Jump to content


What's with the ads?

Photo

How are YOU managing to pay for college?


196 replies to this topic

What's with the ads?

#1 Nan in Mass

Nan in Mass

    Apprentice Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 9898 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 09:43 AM

I thought some of us might be willing to explain how we are managing to send our children to college? Since this requires talking about money, something we all have been taught is impolite, it is hard to get a sense of how other people with older students have managed. But if some of us were willing to be impolite for a minute, it might help the people waiting for aid packages from colleges to see how it works. I remember being desperately curious about this when my oldest was waiting.

Ours...
We saved money from the time our children were little. It didn,t come anywhere near the total but it did help. Grandparents contributed a little, too.

Oldest said he didn,t want to go to college so we spent his college money on his plumbing apprenticeship. Then he changed his mind. He went to an expensive state college. His major was likely to be able to allow him to pay off loans, so we let him take out huge ones. We paid his room and board out of our monthly paycheck and left him to deal with the rest. After freshman year, he received a number of scholarships and low interest loans, which helped. He graduated with massive loans (which we cosigned) and has a job that is letting him pay them off. We are still housing him, which allows him to pay them off faster. He should be done in 5 or 7 years. He,s about half way there already. Plan is working.

Middle son went to the same school and has a similar earning potential so we let him take out large loans as well. Savings paid for some of his room and board and the rest of the room and board came out of our monthly paycheck. He,s living with us as he pays the loans off. We switched some of them to a home equity loan because the interest was lower. We tried to pay the monthly interest while he was in school so the loans didn,t get bigger.

Youngest is at a shockingly expensive private school. He has a merit scholarship for a third of the price. (He worked really hard and is a better student than the other two. This brings the price down to something more like the older two,s state school.) We are paying one third out of our monthly paycheck. The remaining third is split between his own government loans and the remains of our college savings. He is an engineering student so we are gambling that his loans won,t be too burdensome after graduation. We try to pay his interest while he is in school. He can live with us after school and pay them off faster, if he chooses.

Needless to say, we are not saving any money at the moment. My husband added a few clients and works some evenings and weekends, to help manage our part. We aren,t galavanting around Europe. We try to eat frugally. We drive junk cars. Etc. we can get away with paying for some of our children,s college out of pocket because we have no mortgage. When we bought our house, we decided that our college savings plan was going to be pay off the mortgage. This turned out to be a good decision. Saving for college would have appeared more optional and so would have been harder to do. My husband, an engineer, switched from working for a company to consulting. This makes it possible for him to decide to work harder to make more money. And we got lucky. No major health issues. Elders have pensions. A windfall allowed us to expand our housing to better fit our more adult family. Our children all knew what they wanted to do and had the potential to make a good living, one which will (hopefully) allow them to pay off their loans.

The schools arranged the loans and scholarships, and helped us arrange to split the rest of the cost into monthly payments.

HTH

Nan
  • Colleen in NS, elegantlion, Sahamamama and 13 others like this

#2 Laura Corin

Laura Corin

    She who plants flowers for bees

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 24183 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 10:02 AM

We chose to come and live in the UK (we are all citizens) more than three years before Calvin would be going to university.  This meant that his tuition would not exceed £9,000 per year.

 

In addition, we put a lump sum into a 529 (Husband and both boys are US citizens) when times were good, which means that loans can be kept low.

 

The Scottish government provides interest-free loans to students, which only need to be repaid when the student's salary reaches a threshold, and which are forgiven after 35 years.


  • Vida Winter, hillfarm, Momto2Ns and 7 others like this

#3 Momto2Ns

Momto2Ns

    Empress Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 7832 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 10:03 AM

I'll take a shot. We too started saving when the kids were little, so there is a college fund for each of them. 

 

Ds chose a small private college with a price tag beyond what the college savings will cover (tuition 25,000). He got an excellent academic scholarship and the college fund with pay most of the rest with some of his/our money cast in the last year.

 

Dd chose a very inexpensive State U (tuition under $7,000) and received a smaller scholarship. Her college fund should hold for four years.

 

The only problem with this discussion being on the college board is that the only way we could have afforded college was by starting to prepare 18 years ago. We did not start college funds because we had a lot of money and needed a tax shelter for it  :lol: . We started college funds because we didn't have much money and knew that we wanted our kids to go to college. Dh had student loan debt even after going to an inexpensive State U with academic scholarships and Pell grants. He got no help from his parents (they just didn't have it to give). We didn't want our kids to be in that situation, so after paying off his loans, we started saving for them.


Edited by Momto2Ns, 06 February 2016 - 10:07 AM.

  • Vida Winter, hillfarm, kand and 4 others like this

#4 bugs

bugs

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1012 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 10:13 AM

Thank you for starting this topic!  We are just beginning to travel down this road and are a bit unsure how it's going to work out. I figure God will help us (and this board!) get the smarts to do this.  We agreed to help pay for 50% of in-state tuition (including room & board), no matter where the kids went.  Dd is at a private school in-state and ds will most likely be going into a state school for engineering. 

 

My plan was to start earning a paycheck again.  I guess I am a bit nervous about going back to work.  I have a Masters in Teaching, but have little desire to teach at public schools.  I used to be an engineer at a large aerospace company, but after almost 18 years at home, do I know anything now? I did score last year tests for a national company, but the little I earned practically put us in the next tax bracket.  Anyway, I am finding it daunting. Guess, what I need is a bit of confidence as well.

 


  • hillfarm, swimmermom3, Grantmom and 2 others like this

#5 Luckymama

Luckymama

    Empress Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 8846 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 10:14 AM

We were able to start saving a small amount when our oldest was 11. When he was 12, dh was recruited by a different firm (he's a Certified Financial Planner but worked in a totally different low-paying job until ds was 7). The recruitment package included a substantial signing bonus which we immediately put into 529 plans.

We can afford the cost of attendance at our state flagship from that savings and from current earnings. We told the kids that was the max we would pay, and if they wished to attend another school they would have to make up the difference in merit scholarships and the basic allowed student loans. Of course, dh being a CFP, he showed each kid exactly what the loan repayments would be compared to prospective salaries ;)

The older kids choose to attend the state flagship. They both received merit scholarships, savings us a considerable amount of money :D (Ds's second choice was $2K more than the state flagship after merit scholarships. Dd1's first choice came in slightly less than the state flagship after merit scholarships. After visits she decided that school wasn't the best fit for her after all.)

Dd2 is chasing merit aid. Our state flagship will not be a good fit for her as she'll max out their Arabic offerings before graduating from high school! We told dd that, should she receive substantial merit aid, we will contribute the equivalent of our state COA toward extended study-abroad opportunities or grad school.

Note: I received a generous inheritance after my parents died way too soon. For that reason, dh and I do not have to rely solely on his income for retirement savings. Our ability to pay for college would be much different if we needed to contribute more money to retirement.
  • hillfarm, swimmermom3, quark and 2 others like this

#6 The Girls' Mom

The Girls' Mom

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 4826 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 10:16 AM

Honestly?  *I* am not paying for college for my kids.  They are.  I have my own college to pay for right now.  

 

I know that sounds selfish, but that's just how it is.  We don't have savings for them.  We are not in a position to be able to take out loans for them.  I'm trying to get a degree so I can work, so we can eat and have health care in our old age.  I'm trying to gift them with not having to pay for our care when we are old.  

 

1.  We have taught them that a 4-year college isn't mandatory, especially if you haven't figured out what you are doing.

2.  We have been very realistic about how hard it is to get out from underneath a pile of debt when you are just starting out in a career.

