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intentionally NOT saving for your child's college? - Page 4

post #61 of 324
We have not begun to save for college, but that is because DH and I are both struggling college students ourselves. It is our plan to save for our retirment and pay for college semester by semester, if we are able to save that will be ideal. No matter what, we are committed to paying for our son's education. I love learning, and I hope to instill that in my son.

While I want for my son to choose his own career I hope and pray that he completes a professional degree. A trade is not an option that I want to even consider.

Life is a lot harder without a degree. I took off a considerable amount of time from college, because I did not have any help from family, and working was not an option at the time. Even though I earned a salary that was equal to many with a 4 year degree not everyone is as lucky. I worked far to hard for what I earned, and I could have increased my earning potential if I had a degree in hand.

I don't want for DS to have to put limits on what he does in life because he does not earn an adequate salary or because he does not have an excellent education.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride
I'm still not sure if ds1 will go to college. He's got two more years of high school, and he's still changing his mind about what he wants to do on a regular basis.

That said, I don't see this as something I have to handle. If ds1 wants to go to college, he can find a way to do it. We'll help, if we can. If he doesn't want to go, then it's a non-issue, anyway. I simply don't see post-secondary tuition as a parental responsibility.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shayinme
I think your son is only a year younger than mine but are you saying at 18, he would basically be on his own? Just a honest question because that's how my parents were and beleive me I so wish that they had not. At 18 I had no skills so as a woman I fell back on getting married and it was a lousy choice. Maybe that is why I feel adamant about helping my own kid because while I may not have known exactly what I wanted to do at 18, in the end what I did when I grew up wasn't that far off the mark from when I was 18. Instead I got a degree at 28 after years of crap jobs and raising a kid.
My DH's mom was done at 18, and I know that this has had a profound effect on his lack of education. My mother never contributed towards my education and it has taken me too long to get to the point where I am now.

I don't understand the logic that a parents job ends at 18, especially when I have seen some of the same posters mention that at 18 one is unable to comprehend the responsibility that come with student loans. How can the same 18 year old be expected to pay for their own education?
post #62 of 324
This issue is very much on my mind as my only child is now a high school senior (wasn't he just a toddler?!) If I might be so bold as to share some things I've learned, perhaps they can be of some help.

1. Start looking at colleges/financial aid your kids Sophomore year of high school. Yes, I'm serious. There are so many misconceptions about paying for college, I could not begin to address them all. There's no need to involve your child at this point but it's vital that you understand your own financial picture.

2. Calculate your family EFC (Expected Financial Contribution.) Typically it turns out to be higher than people anticipate. http://apps.collegeboard.com/fincalc/efc_welcome.jsp

3. Most colleges do not meet 100% of need (amount left over after EFC) and most colleges are not need blind. Also, most financial aid offered is loans.

4. Guidance Counselors are great but the vast majortity of them are very overworked. I've met a lot of people whose GC wound up telling them something that turned out to be wrong. The colleges don't care who you heard it from, so double check everything.

5. That idea that there are millions of dollars of unclaimed finanical aid? It's a myth. The vast majority of that money is for very specific populations (daughter of alum or even child of a particular donor from way back, etc.) Learn what the odds are on "outside" scholarships (that is scholarships not from the college.) Don't over look local scholarships because they are for smaller amounts; the odds are best with a limited number of applicants.

6. Merit money (scholarships based solely on academics, athletics, etc. and not need based) is very, very competitive. If you are counting on that, start research early. For instance, it may take a 3.2 to get into a college but to be competitive for merit money it might take a 3.8.

7. Lastly, as early as you can, be honest and upfront with your child about what you can afford. There is a college out there for them, get excited about finding it and let go of the rest.

