s) it was not so expensive to go to college and live on campus. I did take out loans ($2500 a year) and my parents paid $1000 a year and that covered everything (tuition, fees, books, dorm and food plan...as well as some club fees and things like that).

Now the cost is so high and the amount of government loans my girls were offered ($5500) was not enough to even pay for the dorms for the year. We didn't really want them taking out loans anyway since it took my husband and I 10 years to pay off our loans (graduate school also).

So we came up with the approach that we are paying for 'needs' and they are paying for 'wants'. They live at home (1 mile from college) and we paid for tuition, fees and books. Now my husband works at the university, we we got a huge discount, and they both had scholarships, so our total for our twins for books, tuition, and fees came to $2250 (so divide that in half for a per child cost).

We don't want them to work too many hours because I want them to join clubs and do activities on campus, and hang out with friends some. But they do work for their spending money and to pay for any club/sports fees. Any 'extras' they want they pay for. But there is food at home, we do put gas in the car but if they want to drive somewhere far/out of town, they have to pay for that. We pay for medical bills and we take them out to eat with us once in a while (always on Sundays after church but some time we will go out other times).

We have said they are welcomed to move out if they can pay for it. That will be their decision. So far they don't really seem interested in doing that. But if they do in the next few years they will need to work more hours and give up their entertainment spending (like going to concerts and shopping).

So anyway...that is how we are doing it. Trying to help them be debt free at graduation, but not willing to put ourselves into deep debt either.
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Old 09-06-2012, 05:08 PM   #122
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It's not about demanding - it's a different outlook on it or approach to it. In my family, it was no different than going to h.s., and same as h.s., the expectation was that you get in the best/most appropriate to you place you can and that's that. Parents will figure out how to make that work.
Its also what experience you want your kids to have and can afford to give them. Completely not college related - not everyone can afford to give their kids any Disney vacation - some can give them a Deluxe Disney vacation every year - still others take their Disney vacation - then haul them off on Disney cruises to the Mediterrian and Adventures By Disney trips to Greece or China.

Some people can't afford to give their kids anything towards college. Some can pay for community college. Some can pay for State School. Some can pay for - and what their kids to have - a small private liberal arts experience. Some could pay for any of that, but believe that these aren't needs or priorities for their family. Just like some families who could afford a Disney vacation don't ever take one.

If your child wants to take an ABD trip and you don't want to pay for it - tell them when they grow up, they can go to Europe on their dime. And if they want to go to a $40k a year out of state school or private school and you can't pay for it - they can take out loans (or you could wisely encourage them to really think about what they are choosing).
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Old 09-06-2012, 05:36 PM   #123
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Its also what experience you want your kids to have and can afford to give them. Completely not college related - not everyone can afford to give their kids any Disney vacation - some can give them a Deluxe Disney vacation every year - still others take their Disney vacation - then haul them off on Disney cruises to the Mediterrian and Adventures By Disney trips to Greece or China.

Some people can't afford to give their kids anything towards college. Some can pay for community college. Some can pay for State School. Some can pay for - and what their kids to have - a small private liberal arts experience. Some could pay for any of that, but believe that these aren't needs or priorities for their family. Just like some families who could afford a Disney vacation don't ever take one.

If your child wants to take an ABD trip and you don't want to pay for it - tell them when they grow up, they can go to Europe on their dime. And if they want to go to a $40k a year out of state school or private school and you can't pay for it - they can take out loans (or you could wisely encourage them to really think about what they are choosing).
I really don't think it's the same thing. Of course some people can't afford to pay for their children to go to college at all, even community college would be a financial strain. My mother could not afford to help me much at all. She wanted to, but just couldn't financially (she provided immeasurable moral support).

However, parents who can easily afford college (let's put aside the question of type of college and just say-local state school) and refuse are doing their children a huge disservice. In contrast, being able to afford Disney Vacations and choosing not to take them does not really harm children in any way (despite what some of us on this board may believe).
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Old 09-06-2012, 05:48 PM   #124
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For our family, my Dad always told us, if we went to college he would pay and that he did. I wish I was more responsible then though... I ended up moving out and paying for school on my own after my kids were born.

On the opposition, my DH had to pay for undergraduate and his med school on loans. We have tons to pay back. He wasn't given the option of having someone to help out with school tuition, he had to take care of that on his own.

As for the kids, my DH said he wanted the kids to learn the lessons of working hard to get what you want. In other words, he wants the kids to take out loans and apply for scholarships, we'll help out with living expenses (he didn't get help from his family for this either--special dynamics). Ask me in 10 years what happens...LOL.
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Old 09-06-2012, 06:03 PM   #125
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Wow. It's crazy the span of choices. I've seen the other way, posters saying "I'm not going to give up going to WDW so my kids can go to college."