3.  We have encouraged community college first.  

 

Our state pays for two years of community college.  That is the college safety net for our kids.  Our oldest is currently taking advantage of that for two reasons:  One, she wasn't even sure she wanted to go to college.  Two, she was very unsure about a major.  (She has both sorted out now, while she's getting her paid for Associates degree.)

 

I have one daughter that really, really wants to go to a particular state university for their forensic science program.  She knows that she will have to get a scholarship to attend.  If she doesn't, then she will get her associates at the CC and go from there.  

 

My youngest twin is still kind of unsure, but thinks she wants to go into teaching.  She's trying for scholarships, but will be attending CC if that falls through.  

 

I am currently attending community college on a combination of grants, scholarships, work-study, and a small amount of loans.  What I do after my associates will depend on funding.

ETA:  I'm really, really hoping to snag a job at my CC where I'm currently doing my work-study (the potential is there).  That will reduce the tuition to any of our state schools by half for my kids.


Edited by The Girls' Mom, 06 February 2016 - 10:25 AM.

  • samba, Angie in VA, Jen in NY and 19 others like this

#7 Heigh Ho

Heigh Ho

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 12368 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 10:23 AM

..

Edited by Heigh Ho, 22 March 2016 - 08:16 PM.

  • hillfarm, Momto2Ns, swimmermom3 and 1 other like this

#8 mamato4

mamato4

    Hive Mind Level 5 Worker: Forager Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 582 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 10:25 AM

Same as Nan in Mass, we saved when the children were little but also decided to pay off the mortgage first. That freed up a bit more money to save afterwards. We told dc to study to get as best a grade as they can to get more scholarship since we knew we would not get any federal grants or loans. We only have one in college this year but will have two in college next school year. We will eventually have one year where we will have three college students at one time. By then, our savings will be more depleted and maybe then we'll qualify for federal grants/loans. I told the three older ones they have to pay for #4's college  :laugh:

 

We also lived fairly frugally since dh was in consulting for a time and there was always the question of getting another gig. 

 

 

 


  • hillfarm, Momto2Ns, swimmermom3 and 2 others like this

#9 Pawz4me

Pawz4me

    Hive Mind Level 6 Worker: Scout Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10119 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 10:25 AM

We started saving for college as soon as I got a positive pregnancy test result.  We didn't earmark it specifically for college, but we increased the monthly amount we'd already been saving and investing.

 

We were also fortunate/unfortunate enough that both of my parents have passed away.  Gosh, that sounds clunky but I can't think how to word it better.  Anyway, my brother and I were the sole recipients of their estate.

 

Unfortunately, due to our own investments and what we inherited our EFC is astronomically high.  We knew there would be no need based aid.

 

It helps that we have an extremely good state university system.  Oldest was accepted to some high ranking private and out-of-state public schools, but in the end the combined value and prestige of a state flagship "public ivy" was just too good to turn down.


  • Jen in NY, Momto2Ns, swimmermom3 and 3 others like this

#10 plansrme

plansrme

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5862 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 11:14 AM

1. We paid off our house a year before oldest was ready for college. The plan is to then save up for a year and use that to fund the next year's expenses.
2. We live in a state with lottery-funded tuition that will pay all of my oldest's tuition when she starts as a real (not DE, finally) student this summer. We planned to fund about $20-25K/year for her, so she knew her options were the instate school or another school where she would get merit or athletic aid. She is actually, it looks like, going to come in well under that because she has found a really awesome, cheap housing option. We managed her college expectations from an early age, knowing she would likely have Ivy stats but that we would be full-pay at those schools. She has always known we were not paying $60k/year for her--she is the oldest of 3, after all. If she were an only child, maybe we would have made a different decision, but she has never seemed to mind.
3. Spacing kids out so we only have one year of overlap in which we have two in college at the same time. This was not planned, but it is nice.
4. Every time one of them gets a driver's license, I increase my work hours. I homeschool only the youngest now but spend afternoons driving them around. I always maintain that "making more" is an underutilized method of alleviating financial pressure.

ETA: Delaying child-bearing has also been helpful. We didn't do it on purpose; we just didn't get married until I was in my late 20s. It has meant, though, that we are in our peak earning years while we have kids in college and also that I was able to work full-time in my field long enough to acquire significant skills and experience before I cut my schedule drastically to homeschool.

Edited by plansrme, 06 February 2016 - 11:20 AM.

  • hillfarm, Luckymama, quark and 1 other like this

#11 Kinsa

Kinsa

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10140 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 11:18 AM

Well, I'll answer the question, but I don't think it will be helpful to many people because our situation is so unique.

 

DH has (had - it's gone now, as of last week) the Post 9-11 GI Bill.  This funds fours years of tuition.  We were able to pass it off between ds#1 and ds#2 (twins), and each of them had their first two years of college funded by the GI Bill once it was split between them.  Their third years will likely be funded by using the proceeds from the sale of our house this summer.  (The house is completely paid off, and we will be moving into cheap government housing due to dh's new job.) We were able to save enough money (since they were toddlers) to cover their fourth years.

 

In Texas we are able to receive benefits from something called the Hazlewood Act.  Since we are Texas residents and both veterans, we can get tuition waived for two of our kids if they attend Texas public universities (up to 150 credit hours each).  So ds#3 and ds#4 will be going to state schools, tuition free.  Again, we saved money since their infancies, and this should be enough to cover their room & board and other expenses.

 

Ds#5 will not be attending college because of his intellectual disability.

 

By the time ds#6 starts college, the older four ought to be done.  We should be able to pay outright for his education by using the money we saved for him and rolling over the money we saved for ds#5 who will not be attending college.  Plus, we will probably have some unclaimed Hazlewood Act hours that we can pass off to him.

 

If all goes according to plan, we ought to be able to get all the kids into adulthood relatively pain free (and hopefully debt free).  We'll see.

 

Edited to add:  Every Christmas and birthday, each child has received a savings bond from grandparents.  Over the years, those have added up.  In order to defer paying taxes on them, we will be using them for college related expenses.  It's not enough to cover tuition, but it does help with books and fees.


Edited by Kinsa, 06 February 2016 - 12:23 PM.

  • Vida Winter, hillfarm, Momto2Ns and 3 others like this

#12 Melissa B

Melissa B

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3284 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 11:26 AM

Knowing we wouldn't be able to afford to send our four kids to college, we started homeschooling with the intent to send all of our kids to college between ninth and eleventh grade; college credits being free to high school students in Florida. Then we intentionally moved to a city that offered both a community college and a university right before our eldest started ninth grade. Giving them as much free college as possible and encouraging them to stay in the state university system which is very affordable is the best we can do. They will all need to pay for their own education after high school. We have agreed to cover books and school supplies - the best we can do.

 

Dd 18 is graduating this May with 114 credits and plans to go to a state university.

Dd 16 is planning to graduate high school with her AA, but then transfer out of state.

Dd 12 is planning to go Ivy League so none of her college credits would transfer.

Ds 10 is planning to get his AA while in high school and then go to a state university.

 

So, our plans have had mixed results. :D


  • Angie in VA, hillfarm, Momto2Ns and 3 others like this

#13 Crimson Wife

Crimson Wife

    Qualified Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19737 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 11:47 AM

We have some money saved for our oldest 2 in a Coverdell ESA. The youngest we are planning to open an ABLE account (for those with documented disabilities that offers more flexibility on what it can be used for) as soon as it becomes available in our state.

 

I'm going back to school myself with some money that my late grandma put into a 529 plan for me years ago. She knew that I was planning to attend grad school at some point and wanted to help. My parents were so thrilled that I finally did start taking classes that they added the amount I'd spent on my first 3 semesters' tuition to my account. That account will cover all of my 2nd bachelor's and probably the textbooks I'll need for grad school. Grad school itself I'm targeting schools that offer scholarships in order to minimize loans. Any loans I do have to take out, however, will be forgiven after 10 years so long as I work for a non-profit school or hospital under the Public Service Forgiveness program.