I could go on and on (clearly!) but those are things I wish someone had told me.
post #63 of 324
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shayinme View Post
I am with you 100%. Like I have been saying we are a year away from making that first college payment and I don't see how my son would be doing college on a minimum wage paying job. Yeah, you can work 2-3 jobs and I know I did it as a single Mama but it took 10 years before I got my BA and in the end I still ended up with a boatload of debt. Compared to my much younger brother who by the time he was of age to go to college at least my folks were able to pay a little plus he was able to live at home which helped a lot.

I don't understand why you couldn't have your son start out at a junior college, most of the basic classes should transfer to a state univ. and you could call to verify which ones would. That would save a lot of money and he could work a pt job to help save for univ. in the future.

Also don't understand why kids can't take some time after 18 to work independent of school and save money if they want to go to college. MOst kids I know/knew didn't know who they were, what they wanted to do/be at 18-19-25-27 to decide what to go to school for anyway....
post #64 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by sisteeesmama View Post
I don't understand why you couldn't have your son start out at a junior college, most of the basic classes should transfer to a state univ. and you could call to verify which ones would. That would save a lot of money and he could work a pt job to help save for univ. in the future.

Also don't understand why kids can't take some time after 18 to work independent of school and save money if they want to go to college. MOst kids I know/knew didn't know who they were, what they wanted to do/be at 18-19-25-27 to decide what to go to school for anyway....
:

Quote:
Life is a lot harder without a degree.
I just don't think it is as black and white as that.
post #65 of 324
Thread Starter 
My life isn't harder without a degree, I LOVE my life, my life is BEAUTIFUL.....maybe it's harder if you don't know how to live a good life without a degree, I could believe that.
post #66 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
:


I just don't think it is as black and white as that.
For me it was, both mentally and physically.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sisteeesmama View Post
My life isn't harder without a degree, I LOVE my life, my life is BEAUTIFUL.....maybe it's harder if you don't know how to live a good life without a degree, I could believe that.
I guess that it would depend upon my definition of a good life. I know people who think that they have a good life, but I would NOT want to be in their position.
post #67 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by sisteeesmama View Post
My life isn't harder without a degree, I LOVE my life, my life is BEAUTIFUL.....maybe it's harder if you don't know how to live a good life without a degree, I could believe that.
Yes I think it has a lot to do with individual mindset and priorities.


But more so a degree is no guarantee of a stable well-paying job.
post #68 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by sisteeesmama View Post
I don't understand why you couldn't have your son start out at a junior college, most of the basic classes should transfer to a state univ. and you could call to verify which ones would. That would save a lot of money and he could work a pt job to help save for univ. in the future.

Also don't understand why kids can't take some time after 18 to work independent of school and save money if they want to go to college. MOst kids I know/knew didn't know who they were, what they wanted to do/be at 18-19-25-27 to decide what to go to school for anyway....
If he was a different kid I think that would be a great route and truthfully that might be the way we go if there is simply not enough cash. However where I was a slacker in HS my son is a brillant kid, he is interested in poli-sci and wants to go to law school and do social justice work. This is a kid who was just voted senior class president and is involved in a lot of activties. Heck he even was involved in the recent presidential campiagn...

I think this is an issue that if you are not quite there its harder to get so I am going to respectfully bow out at this point.

@Thisbirdwillfly, I love what you said, I told my son several months ago that he had to change his list of top schools which orginally had places like Northwestern (dh's alma mater) Bates, etc... Now his top picks are state schools (my ex and I divorced so we are in different states) that are still a lot cheaper than the private choices but unless he goes to school in either WI or ME the state schools he are looking at (VT and MI) are still pricy though cheaper than private schools.

I will just add there are lots of folks who at 18 do know what they want to do, my dh is one of them. He wanted to be a journalist, he got his undergrad and grad degree in journalism and that's what he has been doing for the past 20 years. Even my brother who is only 28 knew at 16 he wanted to be a architect, he did start out at a community college but not everything tranfers all the time so he ended up doing an extra semester when he went to the university.

Anyway gotta run

Shay
post #69 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
Yes I think it has a lot to do with individual mindset and priorities.


