Jump to content

Menu

"Not possible for our children to attend college"


Recommended Posts

My husband just started using Mint.com to get our finances in order, and did some of savings projection to figure out how much to save for our kids to go to college.

 

The numbers told him that, for an in-state public college, it would cost our oldest child over $80,000 for college, our middle child $90,000, and our youngest over $100,000. (They are 11, 9, and 6.)

 

Umm .... so it would cost close to $270,000 for our children to attend the cheapest college possible????

 

He wrote an e-mail to his parents (and CC'ed to me) titled, "Not possible for our children to attend college" to see if they had any advice. They basically said, "Well, they'll probably get scholarships, and they can get a job. We didn't think we could do it, but we managed to save what you needed. Lots of people attend college without their parents' money." They also pointed out that truck drivers make good money without college.

 

(They also said we should quit homeschooling and I should work FT, but we won't go there ...)

 

Uh .... we're talking over $250,000. It would be absolutely impossible for us to save even half that -- even a quarter of that -- in a few years. Maybe we could save, like $20,000 total, if we're lucky.

 

What job could an 18 year old get that would pay $70,000????

 

Or is the only solution to have them go $70,000 in debt when they're 22????

 

My husband, in particular, in very depressed and panicked about this. He feels that our children have no future.

 

Could someone help me out here? Is it really this bleak? Are the only options for the non-super-wealthy to get huge loans or skip college and become a truck driver??

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 159
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

It's not as bleak as that. For one thing, I don't assume that I will pay every penny for my kids to go to college. There are scholarships. There is living at home and commuting. There is going to a community college for part of the time and transferring. There is contribution from the child who is going to college. There is going to college over a longer period of time. There is both parents possibly working while your children are in college.

 

Don't get hung up on this picture. You can't look at one projection and cry into your pillow saying your kids will never go to college. There are many ways to do something one is determined to do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You could check private schools and out of state schools. I just checked my former university and the cost of 12 credit hours and mandatory fees for a non-resident is $8,000. You'd have to add books and room/board to that of course.

 

Residency requires living in GA for 12 months and then you can get in-state tuition. I don't know how that works for out of state students though. It seems that sohpmores and above would be able to qualify as in-state if they call their freshman year as living in GA, with a GA drivers license and address I guess.

 

$80K is a very intimidating number. :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In addition to scholarships and loans, there are grants. I don't know anyone of "typical" means (meaning not uber rich) who has ever paid sticker price for college, other than maybe community college.

 

And every school offers different financial aid. I received a lower sticker price for a private college than public in 1995, even though tuition was technically higher. Nothing is official until the aid packages roll in!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As long as the student loan program continues, a combination of loans and working and frugal living should do it. Anything you would save would be icing on the cake.

 

Yes, the kids will likely have debt to pay off when they graduate, but they would also be likely to get a job that pays more than enough to service the debt once they find their niches.

 

Look into need-based scholarships, very low-interest loans, and grants, which would take into account the fact that you have multiple kids. Find out what alternatives there are to expensive dorm living. Also, look into the possibility of saving money by testing out of courses, taking transferable ones at community college, and taking a heavy load during the college years. The cost per credit hour goes down after a certain point, and some people shave off a semester, a year, or more by biting the bullet early on.

 

It can be done.

 

Now if they do away with student loans, that would be scary. But I still think alternatives would spring up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think working through college can help, but in many instances, I think it is no longer a viable option for many kids. I attended a private university when I was in college. In the 12 years since I graduated, the tuition has almost doubled, and is now close to 50K per year. There are less expensive schools out there, but even in the in-state colleges in my area would be tough to finance while the student is working at the same time, IMO. Public universities are having their funding slashed and they keep raising tuition as well. As the price of college continues to climb, more kids are opting to attend public universities and my understanding is that public schools and scholarships are becoming more competitive as a result.

 

Certain majors and programs can also make having a part-time job more difficult. I had one of those majors in college. 5 lab courses, lots of lab study time and dissection that needed to be completed outside of normal course hours would have made it tough. I tutored and so forth but it was enough for spending money, not to pay tuition. I also had classes that were mandatory over winter break, internships in the summer, and my program required I complete a very specific course load each semester. There was no option to reduce the # of credits or go part time.