While I agree that you don't need to sacrifice everything for your child so their future will be easier, I think it's worth some sacrifice! Just like most things, it's all about balance.
I'll admit to being in that camp. College is a priority but not the priority, and as an average income American family adequate college savings for three kids would require sacrificing expensive vacations and other luxuries. But my feeling is this - each of the children does have some money set aside for college, and there are other funds available for them to earn via merit or need. There are also loans available as a last resort. But they only get one childhood and we want it to be full of a range of experiences, not lived bare-bones to provide for the future.
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:30 PM   #126
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My son is going to a state school and his father and I are paying the tuition and room and board so he doesn't have any debt coming out of school.

My brother and I went to the same state school. I lived at home and worked close to full-time and paid for college myself. My brother, however, stayed on campus and my parents picked up all his costs. More than 20 years later, it's still a sore spot with me.
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:52 PM   #127
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Honestly, I think if parents choose to have children...they should do so with the intention of equipping them to be successful in life---and in my opinion, that means going into it with the intent of seeing them through their undergraduate educations.

My mother said "Pick the school you want and we'll find a way to pay for it." They paid for my tuition/room/board after scholarships---I had a small on-campus job and summer jobs for spending money.

To that end, she worked full-time sending every paycheck to my college to make that happen. That foundation allowed me to be able to go on to graduate school--and opened up all kinds of opportunities.

My DH and I intend to do the same for our children. We intend to pay for tuition/room/board/books---spending money will be their responsibility.

Clearly---economies tank and stuff happens which might not make this possible---but I believe parents should at least have this intention for their children.
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:58 PM   #128
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I wish someone had told my parents to pay for my college LOL I worked and paid for it .
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:17 PM   #129
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Originally Posted by punkin View Post
I really don't think it's the same thing. Of course some people can't afford to pay for their children to go to college at all, even community college would be a financial strain. My mother could not afford to help me much at all. She wanted to, but just couldn't financially (she provided immeasurable moral support).

However, parents who can easily afford college (let's put aside the question of type of college and just say-local state school) and refuse are doing their children a huge disservice. In contrast, being able to afford Disney Vacations and choosing not to take them does not really harm children in any way (despite what some of us on this board may believe).
My values tend to align with yours. But then I sort of think parents who can afford to travel and don't travel with their kids (not repeated trips to Disney, but taking them to Europe or Asia or Washington DC) are doing them a disservice as well. Our jobs are to enrich our kids lives.

But not everyone sees it my way. And not all kids are cut out for college - some are cut out for trade school or the military or .....
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:19 PM   #130
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My parents didn't pay for mine, now well into my 30's I'm paying for my own. The original deal was they'd pay for half, but when I changed my major after my freshman year they decided I could foot the rest of the bill on my own. Between no money and a few other factors I won't get into here, I decided to just get a certificate from the local comunity college so I could be a travel agent and just forget about a degree. It all turned out fine, but I do wish I had a degree, hence my return to class this fall.

If we just wind up with one child, the goal is to pay for her in full for tuition/room and board. Books, dorm/school suppies and pizza money is all on her. That said, if she gets enough grants/scholarships I may even cover her books and help with some other "wants". Nothing wrong with a part time job during school but I want her main focus to be on learning. She's got the rest of her life to work. This is conditional on keeping a 3.0 average or higher. I won't write the tuition check until I see the latest report card and I'm happy with what I see. She slacks off, she's on her own while her father and I spend her former college fund on our life-long dream trip to Japan!

If we have two, the goal is to be able to pay for 75% of each, I don't think we could swing the full bill for two. I don't know how families with three or more kids do it!
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:28 PM   #131
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sometimes what one wants to do or give their child and what they can actually do are two very different things. More and more parent/s are using their retirement income, 401K/457's and wiping out savings to fund their childs education. While this sounds and is noble, it is a recipe for disaster. While your child/student has years to "pay into" their retirement, the parent does not have that so called luxury. With increasing costs and decreasing incomes becoming more prevalent, its a very tough position to be in. Its also great to say "go where you want and we'll pay... somehow" but IMHO that too can be a recipe for disaster.
I happen to have worked mostly full time during my undergrad years, followed by years of paying off the loans I needed to take. My parents did not have the money (despite being told that they would pay, and I was the first of their children to go to college) ..I did what I had to do, I loaned it and worked....) I wanted to cover it all for my own child, leave them with no debt......
I am now in a very different situation...my ds chose to accept a full undergrad academic scholarship to a state school and pass on several top tier private offers (which would have left him with considerable debt.) I was not in a position to pay the entire difference between the scholarships and the tuition, thus the gap and debt. Some said we should let him just max out loans, that the debt was not that much, that lots of kids were coming out of school with these huge debts....it was a very rough couple of weeks for us...
Would the debt be "worth it" , should undergrad debt be cut back as much as possible for future grad school debt...wouldnt that monthly debt bill grossly limit future life decisions...talk about overwhelming....
This was no easy decision, by any means.....but I have always felt that there is a reason for everything ...and the decision (which was ultimately his, was chosen).
All that being said, this has been a true learning experience for our family..the money that was put aside will be for grad school, unless that too becomes covered (we can hope right..lol), and for travel abroad experiences (which i believe to be Xtra + on a resume)...so for now, he is settled in, and we shall see.....We/I feel pretty good about the decisions made .......Higher education is so important but realistic monetary (debt) decisions are just as important. My niece is close to 100K in debt for undergrad and just started law school...her decisions seriously scare me....I pray that she will somehow be able to pay that debt back and maintain a good life as well.....we shall see.......
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:32 PM   #132
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My values tend to align with yours. But then I sort of think parents who can afford to travel and don't travel with their kids (not repeated trips to Disney, but taking them to Europe or Asia or Washington DC) are doing them a disservice as well. Our jobs are to enrich our kids lives.