But more so a degree is no guarantee of a stable well-paying job.

I don't know anyone with a degree who does not have a stable well paying job. I also don't know very many people who have less than a Masters or a professional degree unless they are Accountantss who have worked their way up in their field.

I would never suggest to anyone to simply get a degree, because many are useless. AN AAT which is not a real associates degree can be more remunerative than an BA/BS in the wrong area. Some people choose degrees that will never pay well because they have a desire to learn more in a specific area and there is nothing wrong with that, if you know that the degree is not marketable. But, once they have the BA/BS they do have the option of earning a masters degree that will allow them to enter the job market and earn a stable income.

That is the benefit of a BA/BS, options.
post #70 of 324
For clarification, students 24 y/o and under are considered "dependant" unless they qualify as one of the following:
1. Student is enrolled in a Masters program, Doctorate Degree, or graduate Certification program age does not matter, if you are enrolled in any of these types of programs you are considered and independent student
2.Student has a child or children that are your legal dependent(s) The student may have a family member etc. that is considered his dependent…he/she does not necessarily have to be a child
3.Student is married
4.Student is under the age of 24 and both of his parents are deceased
5.Student was a ward of the state until he/she were 18 years of age
6.Student is 24 years of age or older
7.Student was a Veteran of the United States Armed Force
8.Student was a foster child after the age of 13.
9.Student is an emancipated child as determined by a court judge.
10.Student is homeless or at risk of homelessness as determined by the director of a HUD approved homeless shelter, transitional program, or high school liaison. (Eligibility Requirements for Independent Status)

The process for a student to attempt to have themselves declared independent is a very difficult one. The process begins and ends at the college level. A student must file a Dependency Review Form as well as provide the appropriate documentation demonstrating a serious threat to the student’s well being in order for independence to be considered. This threat can be physical or emotional and may be the result of parents’ mental illness, addition or other imbalance which affects the parent child relationship. (Federal Definition of a Financially Independent Student) All research indicates that institutions see a very low number (1-2 cases per year) in which a student can adequately demonstrate such need for independence. If the financial aid officer determines that the student’s case for independence is not warranted the student’s case is closed. Per federal guidelines, there is no appeal.

The potential problem with the independent/dependant criteria is that it does little to assist the student whose parents refuse to file taxes or those who refuse to share their tax information in order to complete a FAFSA. The 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act attempted to take a stab at this conundrum by granting only unsubsidized Stafford loans to those students who could prove that they qualify for a special circumstance that prevents them from providing parental information. In this case the financial aid officer of the student’s chosen institution must consider the documentation that the student is able to provide, including a statement from the student’s parents, which states that they are unwilling to assist the student financially or enter their financial information into a FAFSA. The financial aid officer can then allow the student eligibility to receive unsubsidized Stafford loans however such determination is not justification for dependency over-ride. (2009-2010 Federal Student Aid Handbook)
post #71 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thisbirdwillfly View Post
This issue is very much on my mind as my only child is now a high school senior (wasn't he just a toddler?!) If I might be so bold as to share some things I've learned, perhaps they can be of some help.

1. Start looking at colleges/financial aid your kids Sophomore year of high school. Yes, I'm serious. There are so many misconceptions about paying for college, I could not begin to address them all. There's no need to involve your child at this point but it's vital that you understand your own financial picture.

2. Calculate your family EFC (Expected Financial Contribution.) Typically it turns out to be higher than people anticipate. http://apps.collegeboard.com/fincalc/efc_welcome.jsp

3. Most colleges do not meet 100% of need (amount left over after EFC) and most colleges are not need blind. Also, most financial aid offered is loans.

4. Guidance Counselors are great but the vast majortity of them are very overworked. I've met a lot of people whose GC wound up telling them something that turned out to be wrong. The colleges don't care who you heard it from, so double check everything.

