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Old 04-18-2013, 09:14 AM   #16
goodfood4ursoul
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Originally Posted by 3boymthr View Post
Oldest DS is a Junior in HS but I've been cursed with bad luck in my jobs in recent years.
This.
The whole topic of saving for college and college in general is so wide and deep, and circumstances are different for every family, every child, and differ greatly from college to college.
Many, many families struggle financially.
Just look at our economy- you know it's true.
But that does not mean that college is not affordable, and I hate to hear people stress out about it.

We just filled out our LAST FAFSA forms this winter.
Our son will graduate from college in May '14.

For 22 years of our marriage we had one income- mostly DH
then for a while just me, and only in the past 2 years have we both been fully employed.

And I make less than 30K.
DH and I are both public servants with an emphasis on servant
We work in a small rural community and while none of the jobs pay well, we have great job satisfaction in making a difference in our community.
We are frugal people, both on the job and at home- no cable, pack lunches, work our farm when we get home.

DS goes to a private Christian university, and before any financial aid hits the cost of one semester is $14,000. It's gone up a little each year.

His fed. financial aid consists of loans- about 4K per semester.
He gets a lot of in-house aid- about 4K per semester.
He applies for as many outside scholarships as he can, receives about $1,500 per semester.
He has a leadership position in his hall that will pay $890 each semester next year and that helps.
And we pay the rest, with help from grandparents who have saved for him since birth.
Last summer, about half his summer earnings went to help pay for his fall semester, so he is invested in this as well.

And it is totally worth it.
He is getting a fabulous education, the community on campus is simply amazing.
There is so much support for students, in their hall, in their classes, so many fun activities, and they have a fabulous career center to help launch them out after graduating.
Huge, growing, busy campus (12,000 students on campus) but intimate family dynamic and strong spiritual foundation.

Re: costs- it helps that he earned an associate degree while in high school, due to AP and dual enrollment classes.
And since he knew what his major would be, he carefully chose classes that would transfer properly instead of simply as electives.
So he is finishing in 3 years instead of 4.

He is considering applying to work at the university because he simply loves it there.
Also, after working 6 months, you can take classes tuition-free- a very nice perk!

I just wanted to share my experience because paying for college can be stressful for families, and we all deal with too much stress as it is~
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:47 AM   #17
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My goal is to pay for everything for a 4-year in-state college for both kids.

We put $2000 each year in 529plan for each kids. I figure we'll have $35K-$45K for each by the time they enter college.

I live in Georgia. I do expect them to do well in school so that we can get some Hope scholarship.

I expect my mortgage to be significantly lower by then and my income higher, so the extras will be free to use.

Also, my kids will be 8 years apart in college. I can move funds between kids and take time to save again.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:53 AM   #18
angierae
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DD is going to college this fall. She will be attending the local community college and living at home for the first 2-2.5 years (maxing out her transfer credits.) This will cost about $3000 a year. She will work, and live at home. We will pay the majority of that, she will be responsible for some, depending on how much money she's making.

Then she'll transfer to a local four year school which will cost about $13k a year, and continue to live at home. At this point, she will take out loans (I think right now Stafford loans max out at about 5k a year? So she'll have about 10k in loans when she finishes, and I have NO problem with that.

The other 16k will be paid in a combination between her, us, and a smattering of grandparents who have all said they would like to contribute.

I know it's an unpopular opinion when I said that I do not believe I should or should be expected to fully fund her college. But it's how I feel. I will do what I can to help, and I will definitely shell out a good chunk of money. But she will work/take out loans, as well.

Your family may work differently, but this is mine.
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:11 AM   #19
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There are a couple of things that kids can be doing in high school to help lessen their college costs. They should be taking AP courses in high school, and then pass the AP test with a score of 3 or better. Lots of colleges accept a score of 3 or more, and each high school AP class counts as a college credit (if the test is passed).

Another idea is enrolling your high school junior or senior in a Dual Enrollment Honor Program, if one is available in your area. My 17 year old DS is accepted to our local university next year for their DEHP. He is spending his senior year at college, instead of high school (the college credits also count as high school credits).

Between his AP credits, and his Dual Enrollment credits, he will have a year and a half of college already completed before he enrolls in his "real" college of choice.