 

A good friend was eligible for work study. She answered phones in the graduate school information office in the evenings, and it was fairly calm. She could study while she was at work, which made it a bit easier.

 

Tuition costs are really depressing. There are definitely ways to make it work, but it seems a lot more difficult than when I attended college.

Edited by Momof3littles
Link to comment
Share on other sites

First, as others have said, don't panic. There are all kinds of ways to bring down the cost of college. Scholarships (many of which are based almost entirely on the student's SAT/ACT scores), doing two years at a community college and then transferring, living at home, working, etc.

 

But I just have to ask about the tuition at your state colleges? I just ran the numbers the local branch of our state university, and it looks like a student here could do four years for under $25,000 in tuition. That includes things like student activitiy fees, but not books or room and board. But still, wow!

 

My take on this is that it's always "possible." Many people over the generations have gone to college without a trust fund. Yours can, too.

 

Edit: I was curious. I went to the website of Georgia State University and checked the tuition. It looks to me like your tuition isn't hugely higher than ours per hour. If a typical degree requires 120 credit hours, and tuition is $251.20 per credit hour, that comes to $30,144. Again, that doesn't include books or room and board, but those things can be done at a discount. I'm curious where your husband got those estimates?

Edited by Jenny in Florida
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that if it's not possible for your children to attend, then it won't be possible for a lot of people's children to attend. That's an unsustainable system. The colleges are either counting on the majority of students receiving financial aid or willingly going into substantial debt. If financial aid (i.e. the Federal government) does not continue to foot the bill and guarantee the loans, the prices will have to come down.

 

In the meantime, it is possible to get a job and pay for school. It is possible to get scholarships. It is possible to attend school part-time. And yes, it is possible to earn a living without a college degree.

 

Honestly, if my children aren't able to earn a way or find a way, then I'm not sure that college is the right track for them. I don't plan to send them to college for the experience or a degree they aren't sure they want. But I know folks differ on that issue.

 

My parents took on debt for me to receive my undergraduate degree, but I also earned scholarships and grants. The debt I incurred for further schooling was worth it from an educational perspective, but not really a good investment for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My dd is 17 and just beginning to take CC courses (right now we can only swing one per semester). She will probably earn a two year or vocational degree, which may be more marketable right now. If she wants to do 2 more years for a BA she will have to work and help pay for it.

 

There are also CLEP tests which may be an option.

 

But I agree, the cost of college these days is frightening.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would also add that investment advisors always seem to paint the bleakest picture. They want your money. Just do the best you can and trust your kids to figure this out. It's more important to make sure they have the ability to succeed in their coursework than to worry in advance about paying for it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, college is expensive. (Hence my mantra of "Save, save, save" from birth.) But there are a number of ways to reduce the cost from the "sticker price".

 

For one thing, many students do not pay the "sticker price". This has led the federal reporting site IPEDS to create something called the Net Price Calculator. Parents are often surprised when they learn that private colleges with high tuition may be less expensive than the public universities when aid is factored in. College applicants and their parents need to do their homework.

 

As others have noted, community colleges are less expensive. Many students can shave a semester or more off of college by taking AP classes. Some states offer free tuition for dual enrollment.

 

Whenever people formerly asked what a grandparent should buy for a child who has everything, I responded by saying "a savings bond". Unfortunately savings bonds like passbook savings are not paying much in interest. Nonetheless, I would still encourage parents to help their kids build nest eggs from those small $10 gifts or early dollars earned babysitting or shoveling snow. Teaching saving and frugality is a gift--even if your child is not college bound.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that if it's not possible for your children to attend, then it won't be possible for a lot of people's children to attend. That's an unsustainable system. The colleges are either counting on the majority of students receiving financial aid or willingly going into substantial debt. If financial aid (i.e. the Federal government) does not continue to foot the bill and guarantee the loans, the prices will have to come down.