5. That idea that there are millions of dollars of unclaimed finanical aid? It's a myth. The vast majority of that money is for very specific populations (daughter of alum or even child of a particular donor from way back, etc.) Learn what the odds are on "outside" scholarships (that is scholarships not from the college.) Don't over look local scholarships because they are for smaller amounts; the odds are best with a limited number of applicants.

6. Merit money (scholarships based solely on academics, athletics, etc. and not need based) is very, very competitive. If you are counting on that, start research early. For instance, it may take a 3.2 to get into a college but to be competitive for merit money it might take a 3.8.

7. Lastly, as early as you can, be honest and upfront with your child about what you can afford. There is a college out there for them, get excited about finding it and let go of the rest.

I could go on and on (clearly!) but those are things I wish someone had told me.

All of that.

Every time I hear "they can get a scholarship," particularly for a kid that doesn't have any specific gifts, it sounds a lot like your plan is to actually find money at the end of a rainbow.

These conversations tend to upset me, though.
post #72 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by shayinme View Post
If he was a different kid I think that would be a great route and truthfully that might be the way we go if there is simply not enough cash. However where I was a slacker in HS my son is a brillant kid, he is interested in poli-sci and wants to go to law school and do social justice work. This is a kid who was just voted senior class president and is involved in a lot of activties. Heck he even was involved in the recent presidential campiagn...

I think this is an issue that if you are not quite there its harder to get so I am going to respectfully bow out at this point.

@Thisbirdwillfly, I love what you said, I told my son several months ago that he had to change his list of top schools which orginally had places like Northwestern (dh's alma mater) Bates, etc... Now his top picks are state schools (my ex and I divorced so we are in different states) that are still a lot cheaper than the private choices but unless he goes to school in either WI or ME the state schools he are looking at (VT and MI) are still pricy though cheaper than private schools.

I will just add there are lots of folks who at 18 do know what they want to do, my dh is one of them. He wanted to be a journalist, he got his undergrad and grad degree in journalism and that's what he has been doing for the past 20 years. Even my brother who is only 28 knew at 16 he wanted to be a architect, he did start out at a community college but not everything tranfers all the time so he ended up doing an extra semester when he went to the university.

Anyway gotta run

Shay
Shay,

I hear ya Mama. I totally agree with what you have said in this thread.
post #73 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by BedHead View Post
Nope, I never saved a dime for my kids education. We will, however, provide them with a place to live (at home or elsewhere) and pay for that as long as they're in school. Tuition and books are their responsibility, through scholarships, student loans, grants, working, or other means. My parents got RESP's for all their grandkids and it looks like many of them won't even be using it.
That's our plan. As long as they're in in school we'll provide necessities.
post #74 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by shayinme View Post

@Thisbirdwillfly, I love what you said, I told my son several months ago that he had to change his list of top schools which orginally had places like Northwestern (dh's alma mater) Bates, etc... Now his top picks are state schools (my ex and I divorced so we are in different states) that are still a lot cheaper than the private choices but unless he goes to school in either WI or ME the state schools he are looking at (VT and MI) are still pricy though cheaper than private schools.
Shay
This is great advice for your son. I wish someone had told me that when I was applying to colleges--to focus on state schools. I would have much more of a chance of getting scholarships and all that and I probably would have gotten the chance to go away to school (instead of living at home). Public college ended up being where I had to go (instead of my first choice, my absolute last) and I suffered for that. I wish someone had put my idealism and youthfulness in it's place.

I just really hope I can help my kids achieve whatever dreams they want to achieve, college or something else, with my learned pragmatism, realism, and wisdom. I want to be able to help them find happiness and fulfillment. It would be great to have the financial freedom ($$$$) to help and that's what I'm keeping my eyes open for: ways to build wealth. I just honestly don't think that $50 saved today will be worth much in 15 years when DS1 is off to college.
post #75 of 324
Yes, we are saving for college. And also retirement, but the question was about college.