 

One thing we are considering after I get my SLP certification is moving to a low cost-of-living area where we can afford to live on a smaller income. On paper, DH makes a good salary but taxes and housing costs eat up a ton. We move someplace cheap and he could take a big pay cut, thus reducing our taxes & EFC. Stanford, for example, is free under $125k and that would buy a fairly good lifestyle in much of the U.S.


  • Laura in CA, hillfarm, swimmermom3 and 1 other like this

#14 Jenny in Florida

Jenny in Florida

    Apprentice Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10496 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 12:07 PM

Our daughter surprised us by going to college much earlier than we had anticipated. Because of her special situation, there was really only one school that was an option for her at that point, a private college several states away from hom. She qualified for scholarships that covered a little more than half of the tuition, but the rest was up to us. We paid what we could out of pocket, but it was a drop in a very big bucket. There are, consequently, loans. Tons and tons of loans. Some are in her name and some in ours, but we are (trying) to pay all of them.

 

Our son is also attending a private university, but at least this one is in-state. He has scholarships that cover about 60% of his total cost of attendance, and he has taken out loans in his name (which we have told him we will pay off). Because he is our youngest, I went back to work when he started school. What I make working part-time more or less covers what we owe out of pocket.


  • hillfarm, swimmermom3 and quark like this

#15 8FillTheHeart

8FillTheHeart

    Alice or Mad Hatter or maybe a little of both

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 14419 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 12:20 PM

I'll answer bc our answer is completely different, but I doubt it is unique. Dh and I were high school sweethearts, got married in college, and I had our oldest within months of graduating from college. We had some money set aside for college, but all of it was spent trying to find (unsuccessfully, unfortunately) a good path to adulthood for our Aspie. So we have entered the college yrs with our kids with no college savings.

We refuse to take out any loans. Our kids have managed to not take out any, either.

Our oldest ds went to a small instate public university. He had partial scholarship, and we managed to pay his room and board form dh's salary. He is now a chemE.

Our oldest dd did not pursue a 4 yr degree. She is an occupational therapy assistant. Goodness, for the low cost of a CC, she makes a great income, more than a lot of 4 yr degrees.

Our current college student is attending on full merit scholarship.

Our 11th grader is hoping to be a NMSF. She is looking at full ride or full tuition merit schools.

We work through it as we get there. We have no "college plan." We have managed to make it work so far. Our gifted students have managed to earn scholarship $$. Our oldest dd was a more avg student and found an affordable path to a solid career. One thing our kids know is that when doors close, they need to look for the window. :)

Edited by 8FillTheHeart, 06 February 2016 - 12:25 PM.

  • Sue in St Pete, Angie in VA, Jenny in Florida and 18 others like this

#16 AngieW in Texas

AngieW in Texas

    Apprentice Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 6620 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 12:26 PM

It wasn't too bad for the first two, but it's much more difficult for our third.

 

We weren't able to put aside much along the way. While we did set up savings for each of the kids, none of them have had (or will have) more than $3000 in the account at the time of starting college.

 

But we did pour a lot into setting up a solid academic foundation and doing dual credit. Where we live, the first 12 cc classes are free of charge.

 

Our oldest took just over 40 credit hours (some of which we had to pay for because they were beyond the first 12 classes) as dual credit. She had an average score on the SAT the first time she took it, but after taking an SAT prep class, booster her score up high enough to get a full tuition scholarship to her top-choice school (in-state public). We only had to pay for room and board and books. We could manage that, just barely, out of current salary because I started teaching small science and math classes in my home along with tutoring. She lost her scholarship after 5 semesters and chose not to return to school. She is just 9 classes from graduation, but is currently enjoying working in retail. I would love for her to go back to school at some point and finish up her degree, but it isn't urgent.

 

Our middle took 35 credit hours as dual credit. She did a fantastic job on the SAT and also got a full tuition scholarship to her top choice school (in-state public). She is in her 6th semester at college. She did such a great job choosing which courses to take as dual credit and taking exactly what she needed all along, that in just 6 semesters she will complete everything needed for a double major BS. She is going to be graduating in May. She will have to find a way to pay for grad school herself. She wants to be a speech therapist and that requires an MS degree.

 

Our youngest hasn't taken as much dual credit as her older sisters did. She has learning issues and medical issues that have contributed to making school a lot harder for her than for her sisters. While her sisters took at least 2 classes every long semester and 1 class every summer as dual credit, she has taken just one class at a time until this semester (her final semester in high school). Because of her medical condition, she really needs to leave the state. One of the side issues she has is that she can't sweat, so she is highly prone to passing out in the heat. Texas is absolutely the wrong climate for her. It's okay right now when she just drives to where she needs to go and then has to walk from the car to the building, but that won't work if she has to walk all over campus. She simply won't be physically able to do it that in Texas. She did apply to one state school as a backup financial safety, but her other three schools are all in NY. She managed to get nice scholarships to all three of the NY schools, but the only one that within reach is Adelphi. With her scholarship there, it will cost just $2000/year more than the state school. The other schools have tuition so high that they are more than $10000/yr more than the state school. She will be going to college with just 22 credits and I'm not sure that all of them will transfer over. She couldn't take classes as challenging as her sisters because of her learning issues. She's the one that we worry about paying for. We've had a lot of medical bills with several hospitalizations and surgeries spread across the entire family in the past several years along with continuing therapies for our youngest. She's had physical therapy (to restore motion in her dominant arm and reduce the continuous joint dislocations), occupational therapy, vision therapy, speech therapy (for vocal fold dysfunction), massage therapy (to keep her range of motion and reduce the chronic pain), physical trainer (to help keep her range of motion and hopefully prevent the joint dislocations now that she has completed her latest round of PT), ... Without all the therapies, we'd be in much better shape financially than we are. We are glad to finally have a diagnosis (although it took 5 years to get it), but there's no cure and no treatment other than symptomatic treatment.

 

 

 

 


  • hillfarm, quark and VANURSEPRAC like this

#17 J-rap

J-rap

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 12077 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 12:40 PM

We were dumb and had no plan at all, but so far it has worked out okay.

 

We paid for our oldest's first year of tuition when it was really tight for us.  We actually charged it to a credit card that gave us a special rate and paid it off in a year, at the expense of a lot of other things.  The agreement (with our son) was that we'd pay for tuition, and our ds would pay for room and board.  Living in NYC wasn't cheap.  I helped him find a random German-speaking men's boarding house! haha that was far cheaper than any dorms and provided one meal/day.  He worked 30 hours/week too, to support himself.  I'd say the year was very stressful for him.  

 

After that, he took a year off, got married, and then got a job.  It was a government job and they eventually had to lay him off, so our state then gave him money to go back to school.  He did that for a year, til he earned his AA degree.  Then he decided to transfer to an inexpensive state university to get a BA degree, where his total cost was $3,000/year.  (He also had a job while being in school full time.)

 

About this time, we sold our business following a disability, and this has allowed us to help our other kids out, to a point.  Although I wouldn't recommend getting a disability in order to accomplish this!

 

Our next oldest went to a great, private university in Central America which cost us $5,000/year.  We paid for that, but she still took off every 3 semesters or so to come back to the U.S. and work for a semester.  She paid for her own housing/food, etc., while in college and even met her future husband down there, and eventually got married (while still going to school).

 

Next dd is the first one to go the typical path of a 4-year U.S. university.  She got some very good scholarships, which paid for about 70%.  We took on the rest.  She lived on campus for just one semester, and after that, moved in with relatives who lived right near the campus and charged just $100/month for room and board, which she paid for herself.  She tried to work about 20 hours/week during her junior and senior years.