 

:iagree: and hopefully it happens in the next 10 years.

 

Plus I think the estimate you got was way too high - they have a financial interest in frightening parents.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

For one thing, many students do not pay the "sticker price". This has led the federal reporting site IPEDS to create something called the Net Price Calculator. Parents are often surprised when they learn that private colleges with high tuition may be less expensive than the public universities when aid is factored in. College applicants and their parents need to do their homework.

 

 

:iagree: My two older boys are going to private colleges at far, far less than the sticker price. They studied and had high SAT/ACT scores plus a few community college (dual enrollment) As and middle son had two AP 5s.

 

My guys "earned" far more by studying for the SAT/ACT than they ever could have by working at a paid job.

 

Don't get too worried about sticker prices, but do concentrate on getting a decent education in the younger years - then in the high school years make sure you keep up with test prep as well as an academic education. (Mine scored nicely on the tests just from their foundation - then added that little bit extra from studying.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You need to look at community college options. My local cc has a special program that meshes two years of cc with automatic transfer admission to state universities in my state. All credits transfer. It is a program that students must apply for by October of senior year.

 

You should also look at state universities in other states. I have learned that out of state tuition on some states is significantly cheaper than in state tuition in my own state.

 

You aren't going to save the full tuition, but if this is a goal you have, save all you can. I would also start really looking at what jobs locally are available for teens that have the highest earning potential. Where I live it's lifeguarding and swim instructing. So, my dd is taking the lifeguarding class as soon as she turns 15 and immediately applying to work at indoor pools. As soon she turns 16 she will take the WSI course. If she is successful she will have 4 summers to work fulltime and maybe some part time during the school year. She's already volunteering in adaptive aquatics so she has contacts to land that first job. I know kids locally who have been able to put away 15-20K before that first year of college with this type of job. So, it's enough to get through almost a year at a four year school away from home in my state. No, it is not possible for a student to save all the money she needs through her own work anymore, but she can take responsibility and earn a good chunk.

 

ETA: I also know students who managed to save significant amounts through teen jobs in summer and take AP/IB courses during the school year. So it is possible to do both. Part of it is instilling the value and expectation you have in your child so they push themselves to get these steps done.

Edited by betty
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"The Numbers???" Are you talking about Mint.com numbers?

 

Have you looked at your local 4 year college tuition? It may be nothing even close to the numbers you are quoting.

 

I also thought GA had some sort of incentive for GA residents for low cost in state college if you maintained a certain GPA? I haven't looked for quite a while, but it seemed like a good plan.

 

Here is what WE are doing:

 

Our local 4 year college is currently about $5K in tuition alone. We figure another $5K per year for books, fees, and inflation.

 

We are offering that to our kids. IF they choose private or another option that is more $$, they will need to cover the difference.

 

Dawn

 

 

My husband just started using Mint.com to get our finances in order, and did some of savings projection to figure out how much to save for our kids to go to college.

 

The numbers told him that, for an in-state public college, it would cost our oldest child over $80,000 for college, our middle child $90,000, and our youngest over $100,000. (They are 11, 9, and 6.)

 

Umm .... so it would cost close to $270,000 for our children to attend the cheapest college possible????

 

He wrote an e-mail to his parents (and CC'ed to me) titled, "Not possible for our children to attend college" to see if they had any advice. They basically said, "Well, they'll probably get scholarships, and they can get a job. We didn't think we could do it, but we managed to save what you needed. Lots of people attend college without their parents' money." They also pointed out that truck drivers make good money without college.

 

(They also said we should quit homeschooling and I should work FT, but we won't go there ...)

 

Uh .... we're talking over $250,000. It would be absolutely impossible for us to save even half that -- even a quarter of that -- in a few years. Maybe we could save, like $20,000 total, if we're lucky.

 

What job could an 18 year old get that would pay $70,000????

 

Or is the only solution to have them go $70,000 in debt when they're 22????

 

My husband, in particular, in very depressed and panicked about this. He feels that our children have no future.

 

Could someone help me out here? Is it really this bleak? Are the only options for the non-super-wealthy to get huge loans or skip college and become a truck driver??

