College: Who Pays - Parent or Kid?

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by anc876, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. LauraR

    LauraR Mouseketeer<br><font color=red>Needs to do some se

    Sep 17, 2003
    We'll pay, wherever they get in. We don't want them to spend the rest of their lives paying off college debt. But we are encouraging them to get AP credits and community college credits to lessen the cost. My son, who is a senior, has 8 credits of Arabic and should be able to get 4 credits for the AP Calculus class he took last year (he got a 5). I'm hoping he get some more 4's or 5's when he tests for the 5 AP classes he's taking now, also. We are definitely encouraging them to go to in-state schools, since the tuition is so much lower, but are not limiting them to those.
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  3. Pea-n-Me

    Pea-n-Me DIS Veteran

    Jul 18, 2004
    DH and I were 100% responsible for our own college costs.

    For our kids, who just started high school, it will be a combination. We would like to see them shoulder some of the responsibility in the hopes it will help them make good choices.

    To that end, we've been talking through the issues with them for a while now, and we've even done some walk throughs of college campuses to take some of the mystery out of it for them.

    They understand the importance of things like having a good high school experience and keeping college debt load low.

    Since they are thinking about possible career choices, we talk to people we see doing jobs they might like to do about how they got to where they are. For instance, we were on vacation this summer and we got to talking to a forest ranger/environmental police officer and DS was I think a little surprised to hear he had several years in the military, and bachelor's and master's degrees. Last week we met a cameraman at a ball park and lo and behold, he had a bachelor's degree in videography technology (or something like that). Both of these young men seemed incredibly happy doing their jobs, which was nice to see (and why we chose them to talk to!).

    I work with a lot of young people just out of school and have talked to most of them about their college experiences. (And of course have friends and family whose kids have been through this as well.) Many are still changing majors and even schools after a year or two, or changing careers completely after finishing their degrees. Some are in debt up to their eyeballs and some express regret over some of their choices. Not judging, because I did this myself and understand how it happens (and realize it could happen to my kids as well despite the best laid plans). But I think in this day and age, it's a hard road to travel with the astronomical costs involved.

    So my hope for my own is that they have a good idea of what they want to study by the time college rolls around, and that the choices they make are good ones (however that plays out) so they can utilize the funds they have wisely and begin their working lives without a ton of debt.
  4. dawnhaze

    dawnhaze DIS Veteran

    Apr 6, 2012
    My parents contributed what they were able to (which was nowhere NEAR what the school said their "expected contribution" was supposed to be), and I worked and took out loans to pay what they couldn't.

    I couldn't tell you what the "college experience" is like, because mine involved being late to class on a daily basis because I hadn't slept more than a few hours, trying not to fall asleep IN class, doing my homework at work and hoping my boss didn't see, and then desperately trying not to fall asleep while I drove home from work.

    I don't blame my parents - they tried. So did I. But if you have the means to help your kids through college, please don't make them try to do it themselves so they "appreciate it more" or whatever. If you've got a goof-off screw-around kid, you probably know it already. But if you've got a determined and hard-working kid, you probably know that already too, and those kids WILL work themselves into the ground if they have to, even if it makes them miserable.
  5. Bonniec

    Bonniec DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2011
    Dh and I didn't have money to put away when our twins were younger. The just went off to college (Missing them so much!) and they have done it 100% on their own. They didn't want to struggle financially like we did so worked hard for their grades and AP classes. I'm very proud of them.
  6. amylynne01

    amylynne01 DIS Veteran

    Jan 11, 2010
    I received a full tuition scholarship based on grades, and my parents paid my room, board, and books with the understanding that my grades and integrity were maintained. I walked out of my undergrad degree with no debt. My sister chose a very expensive private school, and she received a small scholarship from them. She made a bad decision, lost her scholarship, and she had to take out student loans to cover the money she lost while my parents continued covering at the same amount.