 

DD #3 has chosen not to go to college, at least for now.

 

DD #4 (and our youngest) is in her second year of college.  She is our first child to be a full-time resident of the campus too.  2015 was kind of our last year to be able to handle things within our means.  Honestly, I'm not quite sure what we'll do for her last two years.  She has good scholarships and will work hard in the summer.  I suppose we may end up taking out a loan for part of it, but at least it will be our first loan out of four kids who have gone to college.  

 

One thing that has really helped us is that our home is paid off, so we have no mortgage or rent to pay.  We have whittled down to one car now too, and although it's new, it's cheaper than what we were paying for our two old cars because maintaining them was costing us so much money.  

 


Edited by J-rap, 06 February 2016 - 12:53 PM.

  • Jenny in Florida, hillfarm, Momto2Ns and 3 others like this

#18 Hilltopmom

Hilltopmom

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2477 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 01:17 PM

This is completely stressing me out.
I thank everyone for sharing their tales.

At this point, it looks like ds will start DE next year in grade 11, we have to pay full tuition for it here at CC, but can manage that out of ds's paycheck. He has a 529 his grandmother funds, but I honestly have no idea what's in it & don't think it's much.
We live on one salary in a small home in a low col area, but that made it possible for me to stay home, not to save for the kids college.
In retrospect, if I had gone to a cheaper college or grad school, we could've saved before having kids instead of working to pay off my loans. Sigh.
Also, I worked full time & then some during my last 2 years of college & grad school & it was rough. I don't want my kids to have to do that.


He will likely need to at least start at the local State U & live at home (or grandparents in town near the school because we have a small house full of littles that may not mix well with studying in college), even then, he will likely need loans for tuition. We'll still have to see about merit aid anywhere. Our local U & CC have free tuition for straight A students, but only public school students, not homeschoolers.
I'm just starting to accept the local state U as an option, but it is what it is. If he goes elsewhere, he'll have massive loans & at 18 I just don't think kids get how oppressive that will be- I know I didn't & wish my parents had steered me in a different direction.

My middle kids won't attend college due to disabilities, but by the time the babies are college age, the house will be paid off, & I can go back to work (although I'll need a new career) which will be a big help.

Edited by Hilltopmom, 06 February 2016 - 01:21 PM.

  • hillfarm, swimmermom3 and goldberry like this

#19 Ms Brooks

Ms Brooks

    Hive Mind Level 4 Worker: Builder Bee

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 214 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 01:24 PM

Student loan debt here we come!


  • hillfarm, Caitilin and SparklyUnicorn like this

#20 FaithManor

FaithManor

    Empress of the Flaming Bees, Order of the Spork

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 16231 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 01:27 PM

We started saving early, but lost a ton in the economic downturn. So that did not help a whole lot. So merit aid, campus jobs, small amounts of student loans - well, not dd...she got her EMT and then paramedic license while in school (seriously wonder sometimes how she managed that) and worked per diem weekends and summers so she had zero debt - putting pay raises into savings so we can spread it amongst our college kids, judiciously choosing colleges carefully - private schools aren't happening unless the merit aid package is extremely generous - and taking advantage of tuition perks like 18 credit hours per semester for the same price as 12. Ds is taking the maximum and we will pa cash for spring term for two classes because there is a discount. He will likely shave at least a semester if not a year off of his B.A. due to getting the extra credits. This will save several thousand.


One of the engineering schools youngest is very interested in is somewhat near an office of dh's employer. Since ds is shy and has serious resevations about dorm life, we may move to that area and let him commute which will save four years of dorm costs unless he gets sufficient merit aid to cover it.

We do not take out parent loans. We take from a retirement account - not ideal but better than paying high interest rates - and make large payments back to that account. Next year youngest and last homeschooling child will be part time DE so I am going to pick up a part time job or a lot more paid tutoring and put that to college expenses.
  • hillfarm and quark like this

#21 FaithManor

FaithManor

    Empress of the Flaming Bees, Order of the Spork

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 16231 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 01:31 PM

It does help that we have no mortgage. Dh also gets a generous annual bonus each February which we put away for fall. If we still had the housepayment and his income had not been steadily rising these last f ive years, this would be a heck of a lot tougher!!!
  • hillfarm likes this

#22 Gwen in VA

Gwen in VA

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3205 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 01:44 PM

We married young -- at 22. We were high school sweethearts, so we were not waiting any longer! Then grad school, and then kids. Our oldest was born a week after I submitted my master's thesis!

 

Living in a high cost of living area, we were lucky to be able to make it on one income. There was no way we could save a dime towards college.

 

When our oldest was about 14 a financial planner told us we needed to save $600 per CHILD per MONTH towards college. We laughed!

 

Instead of saving towards college, we spent our money on the kids -- not on toys and Disney trips but on experiences and lessons. We also paid for high-quality classes. At first we thought we couldn't afford classes but then someone on this board (Juanita -- anyone remember her?) said that strong classes helped her kids get merit scholarships. We figured that at a minimum if we gave our kids an excellent education they would have an excellent education, regardless of what happened for college, so we poured money into top online classes. That was an investment we have never regretted.

 

My four kids combined received offers of merit aid totaling more than our local high school's merit aid total (with several hundred students!) and significantly more than the total merit aid earned by our local private school that has a graduating class of about 40!

 

Dd1 went to a top-20 LAC with a frightening sticker price, but she had a full-tuition scholarship plus money from the National Merit folks plus some money from my husband's company.

 

Ds1 went to the same top-20 LAC, but received a full-ride scholarship that covered not only tuition but room and board and books and a bit of extra cash on top. Ds actually earned money by attending college!

 

Ds2 went to a free-tuition school, so we just paid his room and board.

 

Dd2 goes to a OOS state school. She earns enough to cover room and board so we just have to pay the OOS tuition. Not bad.

 

 


Edited by Gwen in VA, 06 February 2016 - 08:34 PM.

  • Angie in VA, secretgarden, hillfarm and 5 others like this

#23 Lori D.

Lori D.

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11921 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 03:47 PM

We are a 1-income family, with husband having worked a blue-collar job for almost 30 years, with an income at the high end of the lower-middle-class. Neither of us had debt going into the marriage, and have stayed debt-free other  than a mortgage, and do not have expensive health issues or other dependents. We have had 3 college students -- DH and 2 DSs.

 

 

DH

Is now retired and is working on a long distance Master's degree.

 

For DH college costs:

- 100% out of pocket from retirement savings; paid in "chunks" per semester.

 

DS#1

Going to the community college first and then transferring to a university saved us at least $30-35,000 in college costs. DS was able to live at home, and earn an Associates, plus general ed. credits that transferred, knocking off 2 years of the 4-year university tuition (which is more than 3x the cost of the CC). And that $30-35K savings figure would have been another $18K higher to cover room & board costs if DS had gone 4 years to an out of town school.

 

So DS#1's college career: 3 years at the CC, earned an AAS, and 2 years of transfer credits; then transferred to an out-of-town (but in-state) university for 2 years to complete a BA this spring.

 

For DS#1's college costs:

- just under 1/2 of costs = merit-based scholarships and leadership scholarship

- just under 1/3 of costs = using up his college savings fund (started before he was born)

- remaining 1/6 of costs = loans (from us, rather than Fed. or private bank)

 

DS#2

Went 2 years to the CC and worked towards an Associate's degree, but realized he did not want to go into that field after all. Left college and is working/saving, trying to decide what he wants to do, and if college needs to be part of that or not.

