I don't think it's a responsibility, but I do think it's a gift that parents can choose to give to their children. It is a gift that we will choose to give to DSD. I think there are many roads to happiness. I know I wouldn't be completely fulfilled without my job and I know I couldn't have my job without education. I could have struggled through it all, but I am grateful that my parents helped me through it. My life would have been much more difficult if they decided it was not their responsibility, or if they needed to teach me a lesson, or if they wanted me to wait two years before starting college, etc.
By the way, I feel a very sentimental connection to Peppermint post, as I am one of four siblings, and my parents ALWAYS supported us financially, and NONE of us ever took it for granted. Three of us go to my mom's house at least once week. The fourth one lives 5000 miles away, and stays connected over the internet.
We are a family. A family is a family whether you are 5, 15, or 50. If I am 45 years old and I need 15K for emergency expense, I know that my parents and my siblings can scrape it up for me, and it is NOT a one sided road by any means. If any of my siblings OR my parents are ever in a true need of something, I will always be there for them, material help or otherwise. I don't ask for money. Neither do my siblings, but we offer each other support when one or another family goes through tough times.
One time I pulled out a check from an envelope, from my brother. It had 3K in there. He knew we were struggling, and without any word of forewarning he just mailed me a check. I never asked for it, and fully intend to pay it back. But it brought tears to my eyes, because I know, I can count on my siblings AND my parents without asking.
I want to offer my kids no less of a support than my parents and siblings offer to me. WE are one blood, one family. Finances, joys, tears, all is shared. If it is less of a struggle for us to pay for education for DSD than it is to do it for herself, then we'll be there for her, every step of the way. Just like my parents were for me.
If I had a particularly ungrateful kid that needed to adjust his/her attitude about life - I might reconsider, otherwise, I don't feel the need to either teach them the value of a dollar by sending them into college loans, nor do I feel "we are done" just because the kid turned 18.
Family is a family forever. Siblings are siblings forever. Parents are parents forever. Education is something that many professions demand not only to break into a field, but to work in the field. You can't teach, be a doctor, be dentist or a psychologist, without a degree. There is a reason why so many mamas on this forum are struggling through getting a degree, going to night classes, etc. It helps. It just does. It opens doors, and if I can anything to help DSD to open those doors for her, I'll will, because that's what family does for each other, you know?
I know my parents did it for all of us because they wanted to make life easier for us, not because someone told them they had to. I want to make life easier for my kids, and that's all there is to it.
I don't think everyone has to subscribe to our family values, but I treasure them enough to grow my own little family in a similar way. Paying for kids' education feel right, not paying feels wrong.
However, none of us went to college, and none of us want to. That has nothing to do with how close our family is.