But not everyone sees it my way. And not all kids are cut out for college - some are cut out for trade school or the military or .....
No matter where the kids go (college, trade school, military), I firmly believe it is the parents' job to set them up for a productive life as much as possible given financial, intellectual, and inclination limitations.

I do agree that travel is extremely enriching, but given a choice between travel and help with education, I will pick education 9 times out of 10.
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:34 PM   #133
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Honestly, I think if parents choose to have children...they should do so with the intention of equipping them to be successful in life---and in my opinion, that means going into it with the intent of seeing them through their undergraduate educations.
I don't think a four year degree is essential to success in life, and I think that's a very unrealistic ideal for parenting in general when you consider the cost of college relative to average wages in this country. Not every child is college material. Not every good paying job requires college and not every degree opens doors to jobs that pay well. And if we ever did attain that pipe-dream ideal of college for all, a bachelors would simply become what a diploma is now and we'd still be striving for even more education to set our kids apart from the crowd.
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Old 09-06-2012, 10:52 PM   #134
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Honestly, I think if parents choose to have children...they should do so with the intention of equipping them to be successful in life---and in my opinion, that means going into it with the intent of seeing them through their undergraduate educations.

My mother said "Pick the school you want and we'll find a way to pay for it." They paid for my tuition/room/board after scholarships---I had a small on-campus job and summer jobs for spending money.

To that end, she worked full-time sending every paycheck to my college to make that happen. That foundation allowed me to be able to go on to graduate school--and opened up all kinds of opportunities.

My DH and I intend to do the same for our children. We intend to pay for tuition/room/board/books---spending money will be their responsibility.

Clearly---economies tank and stuff happens which might not make this possible---but I believe parents should at least have this intention for their children.
Having generous intentions is one thing, abetting foolishness is another, and telling a 17 yo to "pick whatever school you want and we'll find a way to pay for it" is foolishness unless you are VERY well-off.

I want my kids to choose what they want to do with open eyes. I'm not going to say, "No, you can't be a social worker because it doesn't pay worth a flip", but I'm also not going to say, "Sure, honey, you can go to Columbia to study social work if you want; it's the best school out there, and I'll happily foot the bills if you get in." I'm sorry, but an MSW is not worth what Columbia would cost, in ANY market, and there is no way on earth I would pour my hard-earned money into that particular black hole. If they want to study investment banking at Columbia, then that's another story, but lesson one about deciding to go into a low-paying occupation means not overpaying for the credentials.

It is NEVER a good idea to take out parent loans to pay for college. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER. If loans must be taken out, they should be taken out only by the student. (If you want to gift them something to help pay them off, then by all means do so, but do NOT take out an educational loan for a child in your own name.) There are no loan programs to pay for retirement.
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:12 AM   #135
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Having generous intentions is one thing, abetting foolishness is another, and telling a 17 yo to "pick whatever school you want and we'll find a way to pay for it" is foolishness unless you are VERY well-off.

I want my kids to choose what they want to do with open eyes. I'm not going to say, "No, you can't be a social worker because it doesn't pay worth a flip", but I'm also not going to say, "Sure, honey, you can go to Columbia to study social work if you want; it's the best school out there, and I'll happily foot the bills if you get in." I'm sorry, but an MSW is not worth what Columbia would cost, in ANY market, and there is no way on earth I would pour my hard-earned money into that particular black hole. If they want to study investment banking at Columbia, then that's another story, but lesson one about deciding to go into a low-paying occupation means not overpaying for the credentials.

It is NEVER a good idea to take out parent loans to pay for college. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER. If loans must be taken out, they should be taken out only by the student. (If you want to gift them something to help pay them off, then by all means do so, but do NOT take out an educational loan for a child in your own name.) There are no loan programs to pay for retirement.
It sounds like Mom was well enough paid to just move her paychecks - and didn't need to work. My husband and I could do that if we had one child.

And if you look at college as just ROI for a job - Columbia is a bad deal for a MSW - but if college is an "experience" then the difference between Columbia and State U MAY be worth the experience - depending on how you pay for it. I have a lot of friends who graduated from a small $50k a year private liberal arts college - and in things like Theatre. For the ones who could afford tuition (either with or without aid packages), it was the experience that they went for as much as the degree.
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