How are your kids going to go to college? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 06:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Someone just asked me if I was saving for my kids to go to college.  I said no and she looked at me like I was dumb as rocks.  Of course I'll help them while they're in college but I do not plan on paying for college.  I know there are programs out there designed for parents to put money away for college but they come with a few stipulations that I think would take away from my kids choices.  Also I'm a DV, there are quite a few programs out there that offer scholarships for DV children.  The price of a college education keeps rising, even if I started now, how can I be sure I could really pay for it all without having to mortgage my house and take out loans?

 

I honestly would prefer them to go fully knowing that I will not be paying but will support in any other way I can. 

 

Thoughts?

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#2 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 06:28 AM
 
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Stupid question: Whats a DV?

 

I'm not saving yet, but I want to start. Sucks not having enough money. My parents put me through college, but then I was on my own for law school. I don't know that it made me appreciate it any more than college, but I'm in lots of debt from law school. Thankfully I was debt free after undergrad though, so my debt load is lighter than most with a grad degree (going to a good but cheap law school helped to).

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#3 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 06:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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#4 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 06:43 AM
 
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Of course. duh.gif I always think "Domestic Violence" when I see that. oops.

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#5 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 06:46 AM
 
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Well... seeing that I am still paying for my college- and will probably be paying for it still when they are in school- and no I don't have a degree... ( yuck) I will help them but they will most likely have to get grants scholarships and loans. There dad will be able to help as well.

We talk about college all the time here and they know they are going. DS even knows where I want him to go and DD well- she is up for anything....  I am going to make sure they have the best possible applications- lots of involvement- etc.


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#6 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 06:53 AM
 
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A combination of financial strategies - educational savings, our own out-of-pocket wages, academic scholarships and contributions from the kids via their own part-time jobs and gift money/presents they've received. 

 

We set up an educational trust fund when the children were young. We contributed annually and it's healthy enough but wouldn't cover every expense for 2 students. DS worked part-time after school and during his summers and had his own savings. He decided to stay at home for university. He received a scholarship from his university of choice, and it's nice that it meant he could live at home if he wanted. That also meant that incremental costs associated with day-to-day living expenses have been relatively low this year, so he hasn't had to access the educational savings yet. We bought him a laptop for Christmas and that was probably the biggest "extra" cost so far. 

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#7 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 06:55 AM
 
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I am not. I'm sure everyone thinks I am a horrible selfish witch. My reasoning:

 

* Our income is limited, and so we are prioritizing paying off our own mortgage and saving for retirement. Sounds selfish but honestly, I think it's a great gift to DD to have parents in a stable position. I get nervous about my own parents, actually, and I would be hugely resentful if I had to take care of them financially. And the fact is - and this is another bullet point I guess -

 

* We might have to give some financial resources to my parents. Oh, hell, I'm not planning on it, and I will not be bailing them out, but if I have to take them in my home or get care for them, then I have to, you know? Thankfully I think it's more likely that they will be ok financially but this possibility does lurk in my mind.

 

* We are still paying off our own damn student loans. I can't justify to myself saving cash for DD's college when we are paying off our own college loans (and for years to come). DH's mother always promised to pay for college, but it turned out there were MAJOR strings attached. She felt this permitted to have a very bizarre amount of control over DH's life, including whether he could be in a relationship with me, down to even where he could drive his car (seriously... she told him he could only drive his car home to her, but could not use it to go to the mall or whatever). Screw that, so that's half our student loans. The other half are mine. My parents are huge on education and always swore they would pay for my college but they ended up... not. I actually don't resent this, but the fact is, we're paying off our own college before even considering saving for DD's. (We are paying at a somewhat accelerated rate, but not too much - prioritizing the mortgage because of the interest rate).

 

* DH and I believe a state college education is fine and that prestigious private colleges are generally (not always) overrated. Thankfully we went to the cheapest state college in our state. My parents would have loved for me to have a brand name sheepskin but I chose a different life ultimately.

 

It's not that I want DD to be in our position and paying a stupid loan for 20 years. But we're in this position and I just can't justify to myself prioritizing saving money for her college when we have other issues going on. If I could go back in time, I could have improved my own situation (worked more, and mailed back the extra money they so "nicely" loaned but I didn't actually need, which I always meant to do but never got around to). Maybe I can help DD with good advice in that direction. If not - well, it's not the end of the world.

 

Wow, that was long, even for me. Delete... or submit?