 

For DS#2's college costs:

- 100% of costs = coming from his college savings fund (started before he was born); he will have about 1/2 of his college fund left if he decides to return to school

- If DS returned to college: he's not as likely to land scholarships, BUT, he would be older, and if he were to go back to school after age 24, then our financial information would not be on his FAFSA, and he would be eligible for more federal aid. And, we would offer to have him live at home (if he was attending school here), to save living expenses… Depending on how much his schooling would cost, we could help some; but he would likely be looking at some loans...


Edited by Lori D., 07 February 2016 - 01:14 PM.

  • Angie in VA, hillfarm, swimmermom3 and 2 others like this

#24 quark

quark

    Celebrating Curiosity!

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5096 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 04:17 PM

Thank you Nan for starting this thread and everyone for sharing so generously.

 

(edited to remove TMI -- plus, no btdt experience yet)

 

Very helpful to read how you guys are addressing college funding. Thanks again.


Edited by quark, 06 February 2016 - 06:43 PM.


#25 Diana P.

Diana P.

    Empress Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11114 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 04:19 PM

When my oldest was born my state didn't have a 529 plan. It did have a prepaid college tuition plan. We got a 4 year college plan (they have plans for less year and for cc), when he was an infant. We thought: we live in a state that has a variety of large and small universities with some nationally recognized programs--there's definitely good choices. We also thought we'd have more dc and at least one would go in state and we'd figure out how to handle the others. The tuition plan covers tuition alone. 

 

We did have two more dc, one of whom is disabled and won't go to college, but will require a lot of financial planning. We also went through some changes that completed altered our financial future. So, before anyone went to college, but when second dc was in sixth grade, dh and I decided to see what we could do about funding another prepaid plan. At that point we could only afford the monthly payments on a 2 year plan and we went ahead with that. So, we have 6 years of tuition for 2 kids in state prepaid. 

 

Then, ds graduated early -- before his plan matured. He decided to attend a military junior college. The cost of which was about 25% less than tuition room and board in our state. He had savings he'd inherited from his great grandmother (one of the advantages of being the oldest was he was great grandma opened an account to give him as soon as he was born). He spent that money. He was there a year and didn't like it. He came home and attended cc for two years. We paid for that out of pocket. He is now at a state school using his tuition plan. He says he will finish in time for there to be two years left on his plan which we can transfer to child number 2. So, child number 2 will have her own two prepaid plan plus the final two years of child 1's plan. 

 

We still have to cover room and board. MIL announced she wanted to contribute a certain amount for 4 years. Ds is using that for some of his room and board and will do so next year. He will use two more years from MIL for grad school probably. MIL will also help dd with a portion of her room and board. So, neither will graduate with student loans. dd's school is in state, but more expensive than ds's. I'm glad we did the prepaid tuition. There's no way we could cover this now. 

 

dd is already banking all of her income. She plans to go to PT school. Graduating without loans is important. She will have to take out loans to go to PT school. 

 

I am working three jobs now. 40+ hours in 2-6 hour increments arranged around when youngest needs care. It's a schedule that is 7 days a week. I'm hoping to land one job with benefits soon and put us in a better position deal with school expenses we had not expected, step up retirement saving, put money into tutoring/therapy for youngest. 

 

It's juggle. 20 + years ago I had friends saying "I paid for college, my child can pay for his own." But I saw tuition was increasing way back then.


  • swimmermom3 and quark like this

#26 elegantlion

elegantlion

    Wandering and Wondering

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 28147 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 05:35 PM

I'll leave the nasty part of my story out, but I found myself a single parent when ds was in high school with no college savings.  College was the goal for ds. I went back to school and received aid and a lot of loans. Next year wasn't as bad as I received scholarships too. Dual enrollment is not free in our state. Ds graduated essentially a year early (we had considered it early in his education,so classes were structured with that possibility and 8th grade became his 9th) received some merit aid and need based aid. Because he lives at home, because we attend a 4 year state university with the 3rd lowest tuition in the state, he was able to turn down a loan this year. 

 

The downside is he will need to transfer to finish his degree of choice. At that point, he will need loans as he'll have to move to a different city. 

 

Financially, part of my loans cover his living expenses. We live very frugally and last semester my parents chipped in to help pay for some of his books. His father is not in a position to help with anything because of severe health issues. 

 

I take out more loans than I want and take less hours each semester to make sure we can stay fed and housed, that is my contribution to his education. Last semester he added some of his money to help. This semester, I'm working on campus (very part-time) and he is using what he would have given me to apply toward a school led study abroad trip this summer. It's to the country in which he would like to live and that is exactly one of the opportunities I wanted him to have in college. He may need to get a summer loan for it, however.

 

I do not recommend to anyone that their lives implode right before their child starts college. The perk is we qualify for need-based aid. The original goal had been for him to dual enroll for two years and then transfer. I would have worked to pay for some expenses. 

 

 


  • Vida Winter, hillfarm, Momto2Ns and 3 others like this

#27 creekland

creekland

    Retired homeschooler!

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 24961 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 05:51 PM

We had saved a bit, but lost a ton in the economic downturn, so college for our three boys has been a combo of merit & need based aid offered by terrific schools, their getting "basic" student loans from the gov't, and us kicking in our EFC portion out of our income.  We are not saving for anything really (retirement, etc) while the boys are in college and we keep most other spending to a minimum (some travel though - can't give that up - just look for cheaper options).

 

The boys work over the summer and at college.

 

Fortunately, our economy is doing well at the moment, so it's working for us.  Hubby works for himself, so there's no set income.  What we have varies as his jobs go.  Our EFC varies too.  Merit aid has been very nice as that doesn't vary.

 

We searched carefully for schools that would fit what we could afford and still provide what my guys wanted.  It was well worth my time.

 

When the last college payments are complete, we're going to have one huge raise in income if the economy keeps trucking on.  That is, unless we're paying for med school.  I'll admit to hoping middle son gets accepted into the MSTP program.  Of course, that raise will go toward retirement savings again - most of it anyway.  Some of it will likely go to some house/farm projects that need to be done (like a new roof).  Youngest is currently a sophomore - aka - two more years.


  • shanvan, swimmermom3, FaithManor and 1 other like this

#28 Sassenach

Sassenach

    Disappointing Bill like it's my job

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 6767 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 05:58 PM

Dd is at a very pricey LAC.
1) she is taking out the full federal loans
2) she received very generous scholarships
3) we pay a sizable, but doable monthly tuition payment
4) she lives with my mom, who doesn't ask for any financial contributions.
5) she works part time to pay for her clothes, gas, and books.
  • quark likes this

#29 Sassenach

Sassenach

    Disappointing Bill like it's my job

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 6767 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 06:16 PM

I should add that we feel that dd has a personality type that would not thrive everywhere. If her constitution were different, we would have leaned toward California's good and much less expensive state schools.

Edited by Sassenach, 06 February 2016 - 08:07 PM.

  • Momto2Ns likes this

#30 Laurel-in-CA

Laurel-in-CA

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2406 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 06:37 PM

We married late and I had kids in my 30s and 40s. We did some savings for college for kids....inn decreasing amounts for each kid as dh struggled with layoffs and I worked myself out of the workplace and into homeschooling. There wasn't that much.

 

dd#1 went to a budget but good art school; she got a sizable Cal-Grant and a scholarship based on portfolio. The plan was she would live @ home, work & commute....and then we moved the year she started college. By the grace of God (unasked and unexpected), friends offered to house her for free during college....she'd still have to commute and work, covering her travel costs, books, and food. That left us with a much smaller portion to pay....she took out loans for half of that (only the subsidized loans), used some savings, and some money from my parents' legacy to us to pay her tuition. She graduated with about the cost of a new car to pay back and hopes to finish her payoff in 5 years....meanwhile she's sharing a rented room, working 2 jobs & driving a car that's older than she is, LOL. Her degree is in fine arts, so not necessarily a *lot* of earning potential, eh? 