This could save parents tens of thousands of dollars if a child is planning on attending an out of state college.
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Old 04-18-2013, 11:14 AM   #20
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Right now we are looking into the College Promise program for our kids. They can go to CC the first two years and have it count as their last 2 years of high school and their first two years of college. I don't know that it will work out, but that option is free if they are still in high school. Some people don't like the program for various reasons, but it may suit our children. We need to look into it more.
I'm looking into a similar program for my girls. I'm not worried about my son - he plans on attending a vocational HS program and will have a year's head start on an AS in an in-demand field when he graduates from high school. But our county offers a 5 year program that awards both a HS diploma and an AA in general studies from the local community college, and since my girls are both young for their grade (will graduate at 17) I think the extra year to earn a two-year degree at no expense to us is well worth considering. If they then went on to an in-state school, existing transfer agreements would allow them to enter as juniors and they should be able to finish in 2 or 2.5 years. If they go out of state, it is likely that fewer credits will transfer but they should still be able to shave at least a year off of their time at university.
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Old 04-18-2013, 12:23 PM   #21
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As far as we're concerned, it is up to our kids to fund their own college education. We both had to do it. DH chose to enlist in the military and use an ROTC scholarship to pay for his last three years. He had a loan out for the first year. I had a VERY small college fund that my grandfather had given me, and I had around 10k when I started school. I used that for the first year (state school) and took loans out for the rest. My parents took out a loan to pay for my apartment housing the last three years, as our school did not provide dorms past freshman year. I lived with roommates all those years, and my parents paid appox $5000 per year towards rent and an allowance that covered utilities and food. I also got a job at the end of freshman year and worked steadily about 30 hours per week for the remainder of my college time.

We did open up 529 plans for our kids as soon as they were born. We have contributed $100 monthly to each and we put in half of any money they get as gifts. On each kid's birthday, we make an additional $100 deposit. The point of this is to have some set aside while also being an amount we can EASILY afford to contribute, after our own retirement account contributions are maxed out. I have heard over and over again that kids can take out loans for college, but no one will give you a loan to pay for your retirement and that is SO true. We are not about giving our kids a college education for free. Rather, we want them to understand the value of that education and make smart choices regarding a major and future career path, so that they can easily pay back any student loans they take out. We also plan to suggest they start off at community college and then transfer. And, we are fully prepared to continue to support them at home should they choose to live at home either during or after college or both. Our boys are both on the Autism spectrum, so their future in that regard is VERY murky right now. However, we are preparing for any eventuality with them. If they end up not going to school, we will then have some extra money to help support them as adults, so the 529 plans are essentially insurance of sorts.

We did choose fairly aggressive portfolios with both of them, and they are now 7 and 8 and we have about $16k in the 8 year old's account and about $14K in the younger ones. I think we are doing just fine at this point.
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Old 04-18-2013, 12:34 PM   #22
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We did not set aside money for our DD's education when she was growing up. We opted to fund our retirement plan generously instead. DD worked hard in HS, graduated valedictorian, got a National Merit Scholarship and a few other scholarships, and made her own decision to attend the honors program of a state school here in our own town, so she lives at home and commutes. She's getting an excellent education at the top research school in our state.

If she had chosen to attend a school outside of our town we could have handled the cost beyond what her scholarships cover out of pocket (thankfully my DH's salary has increased 5x from what he was making when she was born). But, we raised her to be practical and frugal, and her choice of college was exactly that. She will graduate with NO debt from either her undergrad or grad/vet school degrees because 1) she made wise choices and worked hard for her scholarships, and AP credits and 2) she chose not to go to a school that cost $50K a year (for which we are eternally grateful lol). We do pay for the care, vet and farrier expenses of her horse (approximately $600 a month) willingly since she made such a practical choice for college. And I didn't even bother filling out the FAFSA after her freshman year since our expected contribution was $40K a year lol.

College can be done without saving up a huge nest egg for it if the student makes practical and frugal choices.
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Old 04-18-2013, 12:43 PM   #23
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In-state tuition here is about $13000, $25000 if you live on campus. Yikes - guess we should've moved! The plan is for dd16 to try to get some merit $ at a lesser school, and then hopefully get need-based $ when the rest of them go (because we are going to be SO POOR). We have about $100,000 saved, which would be awesome, if we only had one kid.
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Old 04-18-2013, 01:05 PM   #24
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I'm still paying on my own student loans, DH is as well. Together we owe about $250k in student loans (college and law school for both of us) so...there isn't that much left to save for DD's education. We do put about $50.00 per month in DD's 529. We also put any money she gets for her birthday, Easter, Christmas, etc. in that account. She is only 2 so she doesn't really get the value of money yet. She hasn't asked to keep the money she gets on holidays, and until she does, I will continue to put that money in her 529. When she does ask me to keep it, I plan to offer to match any part of it she wants to save for college. She currently has a little over $4,000 in her 529. If we keep going at this rate she will have about $32,000 for school, which is good but not nearly enough.

I had nothing when I went to college except a tiny bit that I had saved from working in high school. It basically helped cover books and moving expenses nothing for tuition. While I want DD to have something, it will not be enough to cover all her college expenses unless something drastically changes between now and then. I also don't plan to take out loans for her unless that is the only way she can go. I took out my own loans, and she will have to as well. I think it is important to have a little skin in the game.
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Old 04-18-2013, 01:14 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KennesawNemo View Post
My goal is to pay for everything for a 4-year in-state college for both kids.

