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Old 04-18-2013, 02:34 PM   #31
Sam81
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Never saved. Both of my children are "gifties" and had full rides to multiple prestigious universities.
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Old 04-18-2013, 02:50 PM   #32
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We currently save about $400 a month between the 3 kiddos. I've also put in additional lump sums from time to time. We didn't start the fund until my oldest was 5 so I have some catching up to do with him. We plan to raise the amount we put in each year as our incomes rise.

I'm hoping to have about $40k for my oldest by the time he graduates from high school, then progressively more for each kid. BUT I fully expect my kids to try to work for scholarships. Also if we are paying for it we expect to have some say in what they are doing with it and can review their grades, class choices, school choice etc. If they don't want us to have say then they can pay for it on their own.

I also think there is a lot of value in paying for part of your college education. Those first jobs offer great learning experiences.

IF one of my kids gets into an ivy league type school and has their heart set on a certain program AND they have shown the work ethic to complete it we will absolutely do everything we can to help fund it.
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Old 04-18-2013, 02:53 PM   #33
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Just because my parents paid for my education doesn't mean I frittered it away. I chose a very practical major (engineering) at a good school and finished in 4 years. I trust my kids can make the same good decisions - if they don't seem ready to chose a major, they can wait a year and work without a degree to see what that is like.

I plan on paying for my kids education as much as I can without sacrificing retirement. I have been fortunate enough to get some assistance from their grandparents - they set up UPlans for my kids when they were 1 year old each and it covers 4 years of education at a state school, probably 1.5 at a private school. I also have another $10,000 for each kid that was left to them from a relative and that will go for remaining college expenses. The other part of the plan is once my kids are out of after school care, the money that has been going to pay for that will go into a college fund - so between all that they will be mostly taken care of. Granted, bad things could happen, but at least they will have the UPlans and inheritance money.
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Old 04-18-2013, 03:00 PM   #34
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Never saved. Both of my children are "gifties" and had full rides to multiple prestigious universities.
I'd be terrified to take that chance. My daughter is really bright, but she is flaky and really I don't know if she could have a ninth grade meltdown on grades due to just being her. I know a lot of really bright people, and most of them didn't get the scholarships there parents had counted on. Good for you that yours did, that's great!
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Old 04-18-2013, 04:56 PM   #35
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Never saved. Both of my children are "gifties" and had full rides to multiple prestigious universities.
Well, unless your babies are born reciting their ABC's, I wouldn't count on this. With two in college at the moment, I highly recommend saving whatever you can. No amount is too small and the earlier the better. If it turns out you have "gifties" then you get to go buy a convertible... for yourself!
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Old 04-18-2013, 05:16 PM   #36
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I'm not sure how much my DH and I will save for our children, but I don't expect it to be anything substantial. Our focus will be on paying off our home and paying for retirement. We both would like to retire before we hit 65.

Most everyone in my family (me, DH, my sister, my dad...all his 10 brothers and sisters) made it through college without massive debt WITHOUT major contributions from their parents.

I got a full-tuition scholarship to my state's flagship university. My sister went to a technical college for her 1st two years, then transferred to a state university for her BSN. She needed some loans, but she also chose a career and education path that would allow her to pay that debt off. My parents couldn't afford to give us much, and we didn't expect them to. My DH is finishing his BA as an adult and he is paying as he goes.

If DH manage to get our home & cars paid off and have more than enough retirement savings...yes, we would be providing our kids with as much as we could afford. I just don't understand why it would be an expectation that parents did so.
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Old 04-18-2013, 06:12 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by KennesawNemo View Post
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.
Ok. I thought you were saying the $45,000 saved would pay for their college. Congrats on your upcoming addition! My kids are 8 years and 9 days apart.
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Old 04-18-2013, 07:06 PM   #38
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I'm atypical - my two kids are in 7th and 8th grade, Right now they each have $160k set aside.

How we did it - I worked, my husband worked - both in fairly well paying jobs. And we underspent.
We don't actually have accounts labeled "First child's education", etc. We just saved, and we did it the same way you did, Crisi: We worked. We don't have high-paying jobs, but we started saving early, and -- as you said -- we underspent.

We told our girls that we will pay four years of in-state public school tuition and fees, dorm and meal plan -- that is, the basics. We'll buy them each a car at the point they NEED a car (for example, when our oldest begins student nursing as a junior). Anything "above and beyond" -- that is, a fifth year, an apartment, whatever -- they must figure out for themselves.

One year into college, I can say that it's going fine. Our oldest fell in love with not one but two schools that fit our criteria, and thusfar we've spent less than expected. She is very, very aware that she is fortunate to have her education paid, and she is working very hard to do her part: That is, to keep up with her studies and to work towards graduating in four years.