 

ds, child #2, went to community college. Our new town actually has an endownment for the CC! It covered his tuition and he only had to pay books & fees, which easily come out of his p/t job. He went there for 3 years (started as a high school senior after taking CHSPE)  and transferred to a Cal-State school to finish his BA, which he will do next year. He will be debt-free thanks to a combo of his own work, our small savings, and some supplement from my parents. He's also nearly paid for his own car, or will have it paid off after this summer....and it's considerably younger than he is!! One year when he and his older sister were both in college he did qualify for a Pell Grant. He looked for a transfer scholarship but despite a good gpa none appeared.

 

dd#2 is now at community college, same deal on tuition plus she got a local scholarship that covers her books and fees. She struggles with school but is working really hard at it. We had the least savings for her, but she also has the least chance of going on to a 4-year school. If she does, the major she's interested in will require living elsewhere and we are hoping family will help her find a place; she'll probably have to borrow $ for that. Right now she's working 2 jobs, too and driving the family "teen car" until she saves enough for her own. 

 

dd#3 - We'll see. By the time she hits college dh will be making more money and could retire but won't until she finishes school. That means no scholarships for need. But we'll probably follow the CC-to-transfer course. That alone saves very big bucks.

 

BUT none of these kids will be in STEM fields. We had to minimize loans because their earning potential is not so high, plus we are debt averse and so are they. We live in a pretty high COLA area as well.



#31 rdj2027

rdj2027

    Hive Mind Worker Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 781 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 06:58 PM

Our oldest is studying in Germany.  We pay his expenses out off pocket (about $650 per month).  #2 will probably start out at a community college so he can live at home and then transfer to a 4-year university.  We will pay CC on a as-you-go basis and have some money saved up to cover at least one year full price tuition and room and board.  My husband has a little left over from his GI Bill.  If the two youngest decide to start out at CC we will be able to pay that out of pocket and then they can apply the money we saved up for them which would leave them to cover the last year by either loans or scholarships.  We also have some money that could help pay off student loans in later years but is not accessible right now.  I am not sure our daughter will be going to college, she has always wanted to be a firefighter.  Becoming a therapist is second on her list but she is only twelve.  The boys are all heading into directions with good employment prospects.



#32 Sassenach

Sassenach

    Disappointing Bill like it's my job

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 6767 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 07:25 PM

We married late and I had kids in my 30s and 40s. We did some savings for college for kids....inn decreasing amounts for each kid as dh struggled with layoffs and I worked myself out of the workplace and into homeschooling. There wasn't that much.

dd#1 went to a budget but good art school; she got a sizable Cal-Grant and a scholarship based on portfolio. The plan was she would live @ home, work & commute....and then we moved the year she started college. By the grace of God (unasked and unexpected), friends offered to house her for free during college....she'd still have to commute and work, covering her travel costs, books, and food. That left us with a much smaller portion to pay....she took out loans for half of that (only the subsidized loans), used some savings, and some money from my parents' legacy to us to pay her tuition. She graduated with about the cost of a new car to pay back and hopes to finish her payoff in 5 years....meanwhile she's sharing a rented room, working 2 jobs & driving a car that's older than she is, LOL. Her degree is in fine arts, so not necessarily a *lot* of earning potential, eh?

ds, child #2, went to community college. Our new town actually has an endownment for the CC! It covered his tuition and he only had to pay books & fees, which easily come out of his p/t job. He went there for 3 years (started as a high school senior after taking CHSPE) and transferred to a Cal-State school to finish his BA, which he will do next year. He will be debt-free thanks to a combo of his own work, our small savings, and some supplement from my parents. He's also nearly paid for his own car, or will have it paid off after this summer....and it's considerably younger than he is!! One year when he and his older sister were both in college he did qualify for a Pell Grant. He looked for a transfer scholarship but despite a good gpa none appeared.

dd#2 is now at community college, same deal on tuition plus she got a local scholarship that covers her books and fees. She struggles with school but is working really hard at it. We had the least savings for her, but she also has the least chance of going on to a 4-year school. If she does, the major she's interested in will require living elsewhere and we are hoping family will help her find a place; she'll probably have to borrow $ for that. Right now she's working 2 jobs, too and driving the family "teen car" until she saves enough for her own.

dd#3 - We'll see. By the time she hits college dh will be making more money and could retire but won't until she finishes school. That means no scholarships for need. But we'll probably follow the CC-to-transfer course. That alone saves very big bucks.

BUT none of these kids will be in STEM fields. We had to minimize loans because their earning potential is not so high, plus we are debt averse and so are they. We live in a pretty high COLA area as well.


Would you mind sharing the name of the CC with an endowment? I'm curious as to whether we live close to it! (Pm me if you'd rather!)

#33 Nan in Mass

Nan in Mass

    Apprentice Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 9898 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 07:31 PM

I should add that we feel that dd is a personality type that will not thrive everywhere. If her constitution was different, we would have leaned toward California's good and much less expensive state schools.


Same with ours. Ours are high strung messes. I doubt any of them would finish if we sent them to our big state uni. Their colleges were selected really carefully to be places where they had a shot at finishing. Very few colleges met youngest's requirements, hence the super expensive option. Great education for him, but it is a good thing he has a scholarship.
  • Jenny in Florida and Momto2Ns like this

#34 dhudson

dhudson

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1496 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 09:45 PM

DS received 90% of his tuition in merit scholarships. He was a finalist for a prestigious scholarship in our state and the local University awarded him well for that honor. He scored well and had really interesting passions and achievements. He was accepted into the Engineering Residential Academic Program which meant he had to live on campus for a year. Between grandparents gifts and money he had saved (he's a saver and invested his own money into the stock market) and what we had set aside we have managed to pay everything off without anyone taking loans. He is moving home next year ( school is 15 min away) as he has been offered an internship at MIT which won't make him a lot money so we needed to save the cost of the dorm.

We didn't save a ton for our kids, we had money in stocks and lost a lot of money. Oh well. We have some set aside for each of them, but not as much as I would like. We did tell our kids that whatever money we currently have budgeted for homeschool curriculum/supplies/ activities we would just roll over to help to pay for school.

We have talked a lot about being wise in picking an undergraduate school. It needs to be a good, solid school and program but does not need to be an elite school. We have really stressed that getting out of their undergraduate programs without debt will give them a lot more options and freedom than going into debt for an elite private school. We are really impressed with the Enginnering Honors Programs which seems to be challenging and provides a lot of support and social activity.

Edited by dhudson, 06 February 2016 - 10:00 PM.

  • J-rap likes this

#35 Sue in St Pete

Sue in St Pete

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5565 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 11:01 PM

FIL passed away 2 weeks before ds was born and left us some money.  We put $7,500 into mutual funds which eventually grew to $38,000 just before ds entered college.  Ds was awarded an academic scholarship and a basketball scholarship that basically covers tuition and fees.  The money we set aside has been paying for room and board so far and with luck will last 4 years.  We have been paying books, supplies, flights home out of pocket.  College has been much less expensive than we feared.

 

Had we not had some inheritance money to set aside, we would have saved in another way.  Had ds not gotten scholarships, we would be paying out of pocket or out of savings that now will go towards retirement.  Dh turns 65 in a few months, so retirement is coming sooner rather than later.


  • Grantmom and VANURSEPRAC like this

#36 mom31257

mom31257

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 9990 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 11:03 PM

Our dd just started in August at a Christian college out of state. We had saved none for college and weren't really sure how we'd pay for it. We prayed for direction and help, hoped for scholarships, considered paying off student loans in her name when I get done with homeschooling and go back to work, and even considered me going to work in a Christian school and ds going there. She has no car at this point because we can't afford school and a car. 