We put $2000 each year in 529plan for each kids. I figure we'll have $35K-$45K for each by the time they enter college.

I live in Georgia. I do expect them to do well in school so that we can get some Hope scholarship.

I expect my mortgage to be significantly lower by then and my income higher, so the extras will be free to use.

Also, my kids will be 8 years apart in college. I can move funds between kids and take time to save again.
Are your kids going to college soon? I have a 10 year old and it's predicted to cost around $200,000 for her 4 years.

We have 529 plans we started when the were born. We put $250 a month in each of their plans. It's not going to be enough, but it will help.

Our retirement is number 1. I don't want them to have to take care of us when we are old. College is next.

Dh and I both paid our own way and we turned out financially responsible.
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Old 04-18-2013, 01:25 PM   #26
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We have 3 kids, ages 3,5,7. Our goal is to have $100k saved up for each by age 18. We're pretty much on track for that level. We intend it to cover room and board (I'm a tenured college professor, so they'll get free tuition), plus pay for grad school if they choose to go or serve as a starter fund for a house if they don't.
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Old 04-18-2013, 01:41 PM   #27
KennesawNemo
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Originally Posted by sunlover13 View Post
Are your kids going to college soon? I have a 10 year old and it's predicted to cost around $200,000 for her 4 years.

We have 529 plans we started when the were born. We put $250 a month in each of their plans. It's not going to be enough, but it will help.

Our retirement is number 1. I don't want them to have to take care of us when we are old. College is next.

Dh and I both paid our own way and we turned out financially responsible.
Nah, they are no where near going to college soon. DS is 7 and DD is due this Saturday although I have a feeling she will drag me into next week.

I think 529 will be a very small part of my plan. It's just something there just in case. Also in Georgia, $2000 is the maximum to be state-tax free per kid per year.

I count more on the reduced mortgage payment and higher income aspect.

ETA: Both DH and my parents paid our college education in full, everything paid. We turned out to be fine. We are very finacially responsible. I think I can teach my kids a good sense of money while paying for their college education. I do personally view paying for 4 year in-state college as an obligation, but it's just me.

I agree retirement is No. 1. Our retirement accounts are very well funded. My company also has a pension on top of 401k. By the time DD is in college I should be able to retire early and get full pension. I can also take a 2nd job to bring in more income. That, however, is based on the theory that the pension will still be there.
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Old 04-18-2013, 02:47 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by angierae View Post
I know it's an unpopular opinion when I said that I do not believe I should or should be expected to fully fund her college. But it's how I feel. I will do what I can to help, and I will definitely shell out a good chunk of money. But she will work/take out loans, as well.

Your family may work differently, but this is mine.
I agree with this. Our priority now is saving for retirement, not for college. You can get a loan for college but not for retirement and we cant afford to save for both even with 2 full time professional jobs and college degrees. DH is a teacher. DS7 can take out loans like I did. My inlaws are saving for him and have about $10k so far. We'll also push for an in state public school and scholarships.
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Old 04-18-2013, 03:16 PM   #29
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Many won't agree with this.

My parents saved about $600 for my education. That's right $600. What it made me do was be a self sufficient person. I paid my way little by little. It made me careful about making sure I took the right classes. Should I learn a trade instead? Is that a better investment? Things like that. Most of the kids I grew up with that had college money given to them didn't care about attending the classes or passing. Many took 6 plus years to finish a 4 year program or dropped out eventually. I feel that IF you save for a college education be open to your child going to trade school, using the money for a home, use it to start a business, etc. Whatever you do don't force your child into college.
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Old 04-18-2013, 03:24 PM   #30
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We never really saved for our kids college. We just paid as we went and just didn't save much those years. We did make our daughter get the subsidized student loans, which at the time was 2500 for freshman, 3500 for sophomore etc. She wanted to go to a school that was over 40,000 a year so those loans were nothing and she had a scholarship that covered about a third. So we were left to pay a good chunk each year. I didn't feel it was right for her not to pay for anything since she chose this expensive school. She eventually transferred to a different program so we paid 80,000 into her education and she has about 20,000 in loans. Many days I am tempted to write a check to pay off her loans but after all we've been through with her (long story) she needs to pay those herself. My son is still going to a state school where he commutes so we pay that in full so he won't have loans. I'm glad it's all coming to an end so we can start saving more. We pay for his gas and road tolls, which makes it almost better to live up there, but he works fulltime too, and doesn't want to give that up. It's scary to think of all of you with little ones and what it will cost in the future.
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