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also doesn't Georgia still have the HOPE scholarship? I am not sure how it applies to homeschoolers or if it does, but it lets most in state high schoolers with a good GPA have their tuition paid by the state. My sister had her entire undergrad tuition paid by that. I realize it may have changed in the years since I was in Georgia, but I thought it was still around.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My husband just started using Mint.com to get our finances in order, and did some of savings projection to figure out how much to save for our kids to go to college.

 

The numbers told him that, for an in-state public college, it would cost our oldest child over $80,000 for college, our middle child $90,000, and our youngest over $100,000. (They are 11, 9, and 6.)

 

Umm .... so it would cost close to $270,000 for our children to attend the cheapest college possible????

 

He wrote an e-mail to his parents (and CC'ed to me) titled, "Not possible for our children to attend college" to see if they had any advice. They basically said, "Well, they'll probably get scholarships, and they can get a job. We didn't think we could do it, but we managed to save what you needed. Lots of people attend college without their parents' money." They also pointed out that truck drivers make good money without college.

 

(They also said we should quit homeschooling and I should work FT, but we won't go there ...)

 

Uh .... we're talking over $250,000. It would be absolutely impossible for us to save even half that -- even a quarter of that -- in a few years. Maybe we could save, like $20,000 total, if we're lucky.

 

What job could an 18 year old get that would pay $70,000????

 

Or is the only solution to have them go $70,000 in debt when they're 22????

 

My husband, in particular, in very depressed and panicked about this. He feels that our children have no future.

 

Could someone help me out here? Is it really this bleak? Are the only options for the non-super-wealthy to get huge loans or skip college and become a truck driver??

 

 

People get panicked by the horror stories such as the girl attending NYU with no merit aid, financial aid, or campus job who has $125,000.00 debt for, if memory serves, a teaching degree! These kinds of stories get splashed across the news and yet the national average for student loans hovers around $13,000.00. DD is halfway through her chem degree with no debt and she didn't get a full ride scholarship at U of M. She's been wise about it...dh and I had $6,000 to give her during her freshman year - that's all her 529 was worth after putting more than $20,000 in it because she had to have the money the year of the great real estate collapse and most conservative investments went straight down the toilet!!!!! She's managed just fine since then...again no debt. She'll finish without debt just at 24 instead of 22. But, her paramedic job has very good health insurance and with overtime, the pay is fine for a single girl. She's saving a lot of money and paying rent at grandma and grandpa's house since they've got a nice quiet set-up for her while she works nights and our house is not so conducive to her sleeping days here. She doesn't pay a lot in rent, but it really helps them out.

 

There are ways to get out without crushing debt. Much of it is choosing wisely, applying to several institutions to see what they offer, looking for creative housing and meal options, choosing a major that will have decent employment options upon graduation, campus jobs, tutoring in an area of strength - WAY back in the mists of time, I got more than double the regular wage on campus for tutoring - etc. Check out the college board. There are a bunch of homeschooling moms there that have students in college now and none of us are reporting heinous debt for our students. Don't let the horror stories be your guide. Most students do not have that level of debt.

 

Faith

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Definitely go to the sites of specific colleges to see what actual costs are, and to see if they have the Net Price Calculator. It won't be accurate so far out, but I just put in our numbers as though they were going to college in the next couple of years.

 

I don't know if this is true about Mint, but I have seen some calculators that assume you are spending a LOT on extras for college; they assume the student will have a car, live on campus, and so on. I did not have a car the entire four years I was at college. Also, is it taking into account YOUR in-state colleges, or is it an overall average? The national average doesn't matter; what matters is the cost at your state.

 

Also, as others have noted, it's important to look at many different colleges, cost-wise, and see who might have the best package for you. One of the private universities near us has a net price calculator that includes possible merit aid - you put in certain ACT or SAT scores, and they tell you how much merit aid they are likely to offer.

 

I'm sorry his parents were tactless in their response, but they might have felt defensive, thinking that dh was putting them on the spot for significant help.