 

She has a earned a full tuition scholarship with a 3.7 GPA requirement, and she's eligible for it the entire time she is in school. It's about $15k a year scholarship, so we really want her to not have to work and be able to focus on studying and keeping the GPA. She made a 4.0 her first semester and in the classes she transferred in from dual enrollment. That leaves room, board, and books. 

 

We did acquire another source of income last year through some tragic circumstances, but it has been a huge help to us and is paying for her school. My brother-in-law committed suicide and left behind my sister and their special needs adult child. He has a compensated vaccine injury, and my sister got it approved through the courts last year to pay me when I keep him. He is 24 hour care, so she really needs breaks. There are very few people she trusts to take care of him, so it really helps her and has been a blessing to us. 

 

Dd's scholarship will drop to half-tuition if her GPA drops to 3.0-3.69, but she can actually regain it if she were to get it back over 3.7. If that were to happen, we might need student loans for some of it. She made a 4.0 last semester and transferred in a 4.0 from dual enrollment classes. 

 

Ds is only 12 and the last one, so the plan is for me to go to work after we're done. We'll try to keep living on dh's salary and use mine to pay for his school, any debt from dd's, etc. We'll never be rich, but God has always provided what we have needed.  

 


  • sbaloue and Tiramisu like this

#37 shage

shage

    Hive Mind Level 5 Worker: Forager Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 346 posts

Posted 06 February 2016 - 11:20 PM

Our oldest starts in the fall and will either be at a state school with moderate merit aid or a private school with substantial merit aid. Remaining expenses will be paid via a college savings account, his personal savings (he has worked very part time since age 12), outside scholarships, and a small monthly stipend from us. I have worked very part time most years, and that is where much of our savings and extras originate. Except for the college accounts. Those are not substantial but originates almost entirely with grandpa. It is a kindness much appreciated, given he was able to seed it during some very lean years for us.

#38 Frances

Frances

    Hive Mind Level 2 Worker: Nurse Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2313 posts

Posted 07 February 2016 - 02:03 AM

The majority of my sons's tuition, including the extra honor's college tuition, is paid by a full tuition (equivalent to the cost of 15 credits at the time of acceptance) scholarship and a small NM scholarship. We pay any residual tuition and for books and give him a monthly amount for room and board, while he pays for all personal expenses with earnings from his very part time job. Even though he doesn't work very much during the school year and only weekends during the summer, as he does research on weekdays, he is fortunate to have a commission based job at which he has been very successful. He could easily pay for all of his college expenses not covered by scholarships, and probably even those covered by scholarship, but we have the money and don't want him to feel any pressure to work extra or earn a certain amount of money. Also, I like that finishing college with no debt and pretty good savings gives him lots of options.

We really didn't save much in advance for college expenses. We've always lived way below our income level and have both worked full-time at the same time for only a small portion of our married life, so we knew we could always work more to increase our income if needed. My son was accepted to a couple of elite LACs that give no merit aid, where we were full pay with basic unsubsidized loans for him. Had he chosen to attend one of them, either my husband would have increased his work hours from the current 30 per week and/or we would have temporarily decreased our retirement savings.
  • Sue in St Pete likes this

#39 madteaparty

madteaparty

    Hive Mind Worker Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 4611 posts

Posted 07 February 2016 - 08:54 AM

.

Edited by madteaparty, 16 March 2017 - 09:34 AM.

  • beckyjo and MarkT like this

#40 Nan in Mass

Nan in Mass

    Apprentice Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 9898 posts

Posted 07 February 2016 - 09:24 AM

My husband wanted me to say, in case anyone with younger children is reading this thread, that the best advice we were given was to get the mortgage paid off before college and then use the money that was going towards the mortgage payments for college. We did it by making an extra mortgage payment every year and putting any windfalls (like layoff pay) into it, but getting a ten or fifteen year mortgage instead of the usual thirty would probably be better. If we'd put the money into one of the college savings plans instead, it would not have worked out as well. Besides, at the time we investigated them, they wanted us to put a laughable amount away each month. Maybe if we'd had our children later we could have swung it, but we were high school and by the time we had graduated from college, we felt like we had already waited a long time. The mortgage strategy worked out really well for us.

Nan
  • Sue in St Pete, Kathy in Richmond, Frances and 7 others like this

#41 Heigh Ho

Heigh Ho

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 12368 posts

Posted 07 February 2016 - 09:35 AM

..

Edited by Heigh Ho, 22 March 2016 - 08:18 PM.

  • VANURSEPRAC likes this

#42 goldberry

goldberry

    In a Handbasket

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10715 posts

Posted 07 February 2016 - 10:18 AM

When DD was five, we had $3000 in college savings, and $20,000+ in retirement savings.  Then the recession hit and DH was unemployed for 2 years.  Due to a weird technicality involving a move, he got no unemployment even though he had been working steadily for 13 years.  We used our retirement savings to survive for those two years.  Poof!  

 

We did manage to leave DD's $3000 which was in a 529.  It is now $6000.  There is an early college program DD will participate in that will cover 2 years of community college.  There is a local state university that offers the two programs she is interested.  The tuition is reasonable and she can live at home.  We will help with the $6000 and by letting her live at home and covering her incidental expenses.  She is hoping for some scholarships, and is working hard right now to up her SAT score she will take in March.  She would love to "go away", but that just won't be happening without almost a full ride. She is a strong student, but probably not strong enough for a full ride.  

 

I plan on going back to work once she is in community college full time, but that will be both for our retirement and for health insurance.  

 

Oh, and my mom has a $15,000 life insurance policy she is leaving to DD.  Mom is 83.  But at least I know that will help DD some down the road.



#43 The Accidental Coach

The Accidental Coach

    Apprentice Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 6569 posts

Posted 07 February 2016 - 10:55 AM

We have some similarities.  

I'll answer bc our answer is completely different, but I doubt it is unique. Dh and I were high school sweethearts, got married in college, and I had our oldest within months of graduating from college. This is us.  We married my junior year and found out we were expecting on our one year anniversary.  I graduated 5 months pregnant.  We had some money set aside for college, but all of it was spent trying to find (unsuccessfully, unfortunately) a good path to adulthood for our Aspie. So we have entered the college yrs with our kids with no college savings. We also had medical issues that drained our savings - DS has Tourette Syndrome and we wanted to do everything possible to make sure he would be able to have a fulfilling life.  I became quite ill in my late 30's and was diagnosed with Lyme and then Celiac Disease.   Those illnesses drained our savings.  As soon as we recovered from the medical issues and began to build our savings, we found ourselves in an ongoing legal situation that has further drained our resources.

We refuse to take out any loans. Our kids have managed to not take out any, either.  We refuse to do Parent Loans and are doing our best to make sure our children don't have to take out many loans.  Our DD began with loans and put that money into a reserve account. These were a combination of subsidized and unsubsidized loans.  We chose to pay off the unsubsidized last year.  The financial cushion is gone but so is the interest.


We work through it as we get there. We have no "college plan." We have managed to make it work so far. Our gifted students have managed to earn scholarship $$.  One thing our kids know is that when doors close, they need to look for the window. :)

 

Our DD will graduate with about $10,000 in loans.  It couldn't be helped.  She lives with us and we pay all of her monthly expenses (except for her phone) but we couldn't make up the difference and pay legal fees.