Our backup plan is to suspend new contributions to our retirement account, something that is possible because we've saved religiously since our very first professional paychecks. We have already saved more than the average person who's already retired, so we could "give ourselves a raise", if necessary, for a couple years.
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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.
The problem with this theory is that all high school students -- even all who are bound for college can't manage AP classes, and all of them won't pass the AP test.

Dual enrollment in high school and a community college is more of a "sure thing", as any college-bound senior should be able to handle those classes academically.

Since my own child began college, I have picked up on a couple other things that're money-savers:

- Read the college catalog and make a four-year plan. Although the student may change this as time goes on, having a plan helps the student be sure that he or she's scheduling all the right classes to fit this or that requirement. My daughter was all over this, and she's flabberghasted at how many of the kids on her hall just sign up for things, not knowing how they're going to fit into their degree requirements. They even have a free computer program that helps them figure these things out!

- Register the very minute you're able to do so. My daughter was motivated to choose her classes and signed up as soon as she could, but most of her high school friends didn't see the point -- after all, in high school the counselors worked with them, and they always got their first or second choices. What's the big deal? Most of them insisted that they didn't feel ready to register prior to attending orientation. Those who waited missed out on important classes like Biology 101, and that can easily mean that they either attend summer school (more money) or they need a fifth year.

- If you don't get all the classes you want, keep looking. Online registration is so much better than the old-fashioned way we used to register back in the 80s. If you can't get what you want, just keep watching. When she registered for her second semester, my daugther couldn't get into one of her core classes . . . but she watched the computer every day, and eventually someone dropped the class, and she swooped in and grabbed it. Just for funsies, she checked the classes the day after bills were due, and she saw that several seats came open in that class.

- Do not count on your advisor to do your homework for you. You may get a great advisor, you may get someone who really doesn't care. Regardless, no one cares about your degree as much as you do, so read your degree requirements and KNOW what you need to take. Question your advisor, but don't take the lazy way out and assume that he or she is going to spoon feed you everything you need.

- Be realistic when you choose your school. I know so many kids who transfer after a semester or a year -- sometimes it's about money, sometimes it's about academics, or whatever. But transferring, while sometimes the best choice, almost always means extra semesters in school.
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Originally Posted by Skatermom23 View Post
Well, unless your babies are born reciting their ABC's, I wouldn't count on this. With two in college at the moment, I highly recommend saving whatever you can. No amount is too small and the earlier the better. If it turns out you have "gifties" then you get to go buy a convertible... for yourself!
I totally agree that this is a dangerous plan. As a high school teacher, I assure you that THE VAST MAJORITY of our students, even the tip-top students, do not receive full-rides. In my daughter's graduating class last year, one student received a full-ride, and it was to a military academy -- not something that appeals to everyone. This year I am aware of exactly one student who has received this type of offer (and at this point in the year, full-rides are usually already offered).

Another big issue is what the student plans to study. If your student wants to be a teacher or a nurse, he or she has a pretty good chance of getting at least a partial scholarship. On the other hand, if your student's going into business, architecture, accounting, art, music -- the list could go on -- it's a whole lot harder. Scholarships in those fields are harder to come by.

A much better plan: Save. If your child ends up getting a big-time scholarship, wonderful! You can retire earlier, travel more, or build a bigger retirement house. There's no downside to saving and not needing the money. There's a HUGE downside to assuming you'll win scholarships.
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Originally Posted by BadgerGirl84 View Post
I'm not sure how much my DH and I will save for our children, but I don't expect it to be anything substantial. Our focus will be on paying off our home and paying for retirement. We both would like to retire before we hit 65.

Most everyone in my family (me, DH, my sister, my dad...all his 10 brothers and sisters) made it through college without massive debt WITHOUT major contributions from their parents.
It's quite possible to pay for your home, save for retirement, and save something for your children's educations. My husband and I aren't big wage earners, but we've done these three things.

I don't know how long ago you and your siblings paid their own way through college, but it's harder than it used to be. I did it in the 80s, and it was HARD. Honestly, it was harder than it should've been: I lived in unsafe places, walked around with holes in my shoes, and sometimes was hungry -- of course, I was used to those things from my teenaged years, so they weren't a big surprise. Today, however, without either help, scholarships, or loans, a slightly-above minimum wage job that one can get with a high school diploma . . . won't see you through a four-year university. It's genuinely much harder than it used to be.
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Old 04-18-2013, 07:08 PM   #39
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Best thing I did to pay for college - took at a job at the state U. I work 20 hours per week, my kids get half price tuition at any of the schools in my state system, and we have some good schools.

Middle child got a big scholarship from a foundation, which she can use at any university. The first semester she went to community college, the scholarship covered it all. Because I get the tuition discount, DH and I cover tuition. Kids have to cover room and board, because they do have some choices in that. Our U has BEAUTIFUL off campus apartments, the kind with granite counter tops, top of the line stainless appliances, pools, hot tubs, beautiful gyms, etc, for $1350 per month per student. Since they are paying for their own my kids have opted not to pick those apartments, though many of their friends did.