 

Don't get discouraged based on one calculation! Keep researching.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Edit: I was curious. I went to the website of Georgia State University and checked the tuition. It looks to me like your tuition isn't hugely higher than ours per hour. If a typical degree requires 120 credit hours, and tuition is $251.20 per credit hour, that comes to $30,144. Again, that doesn't include books or room and board, but those things can be done at a discount. I'm curious where your husband got those estimates?

 

 

I'm not sure if he got it from Mint.com or another site, but it was something that estimated projected costs. The idea was that, no, it is not $80,000+ this minute, but it will be in seven years at the current rate of increase -- and, of course, even more for our younger kids.

 

Yes, I worked and had scholarships when I was in college, but the "sticker price" was no more than $35,000 total, and that included room and board. It sounds like it's a whole different ball games these days, and I don't see how that can cut it anymore.

 

I know people have different thoughts about loans, but I'm not sure saddling a 21 year old with $50,000+ in loans is what we consider a viable option.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also doesn't Georgia still have the HOPE scholarship? I am not sure how it applies to homeschoolers or if it does, but it lets most in state high schoolers with a good GPA have their tuition paid by the state. My sister had her entire undergrad tuition paid by that. I realize it may have changed in the years since I was in Georgia, but I thought it was still around.

 

The HOPE is rumored to be going away soon, so it seems conservative to assume it either will be significantly different in seven years, or will gone entire.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's not as bleak as that. For one thing, I don't assume that I will pay every penny for my kids to go to college. There are scholarships. There is living at home and commuting. There is going to a community college for part of the time and transferring. There is contribution from the child who is going to college. There is going to college over a longer period of time. There is both parents possibly working while your children are in college.

 

Don't get hung up on this picture. You can't look at one projection and cry into your pillow saying your kids will never go to college. There are many ways to do something one is determined to do.

:iagree:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure if he got it from Mint.com or another site, but it was something that estimated projected costs. The idea was that, no, it is not $80,000+ this minute, but it will be in seven years at the current rate of increase -- and, of course, even more for our younger kids.

 

 

Well, I've been poking around, and I see lots of different sites showing different numbers. I did find one online calculator that suggests the college cost for a kid who is currently 11 to attend the state university in Georgia will be $125,000. But this one estimates only $54,000: http://www.finaid.org/calculators/scripts/costprojector.cgi

 

And this one says $49,000: http://www.savingforcollege.com/college-savings-calculator/index.php?current_cost=7536&years_until_college=7&years_attendance=4&attendance_rate=100&coverage_rate=100&save_until=ends&starting_balance=0&contribution_rate=12&inflation_rate=6&investment_performance=7&Submit=Submit&page=results

 

So, clearly, there is some guesswork happening somewhere.

 

As others have said, a lot of those estimates assume all kinds of things that aren't necessarily accurate (cars, full-price books, living on campus, etc.).

Edited by Jenny in Florida
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I paid for my own college, my parents did not pay for any of it. I worked full time at the school, and went to school as much as I could. After 4.5 years at a private school I had only a few thousand in loans. No way will it cost $70,000 for a child to attend college. Most colleges have work study, grants, scholarships (there are many private ones too), and low interest loans.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I paid for my own college, my parents did not pay for any of it. I worked full time at the school, and went to school as much as I could. After 4.5 years at a private school I had only a few thousand in loans. No way will it cost $70,000 for a child to attend college. Most colleges have work study, grants, scholarships (there are many private ones too), and low interest loans.

 

Yes, but college costs are going up exponentially...it isn't the same as when we went to school.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My parents didn't save a dime for college for me, and didn't think women 'needed' to go to college anyway. I joined the Army at 17, spent four years on active duty and later as a single mom of two I went to a good private college. I took out student loans, worked part time as a nurse's aide, and had a $500 dollar a semester grant to offset some tuition costs. I supported myself and my two children, did not receive child support from my ex-husband, did not receive food stamps or cash assistance from welfare, did not have any help or even verbal support from my family. I did get the GI Bill money that was in my Army contract from that time (nowhere near as nice as what is offered today), and I was a member of the National Guard and I got paid monthly by them as well as by my nurse's aide job. Heck, I wrote papers for other students for money, babysat, did research, whatever I could. We didn't have a car, money was extremely tight, but it was possible. I graduated in 1997, I had huge student loan debt (35K, huge to me), but hey I had that degree. At least I was smart enough to pick a major that was in demand in the job market.