 

Our DS has a wonderful scholarship and fin aid package from his college.  He also received outside scholarships that further reduced our cost.  This year, we have been able to cash flow whatever he needs.  It's been a struggle.  We are foregoing house repairs, driving older vehicles, and cutting corners every place we can.  For example, we have a couple of payments coming up and, as our income has been cut due to DH's industry seeing a downturn, we had no money to go out and do anything.  My car is on E so we couldn't even drive to go hiking (the closest hiking trails are over an hour away). We chose to go to a basketball game at the local LAC. It just so happened that the school was revealing it's new athletic logo so DH was treated to free pizza, wings, and cookies.  We had a great time, spent no money, and came home with free t-shirts.  Today, we are going on a long walk in our town and then maybe going to the Y for a workout.  We won a free one month membership and are using it to our advantage.

 

I haven't bought new work clothes in years.  I recently replaced two pair of boots with ones I found on clearance for $25.  They aren't name brand but they are much better than the 8 year old treadless boots I had been wearing.  These look much better with skirts and leggings and I feel better when in front of students.

 

At this moment, I am struggling with whether to go on my AT hike or not.  I have already postponed my start date and am seriously considering cancelling the entire thing. This is a heart wrenching decision but we are struggling to meet the financial needs of our children and save the money I need to be successful.  

 

Regarding our children's future earning potential, there are no guarantees (see my thread about losing optimism).  DD was going into a 4-2 nursing program which would have earned her an MSN and a job with strong earning potential.  She would have had to leave the area, however.  Due to her legal issues she is, at present, unable to move more than 50 miles away so she had to withdraw from the program.  She has no idea what she will be able to do with her degree in our area.  

 

DS is still undecided but leaning toward neuroscience possibly med school.  He's got the goods to back it up but it's too early to tell.  I simply want him (both of them really) to be happy and productive.  Whatever that means for them.

 

--

I just wanted to add:  DS was accepted to our state flagship with the maximum scholarship possible.  There is no way we could have  paid our EFC and room and board. I envy those of you with states unis with good financial resources.  I also envy those with good CCs and low or nonexistent CC tuition.  Not every state has those options available.

 


Edited by ScoutermominIL, 07 February 2016 - 12:13 PM.

  • Caitilin, FaithManor and VANURSEPRAC like this

#44 Hilltopmom

Hilltopmom

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2477 posts

Posted 07 February 2016 - 11:51 AM

I too, really envy the places with free DE at CC for high school students. What a great deal! Ours is full pay.
Still going to do it, but man, free would've been awesome.

Right now, I'm feeling pretty thankful that our rural area has a state school &'a CC both within 20minutes, as it's looking more & more like living at home & attending (.then maybe transferring jr year) is what's going to happen.

Edited by Hilltopmom, 07 February 2016 - 11:53 AM.

  • quark likes this

#45 Nan in Mass

Nan in Mass

    Apprentice Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 9898 posts

Posted 07 February 2016 - 12:32 PM

Just remembered - we don,t have free DE CC, but mine did get state money for taking their CC STEM classes. The CC set it up for them. Middle one got the regional discount for an out of state public school. Both things that might be worth investigating.

Nan
  • quark and Hilltopmom like this

#46 creekland

creekland

    Retired homeschooler!

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 24961 posts

Posted 07 February 2016 - 01:00 PM

I envy those with free or reduced cc/DE options too - not to mention lower cost top of the line state schools.  PA has some terrific schools with Pitt and Penn St, but they generally aren't low cost even for residents (Pitt's offer came in 2nd lowest for middle son, but he had high stats).

 

It continues.  If middle son ends up at Pitt for med school, their current costs (even for residents - $55,932) are more than private places like Mayo ($49,900) and Johns Hopkins ($53,804).

 

I'll admit I don't get it.  Those of you who live in TX, you win with med school costs (for residents).  Lots of choices too.

 

https://services.aam...r_of_study=2016


  • FaithManor likes this

#47 Lori D.

Lori D.

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11921 posts

Posted 07 February 2016 - 01:10 PM

I'm moving my "ETA" paragraph from higher up to a separate post here, just to make sure that anyone who needs more creative ideas on funding college sees this:

 

I forgot -- I also wanted to link this past thread on creative ideas for funding college: "s/o: Cautionary Tale: High College Costs: a brainstorm $$ ideas thread!"

 

This thread is linked, with many other great threads on Financial Aid and Scholarships, in POST #5 of the big pinned thread: "Transcripts, Credits… Scholarships/Financial Aid… past threads linked here!"


  • elegantlion, Momto2Ns, Heigh Ho and 1 other like this

#48 Kinsa

Kinsa

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10140 posts

Posted 07 February 2016 - 02:50 PM

My husband wanted me to say, in case anyone with younger children is reading this thread, that the best advice we were given was to get the mortgage paid off before college and then use the money that was going towards the mortgage payments for college. We did it by making an extra mortgage payment every year and putting any windfalls (like layoff pay) into it, but getting a ten or fifteen year mortgage instead of the usual thirty would probably be better. If we'd put the money into one of the college savings plans instead, it would not have worked out as well. Besides, at the time we investigated them, they wanted us to put a laughable amount away each month. Maybe if we'd had our children later we could have swung it, but we were high school and by the time we had graduated from college, we felt like we had already waited a long time. The mortgage strategy worked out really well for us.

Nan


This is exactly what we did. In 2002, we bought a house on a 15-year mortgage and paid it off early. We are selling that house this spring, and the proceeds will be going toward the kids' college careers.

#49 Jenny in Florida

Jenny in Florida

    Apprentice Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10496 posts

Posted 07 February 2016 - 03:15 PM

I should add that we feel that dd has a personality type that would not thrive everywhere. If her constitution were different, we would have leaned toward California's good and much less expensive state schools.

 

I think this is an important thing to keep in mind. Frankly, I assumed my son would end up at one of our large state universities. However, when he got close to graduation, it became clear that he would have been miserable (and probably unsuccessful) at a large school. He gravitated quickly and definitively towards smaller colleges.

 

If it had been a matter of sending him to a giant state university campus or having him not go to college at all, that would have been different, of course. However, he earned enough in scholarships and merit aid to make the out-of-pocket difference in the total cost of attendance relatively small. And, a little over a year and a half into his college career, I am more convinced than ever that we made the right call.

 

He was actually recruited by a voice teacher who used to direct one of the ensembles on his campus but has now moved over to the big state university in the same city to perform in one of their shows. So, he's been spending Friday mornings on the state university campus for rehearsals. I picked him up there last weekend to bring him home for a local dance event, and I teasingly asked him if hanging out at the big school was making him second guess his choice. He immediately said no, that being there for a few hours a week only made him more grateful for the opportunity to attend his school. 

 

I honestly wonder, if we had forced the issue, whether he would be going to college now at all.

 

So, we do what we have to do.


Edited by Jenny in Florida, 07 February 2016 - 03:16 PM.

  • creekland likes this

#50 Jenny in Florida

Jenny in Florida

    Apprentice Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10496 posts

Posted 07 February 2016 - 04:12 PM

My husband wanted me to say, in case anyone with younger children is reading this thread, that the best advice we were given was to get the mortgage paid off before college and then use the money that was going towards the mortgage payments for college. We did it by making an extra mortgage payment every year and putting any windfalls (like layoff pay) into it, but getting a ten or fifteen year mortgage instead of the usual thirty would probably be better. If we'd put the money into one of the college savings plans instead, it would not have worked out as well. Besides, at the time we investigated them, they wanted us to put a laughable amount away each month. Maybe if we'd had our children later we could have swung it, but we were high school and by the time we had graduated from college, we felt like we had already waited a long time. The mortgage strategy worked out really well for us.

Nan

 

That presumes a family was ever in a position to buy a home in the first place.


  • Crimson Wife, Caitilin, bibiche and 1 other like this