Neither my nor DH's parents saved for college for us; we ended up with student loans for what we could not pay ourselves. And in the late 90s, that wasn't so bad... we paid off the last of the student loans a couple years ago and could've done it sooner.

However, college tuition rates are rising much faster than inflation. I do not think our children will be fortunate enough to live in a time when they can afford to pay their way through college in a reasonable time-period, or when we can give them sufficient help, or when they can likely find a well-paid job without a degree.

Undergraduate tuition went up 15% in our state this year, and granted that's way worse than normal, but even the regular 7% rise is really causing tuition to become a huge burden very fast. I do not intend that we will pay their entire way; I would like to save enough now to pay for some. They will be expected to work for their own food/clothing/car/etc.

I do NOT want my kids to have to go into debt by taking out college loans.
post #76 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
This is kind of the underside of the whole view of this that I don't get. Why on earth should the income level of the parents affect a person's ability to get loans? The parents aren't the ones applying in the first place.
I agree. I know that it does affect it, but I still don't get why. If your parents can't or won't help you at all with school it can close doors to have their income disqualify you from aid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewsMother View Post
I don't know anyone with a degree who does not have a stable well paying job.
Really? Is this different in the US vs Canada? Because I am in the right age bracket to know numerous people who have graduated with degrees in recent years and are working at McDonalds or doing other minimum wage work if any work at all. I know many many more that have a degree and a job but the job is not at all in their field (and many of them it is not at all what they would actually enjoy doing).

My own partner and I will be debt free except for student loans soon... student loans to the tune of 60,000... and only about a third of that will actually be useful in terms of a well paying job in the field the education was acquired for. Having parents paying for the education wouldn't have made it better... it would still have been wasted money.
post #77 of 324
A related question... those of you who say that you expect/intend your child to go to College (or trade school) vs just saving money in case they go... what will you do/say to them if that is not part of their plan? Or is it that you mean that you expect them to in order to get the money that you have saved?
post #78 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aufilia View Post
Yes, we are saving for college. And also retirement, but the question was about college.

Neither my nor DH's parents saved for college for us; we ended up with student loans for what we could not pay ourselves. And in the late 90s, that wasn't so bad... we paid off the last of the student loans a couple years ago and could've done it sooner.

However, college tuition rates are rising much faster than inflation. I do not think our children will be fortunate enough to live in a time when they can afford to pay their way through college in a reasonable time-period, or when we can give them sufficient help, or when they can likely find a well-paid job without a degree.

Undergraduate tuition went up 15% in our state this year, and granted that's way worse than normal, but even the regular 7% rise is really causing tuition to become a huge burden very fast. I do not intend that we will pay their entire way; I would like to save enough now to pay for some. They will be expected to work for their own food/clothing/car/etc.

I do NOT want my kids to have to go into debt by taking out college loans.
I agree. But I also think something has to give in terms of just how much it costs to go to college these days.
post #79 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by triscuitsmom View Post
A related question... those of you who say that you expect your child to go to College (or trade school)... what will you do if that is not part of their plan? Or is it that you mean that you expect them to in order to get the money that you have saved?
Money in a 529 plan can be shared between siblings and maybe even cousins. This could be a "use it or loose it" situation for the individual kid.

My 2 cents worth: having the parents pay for college, if they can, allows the kid to focus on studies and choose a major based on personal interest not on starting salary. For example, my kid could go into teaching, join the peace corps, or whatever - without having to worry about paying back student loans or accumulating more interest.
post #80 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by triscuitsmom View Post
A related question... those of you who say that you expect your child to go to College (or trade school)... what will you do if that is not part of their plan? Or is it that you mean that you expect them to in order to get the money that you have saved?
triscuit, we have our money in resps which can be transferred to one of our other kids quite easily. If none of my three choose schooling (and it can go to university, trade school, cooking school etc) then we can get our money out but not the government grant portions.
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