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#8 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 07:00 AM
 
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#9 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 07:20 AM
 
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Dd1 has scholarships, Pell Grants, a job as an RA, and help from exh, grandmas, and stepdad. She also works part time, holidays, and summers. It's a stretch for her to get it together every year and I think she values her education more because of it as previous posters have suggested.

 

Dd2 (21 months) will have things easier as her grandpa has already started her college account. His plan will have her education paid for probably no matter where she wants to go. She's his only grandchild (and no more coming) so he can afford to do that.

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#10 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 07:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That's awesome!  My girls are the only grandkids on both sides... nobody would do that for them.  Not a big deal though, we'll figure it out.
 

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Dd1 has scholarships, Pell Grants, a job as an RA, and help from exh, grandmas, and stepdad. She also works part time, holidays, and summers. It's a stretch for her to get it together every year and I think she values her education more because of it as previous posters have suggested.

 

Dd2 (21 months) will have things easier as her grandpa has already started her college account. His plan will have her education paid for probably no matter where she wants to go. She's his only grandchild (and no more coming) so he can afford to do that.



 

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#11 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 07:24 AM
 
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I am not saving currently. I do plan on assisting for undergrad for most if not all. Here is where it gets tricky, I will be amazed and so proud if DD1 goes to college but I also consider a 4 year degree to be the minimum standard these days. DD1 is severely dyslexic and just very basic school work is incredibly difficult for her, we have every single possible accommodation possible, tutoring, therapists... She does numerous sports, several competitive teams, they are not cheap, I almost consider them in place of her college fund. Coaching perhaps someday. 

 

 

We don't have current college funds, something else always seems to come up. Maybe I have the wrong priorities, but right now I am at the place where if it is between a 2 week vacation or college fund, I'm going for the trip! I've got 2 kids that get 11-12 hours of private therapy a week, that has been going on for years, hopefully next year they will be done and that money will be funneled into college funds. Our 5 year plan also involves selling a profitable business that DH and I own, we have minimal debt with it so the money will be put away or things like college. 


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#12 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 07:35 AM
 
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Not to put too fine a point on it, we're very well-off, financially.  In addition, we will both inherit large estates when dh's Dad dies and when my Mom dies.  We have zero debts (no mortgage at all, pay our credit cards in full each month, etc).

 

We started an education fund for any future children when we married.  At this point (15+ years later), ds (age 13 and an only child) will be able to attend whatever college he wishes, in whatever field, with no financial hardship to us (or, him). 

 

He'll receive an allowance, as well, while at college so he can concentrate on studies and not be worrying or losing sleep because of job concerns. 

 

This is how things were done for both dh and myself by our parents and we'll do the same for ds.

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#13 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 07:42 AM
 
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* DH and I believe a state college education is fine and that prestigious private colleges are generally (not always) overrated. Thankfully we went to the cheapest state college in our state. My parents would have loved for me to have a brand name sheepskin but I chose a different life ultimately.

 


 

nod.gif Some of the prestigious ones would be worth the $$$ for graduate school, but I think its a waste of money for undergrad. The not so prestigious colleges? You can do just as well and get just as a good an education at the state school.

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#14 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 08:26 AM
 
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Dd2 (21 months) will have things easier as her grandpa has already started her college account. His plan will have her education paid for probably no matter where she wants to go. She's his only grandchild (and no more coming) so he can afford to do that.

Same with us. All of the granchildren in our family already have their 4 yrs worth of tuition in a trust account. We are incredibly lucky that we don't have to worry about saving, or not svaing, for their higher education.
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#15 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 08:44 AM
 
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When grandma died, she left some money to each of the children. That will make a modest fund that will help, but it's not going to be nearly enough for a pricey private college. I expect the rest will come from: their part-time jobs, our contributing some, and depending on how expensive college gets, loans.

 

If all else fails, they will have the option of attending a state school with majorly reduced tuition as I'm an employee of our state universities. The problem is, I don't know if any of our state universities are going to be a good fit for our kids. 25 years of ever shrinking state funding means that the state now pays less than 20% of the universities' operating budgets, and the quality has suffered. In addition, ds at least, might thrive in a smaller institution. Dd will probably thrive no matter where she goes, and so it's a question of her having a good selection of majors to choose from. She could end up being anything from a social worker to a lawyer to a vet.


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We started 529s for them when they were born.