    For my kids, it will be a joint effort. All of us will contribute to paying for college, whether it be earning high grades for scholarships, work-study, or plain old savings.
  7. Colleen27

    Colleen27 DIS Veteran

    Mar 31, 2007
    The amount matters. 10K is a reasonable amount that can be paid off fairly quickly after starting that first professional job, but a lot of grads of my generation or younger are graduating with far larger debt loads. Some of my friends have loans bigger than the mortgage on our first house, and a few didn't even manage to finish school because they ran out of options for borrowing to cover the gap between other form of aid and the full cost of attendance, so they have 3 years worth of student loans that they need to pay down to be able to borrow more to finish.

    From what I've seen, both when I was in school and now that my son's friends have siblings starting college, private universities are often more affordable than public if your child is a strong, well-rounded student simply because they have more resources for gift aid. We know a number of families around us who ended up choosing 30K/year private universities (nowhere near Ivy caliber, but good schools) over the 15K/year public choices because the total aid package made private the more affordable option.
  8. cornflake

    cornflake DIS Veteran

    Jul 31, 2011
    I just saw a typo - it's meant to say less than 10 in 100.
  9. alorac

    alorac Earning My Ears

    Aug 28, 2012
    I took out loans for my undergrad and the plan was for my parents to help. However, when the time came for payments they werent in the same financial situation so I'm handling it all.

    I'll admit it does suck knowing that I have basically a mortgage payment every month... (kicking myself for not going to state school) but as long as my parents dont mind me living with them for a little while longer so I get things under control its not that big of a deal. I think they actually like it since I'm the baby and they'll miss me haha.

    What annoys me the most about it all is that one of my brothers (5 school years older than me) had my parents able to afford paying for his first 2 years of school or so when he failed out miserably and doesnt have anything to show for it.

    Depending on the interest rate environment... I'll probably make my kids take out loans with the promise being that if they do well I will cover the costs when the time comes for payment. If they dont do well, or fail out... they're stuck with em.
  10. Debbie7452

    Debbie7452 DIS Veteran

    Apr 24, 2002
    There's a problem with saying that we paid for college on our own, so our kids can too. College bills have more than quadrupled since 20 years ago. What was possible back then with summer work and part time jobs won't pay the bills anymore. I agree that the kids need to put in what they can, but we need to be realistic about what that will cover.

    I'm talking about state public college too, not anything super fancy or privileged.
  11. tajz90

    tajz90 Mama D

    May 6, 2012
    We planned to pay for our children with the understanding that they have to attend our local state college. If they want to go away, they need scholarships to help because of the high cost of room and board.

    That being said, my son received a full academic scholarship with enough to cover room and board for the 1st year. He has since signed on to be an RA which relieves us of any college costs. We will take the money we have saved and offer to help with his continuing education. It's important to help them graduate with as little debt as possible.
  12. punkin

    punkin <font color=purple>Went through pain just to look

    Nov 28, 2001

    Yes. My mother did what she could to help me. I appreciated it, but she really just couldn't afford to do all that much. I am paying for DD's room and board (and occasionally some books) because I want to and can. She appreciates it and works her butt off. I hope to do the same for younger DD.

    I really believe that parents who can afford to pay (and have good, hard-working children) who refuse to pay out of some sense of "not spoiling" the kids are being unreasonable.

    ETA: I am also paying tuition.
  13. msp2mco

    msp2mco DIS Veteran

    Feb 16, 2009
    Our kids will have their first year paid in full. After that, they will pay 10% their second year, 20% their 3rd year and 30% their 4th year. This gives them some skin in the game of how they will budget their time and resources to finish in 4 years, study abroad, etc. Any scholarships they receive will be subtracted from the amount that they owe. We will help with graduate school if it makes sense to us.
  14. SamSam


    Jan 21, 2001
    We told are kids (both have masters and good jobs now) that we would pay for 4 years (in state) tuition and room and board. They had to earn all their own spending money, including car insurance. If it took more than 4 years, they would be responsible on their own. If they wanted to go out of state, they would need to pay the difference.

    It was also required that they keep their grades up. Our son went on to pay for his own Masters and then on to law school (he had a number of grants, etc.). Our daughter, after a few mis-steps also went on to get her masters.

    I think each family has to do what they are comfortable doing.
  15. NotUrsula

    NotUrsula DIS Veteran

    Apr 19, 2002
    My mother couldn't afford to pay a dime toward my college education; I not only paid for it myself, I sent home money every month to help her pay her living expenses.