DS had a bad first year, we made him move home and go to CC until he was able to prove he could do it. He paid for that.

make sure your kids can swim, lifeguard is a job they can get on any campus!
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Old 04-18-2013, 07:13 PM   #40
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We homeschool, and have alternative college plans. My oldest is about to start high school, and has been taking random college classes here and there (special interest). When he is 10th, he will take the proficiency exam and complete his high school at the local community college. When he finishes up his general education, he will also have shaved off 2 years of his bachelor's degree. This is very common in the homeschooling community where we live. We will have saved approximately $20,000 for college, since we aren't paying for private school (we use a public charter, and we receive funding to pay for classes and any curriculum of our choosing). That should help offset any educational costs. He may need to take a student loan out for the remainder, or he may end up with a scholarship...who knows.


We are planning on the same path with our youngest as well.
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Old 04-18-2013, 07:15 PM   #41
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Best thing I did to pay for college - took at a job at the state U. I work 20 hours per week, my kids get half price tuition at any of the schools in my state system, and we have some good schools.

Middle child got a big scholarship from a foundation, which she can use at any university. The first semester she went to community college, the scholarship covered it all. Because I get the tuition discount, DH and I cover tuition. Kids have to cover room and board, because they do have some choices in that. Our U has BEAUTIFUL off campus apartments, the kind with granite counter tops, top of the line stainless appliances, pools, hot tubs, beautiful gyms, etc, for $1350 per month per student. Since they are paying for their own my kids have opted not to pick those apartments, though many of their friends did.

DS had a bad first year, we made him move home and go to CC until he was able to prove he could do it. He paid for that.

make sure your kids can swim, lifeguard is a job they can get on any campus!
I did something similar for myself: I was an RA. That gave me a free private room in the dorms, 1/2 my meal plan paid, 1/2 my in-state tuition paid, and my phone paid. It was genuinely the best thing I did financially during my college years.

I can't understand what college student can afford apartments like that! My daughter's talking about an apartment for her junior year, and she's looking at prices less than half what you're talking about. Plus, what's to look forward to after graduation?
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Old 04-18-2013, 07:58 PM   #42
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I'd be terrified to take that chance. My daughter is really bright, but she is flaky and really I don't know if she could have a ninth grade meltdown on grades due to just being her. I know a lot of really bright people, and most of them didn't get the scholarships there parents had counted on. Good for you that yours did, that's great!
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:17 PM   #43
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I hate to be a nay sayer to college planning but also as a PP mentioned, consider vocational HS or post HS vocational training. Not everyone is cut out for a college education or a job that requires a college education. Middle DS is in middle school and he has some pretty severe learning disabilities - learns by pictures and doing and HATES anything that involves writing as it is extremely difficult for him. While many say that this is no impediment to college, and it's not if you have a highly motivated child, some kids aren't motivated to study/just aren't cut out for studying, as a result, we have started strongly encouraging him to think about what vocation he would like to pursue. We're not saying what he has to do but saying, hey, you have to start thinking and planning now. Do you want to be a carpenter, plumber, farmer, mechanic, military, welder, etc (He's very very mechanically minded)? We will help you get there and help you figure it out, but you're not going to go to college, drop out after a semester and end up working as a cashier or stock boy for the rest of your life.
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:35 PM   #44
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Great ideas for college saving

Wow, Great to hear what everyone is doing. Everyone has a different situation and money does not seem to go as far. So here is my little program.

1) We started a program for each child as young as possible but one of our children's programs was started later than the other because money was tighter for awhile. We started $50 a month for each then set it up to automatically increase $50 a year on the anniversary date. It's like paying yourself first. It comes out of our checking before we spend it on other things.
2) we invested in a book at B&N and spent a few hours learning a little. Knowledge is usually power. Each child has a 529 plan. There are also many good free web sites that offer information. Research this information because some states offer a tax break if you contribute. ( some even if you contribute to other states plan)
3) we use tools that give us a little kickback. We happen to use "upromise" but I'm sure there must be others. We have received several thousands over the years by doing things we normally do- buy online, buy certain groceries. Many companies participate. The best part is, grandparents and relatives can register their grocery cards as well and contribute.
4) Sorry Disney- we vary fortunate to visit you but only every few years and we always look for discounts . Her's hoping for a late summer EDP!
5) Give yourself credit for asking the question and trying to find out!!
6) Don't forget to write to the people in power who have oversight on these issues. We want them to know that we notice and we just want o educate our children.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:13 PM   #45
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We set aside nothing. We paid the first year of college then they were adults and they hade to figure it out themselves.
Our parents did the same for me and DH.
So far it works well. 1 engineer, 1 accountant, 1 almost finished with her doctorate. Youngest is 24 so it is in real time, not the cheap prices we paid for college.
No student loans left to pay but they each did it their own way. They all worked thru college to offset costs and then after they graduated, paid the loans off quickly by various methods.
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