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#17 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 10:44 AM
 
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I have a savings account and hope she gets grants and scholarships. If not she may have to go to a university in the state for her undergrad to save money. Depending on her grades I might allow her to have a part time job when she is a teen if she wants to save half her earnings for college. We also have family members who are willing to help so she should be able to focus on school.
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#18 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 11:01 AM
 
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no idea.

 

its just dd and me. i cant imagine her paternal uncles doing anything to help.

 

however if dd does go to college, i will insist that she goes to community college first before she goes on to other schools. esp. if she decides to go to university rather than a state school. it wont surprise me if she decides to go to college abroad.


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#19 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 11:22 AM
 
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We have educational savings plans for both kids.  I guess that will cover what it will, and then they will need to supplement by working themselves, by student loans if necessary, possibly extra help from us if we're doing better financially, scholarships hopefully, etc.

 

My kids are only 4 and 7 so we have a good eleven years before this will be an issue.  I hope our own financial situation will be improved by that time, but if not we/they will find a way (assuming they want to study at university).


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#20 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 12:14 PM
 
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We're on a very limited income and are more worried about keeping the car running and the lights on at this point then some far off college. That being said, because i dont see my income being drastically increased by the time the kids are in college i figure they will qualify for lots of aid. Also, my state has a program where any child who is on Medicaid for at least 18 months from sixth grade on can qualify to have the first two years (and possibly the second two as well) of college instate paid. Hopefully that will still be around in a few years!

 

Oldest ds is currently trying to get into a high school that confers a college degree upon graduation (early college) so hopefully that will work out for him. Its very very expensive (though he should qualify for financial aid based upon parental income)...but i usually dont worry about his stuff getting paid as his paternal grandparents are well off and he's the first grandchild. They pretty much are willing to help out with whatever. My kids on the other hand dont have that luxury.


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#21 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 12:15 PM
 
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I don't know that my dd is going to college. If she decides to go that route she will most likely need to work, get scholarships, grants or take out loans to fund her education  just like dh and myself.

I'm not opposed to helping dd with some of the costs but we do not have a bunch of money saved up for that purpose.

At one time one of the grandparents said they set aside some money for dd for a college fund but I suspect the money is not there and I wouldn't have dd count on it.


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#22 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was actually told there was money for both me and my brother to go to college. Then the time came and we found out that our dad took it and paid for his gambling addiction. So I joined the military. Had I retired I could have given my kids my GI bill. Since I didn't its all mine to use. And I have to say its gotten better than when I joined.
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#23 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 01:14 PM
 
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The same way DH and I did - work-study, off-campus jobs, scholarships, loans. I went to a small private college & DH went to a large state school. We have paid off our BAs and my MA, still paying off his master's currently (he went after me). That's our main debt (cars paid off, minimal credit card, no mortgage - we rent), but it's just not in the cards to save up enough for both of them and hope to retire. Hopefully, we will be able to help out with living at home, paying for a laptop or books, etc.

 

I have to say that I have been thinking about having them look into community college first, whether to collect basic credits or obtain a professional qualification before transferring to a 4-year school. As I said, I got my degrees from well-regarded private institutions, but am currently doing a certificate program at the local cc, and it's quite good. I am impressed by what they offer for the very minimal price.


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#24 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 02:19 PM
 
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I put aside some money from my divorce settlement that will go toward the kids education, and DH will be adding to it from his mom's inheritance. We don't have money in our regular budget to put aside. I'd be shocked if XH's family contributes to the kids education at all. I hope the kids will decide to go to one of the many good local schools and continue to live at home while they go to school... I think we'll be able to cover school expenses, but definitely not their living or travel expenses on top of that if they move, unless our financial situation miraculously changes. The government here gives you up to $500/year depending on how much you put into an RESP for the kids, so that helps a lot.

 

The other thing we'll do is encourage the kids to look at college programs or technical school rather than university. It seems like you're a lot more likely to have a good job/career after them... I only know a few people who are actually using their university degree, and many who went back after university to get a certificate or diploma that was actually useful. If they decide they want to go to university, fine... but frankly I think they'd be better off even if they went to the art school rather than that!

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#25 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 03:01 PM
 
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I have to say that I have been thinking about having them look into community college first, whether to collect basic credits or obtain a professional qualification before transferring to a 4-year school. As I said, I got my degrees from well-regarded private institutions, but am currently doing a certificate program at the local cc, and it's quite good. I am impressed by what they offer for the very minimal price.