    My kids have solid college funds, but they are not meant to cover the cost of a private education. I *very* strongly believe that except for in a very few select professions, where you go to school really does not matter much; to most employers a degree is a degree; it is your job skills that count for much more. To that end, we will not be paying for absolutely everything even at a state school, because I want my kids to leave college with a resume of actual paid work experience, even if it is only waiting tables (though I hope it won't be; experience in their fields is more valuable.)

    I will be encouraging them to weigh the cost vs. ROI very carefully when choosing a major and a school. If what they want to do is not something with a positive employment outlook or lucrative salary prospects, step one will be making sure that they do not overspend on getting the credentials.
    (I won't do anything such as insisting on pursuing a STEM degree if they have no interest in it, but choosing a lower-paid profession will necessitate choosing a less-expensive school.)
  16. KennesawNemo

    KennesawNemo DIS Veteran

    Oct 28, 2008
    My parents paid every penny for college and helped me a littlle bit in graduate school. They always see it as their responsibility. I remember my dad caculating how much he need to save for me when I was barely in first grade.

    I am spoiled, yes. But I now also view it as my responsibility to fully pay for my son's education up to college. I think I am on track in terms of saving for it.
  17. Sweetly

    Sweetly Mouseketeer

    Feb 21, 2011
    My parents paid for our college. The rule was they pay or A, B, and some C's. D's and F's were our bill.
    My daughter has been told the same thing. I will help with the tuition but her grades have to be good. If not she will be on her own paying for college.
  18. h518may

    h518may Mouseketeer

    Jan 14, 2008
    I was to take care of having the money for school. My first year I had two small loans, one for each semester. After that I got tuition paid for so my parents agreed to pay for housing. I had my loans payed off in about a year out of school.

    Our children's college is a little different then everybody else's. My children were adopted through the foster care system, and our state covers instate tuition for them. So I will say that if they want to go out of state we will help some, but we will not cover everything. If they go instate we will cover housing and help with extras.
  19. ssawka

    ssawka DIS Veteran

    Oct 30, 2007
    My parents paid for anything that was not covered by loans (R&B, Books, etc.) When I graduated, the loans became my responsibility. Fortunately, I picked a decent paying career. I graduated with quite a bit of debt, as did DW, but because of luck and timing, we were able to pay off our student loans by rolling them into the mortgage.

    DW and I were married right out of college and bought our house about a year later. This was prior to the real estate boom. Once the boom hit, our house more than doubled in value and we were able to refinance to pay off both of our loans. When the crash hit, our home still retained much of its value due to the area we live in. So yes, it was a bit risky to roll our loans into our mortgage, but so far it has worked out well for us. I realize not everyone has this option and that it might not work in all cases.

    For my Masters degree and my current coursework, I am fortunate to be in a field where most employers pay for your education.

    I believe parents should help out as much as they can, but I don't feel that they should take on the full burden. Especially if their is more than one child. I however do not envy any student that comes out of college with a large debt and no prospects of a job. This is why the field that the student chooses is crucial. Yes, you have to enjoy your work, but you also have to be marketable. Fortunately, I have been lucky enough to have both.
  20. Pea-n-Me

    Pea-n-Me DIS Veteran

    Jul 18, 2004
    If you are in MA, weren't there some problems with this last year? The state renegged on their agreement to pay. Not sure how it all played out, but something to be aware of.
  21. SC Minnie

    SC Minnie <font color=purple>Are we there yet???<br><font co

    May 18, 2001
    My parents paid for everything. They both had gone back to college as adults and saw how hard it was to work full time, go to school, and still have a family life. I did take my college career seriously even though I wasn't footing the bill. ::yes::

    DD is currently a college freshman. She got enough scholarship money to pay for about half and we are paying for the rest. So far, she is taking it seriously as well. She had 25 college credits going in from AP and duel credit classes and hopes to finish in less than 4 years. She knows she needs to keep her GPA up or she'll lose her scholarship. If that happens she'll have to take out students loans.

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