I highly recommend this route. I completed the first two years of my undergraduate degree at a community college and then transferred to a well-regarded public university. It was a lot less expensive, plus I never could've gotten into the university I did with my high school grades alone.   

 

I enjoyed the community college in many ways more than the university. The classes were much smaller which I think is really important those first couple of years. The teachers were accessible and were actually there to teach. They weren't there to publish or do research or get their graduate degree. There was lots of extra help available at the Learning Center. It was kind of like high school, only college.  

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#26 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 03:06 PM
 
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We aren't putting money away. Instead we are working very hard on our own debt. That way when the time comes we are hopefully in a financial place to help them out. We probably won't pay for it all. However, if we can we will. We are more likely to help them pay their student loans then we are to have a college fund before hand.

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#27 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 03:26 PM
 
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I hope to save some money for them and pay for the rest with grants/loans/scholarships/part-time work. Right now we have a ton of student loan debt from both of our degrees and have opted for more family time over more time at work (I don't want to go from 3 days a week to 5 days a week if it'll mean I'm burning the candle at both ends and not getting time to enjoy my babe, even though I could make a very nice income). And she's still very small so there is time to save, but I do want to put away some money while she's little to take advantage of compound interest.

 

I think a community college is a good idea in theory, but IME the instructional quality is spotty--some instructors are great and some are lousy, so I'm leary of it. However, my husband teaches at our local CC, and if this is still the case when we have kids of the age to attend, he can figure out which instructors are better. :)


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#28 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 04:42 PM
 
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What I'd like to do is start a "getting started in adult life" fund for each kid upon his or her birth and add to it as I can. Whether they use this for college tuition, starting a business, or even just purchasing their first car will be largely up to them. I'm not going to start a fund that can only be used on school.

 

But my fiance and I combined have $120,000 in student loan debt. As much as I want to help the kiddos more directly, I'm not sure I'll be able to. But I'm going to be very cautious about recommending college to them in the first place. I was surrounded by an "everyone who's not a loser  goes to college" mentality when I was a teen, and look where it got me!

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#29 of 208 Old 02-22-2012, 07:56 PM
 
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Hi-

   DH and I recently hired a financial planner and he advised us to put a good portion of our extra money into one of these "life insurance to use while living" investments.  It's moderate growth over time and the nice thing about it is that it can be used for kids' college or your retirement, depending on what your situation is when the time arises.  It's important to remember that when it comes to colleges giving financial aid, they cannot ask you to give your retirement money to pay for the tuition (I don't think?).  Some schools (private ones in particular) have large endowments and DO fully fund students who truly cannot afford to go but are accepted (at least, this was the case in the mid 90s when I went to undergrad). 

 

I went to a small semi-prestigous private undergrad and I can support the OP comments fully; it really was largely a waste of money.  Also, the other students were mostly SO rich (driving Range Rovers around campus, etc) that socially it was far from ideal.   The "brand name" I hoped would give me an edge when applying to graduate school and beyond really did next to nothing for me.  I really wish I went to a state school or even did the 2 years of community college then transferred to a 4 year.  My friend did this and saved so much money!  

 

Also, I currently work at well known university with a solid (not super competitive or 'top') reputation.  They offer 90% off tuition to all my children so long as I am working there when they are in school.  If I'm still there, I will tell DD (and the next if we have another) maybe when they are freshman in high school about how great it would be to pay nothing for undergrad, especially if they plan to continue on with a grad degree.  I'm thinking of saying they will be taking out loans and working in the cafeteria (like I did) if they don't go this college.  My DH thinks we should fund their "dream" if they are accepted someplace expensive that they really want to go- I'm thinking no way.

 

I also think funding your own retirement first is key (as previously mentioned).  Three of our 4 parents have major financial problems due to gambling and buying on credit...and we may have to fund/deal with all of them (no siblings to help).  It's a great gift to free your child of the potential burden of broke parents!!  

 

I think parents should still encourage their kids to go to college but they really need to have an end-point marketable SKILL in mind when they start!  English B.A.s will largely get you nowhere, unfortunately.  

 

-Jen

 

 

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#30 of 208 Old 02-23-2012, 12:00 AM
 
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It will depend on what career the kids choose, DD1 states her desire of going to Germany, Switzerland or whatever German speaking country and go to Med School, she's a EU citizen so that prices wont be very high ( even though they've been getting higher each year) so I'm not really worried. It will worry me, however, if one of them decides that they want to go to school in the US, i've heard it's really expensive.

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