 

There are many ways for people to make it through college without parental assistance. None of them are as nice and comfortable for the student as having parents pick up the tab, but it certainly can be done. If your kids want to go to college badly enough they will find a way that works for them like I did. There are also many ways to be successful and earn a decent living without going to college, if your child is motivated to pursue something else. Some of those might involve a trade school or moving to another area or other sacrifices that your child may not be willing to make, but it is still certainly possible to be successful without college, if one is willing to do what it takes to get there. Of course, these scenarios pre-suppose that the child will have the determination and motivation to do what is necessary to make it happen, and honestly it seems to me that a good number of kids today seem to graduate high school and basically sit around and wait for something to happen or be handed to them instead of being pro-active about making a future for themselves.

 

Really what is their alternative? To sit around and complain about having 'no future' and watch some more tv? Or to try to make one? You are giving them a good education right now, what they decide to do when they are adults is just going to have to be up to them.

Edited by Rainefox
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The cost of living is a factor as well. I remember reading a Money Magazine article over 20 years ago about how the cost of raising a child was estimated to be $125,000. That seemed a scary amount for my husband and me back then (he was earning less than $30,000 a year at the time), but now it seems laughably small. Prices and wages have just gone up a lot since the early 90s.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First, I agree that his numbers are the most scary possible, and probably not realistic.

 

Second, you're homeschooling, so you can tailor all of their high school years towards the first 2 years with AP credits. AP credits are accepted at all but the most exclusive schools, and those typically have tuition waivers for students whose parents make less than $100K. They also currently cost about $80, and that is for a one or two semester class in most cases. You can spread the exams out over 4 years.

 

Third, you can start including test prep now. High scores and high GPA's = full rides to honors programs at most schools! Most kids don't do extensive prep for exams, and with so many years to prepare there is no reason your kids can't do well enough to get a full ride to a state university.

 

Fourth, even if they do need to take out some loans, if they choose a practical major that leads towards high-paying jobs it won't matter. Start talking to them now about majors like engineering (so many options!), accounting, computer science or MIS, mathematics (or a spinoff like actuarial science or statistics if they want to be multi-millionaires and work in financial services).

 

Fifth, if you're at all a military-leaning family, strongly consider ROTC or even military college options. Many private colleges with ROTC programs waive room and board costs for the kids that get tuition scholarships, and then they graduate with marketable degrees and guaranteed jobs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just because YOU can't afford to pay out of pocket for them to attend college, doesn't mean they can't go.

 

They can join the military then use the G.I. bill when they get out.

They can wait/work for a few years while living on their own until they no longer count as yours for financial aid/FAFSA purposes and pay their own way in whatever way they, as adults, see fit.

You can accept some of the debt and pay what you can out of pocket.

They can go for less expensive options, like community college, or secure employment that will help with paying for college.

They can try for JROTC sholarships, military academies, or need-blind Ivy-league schools.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you don't have the money for tuition or the stats for a scholarship, you do what many people do and use a combination of community college courses, working, and loans. And you look closely at the major and decide whether that career is worth it or not. :001_smile:

 

:iagree:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I may be foolishly optimistic, but I believe that where there is a will, there is a way.

 

Both of my oldest children are in community college now. The tuition is reasonable for my 18 year old, and free for my 16 year old.

 

When ever they are ready to transfer to a 4 year university, they can live here and Dh and I will continue paying tuition, fees and books.

 

If they want to move out to go to another school, we can afford to give them $10,000 per semester.

 

Dh and I put ourselves through school. I know things are much more expensive now, but tuition and books were dwarfed by other living expenses such as housing and food.

 

If my kids what something more, they had better be motivated and creative enough to figure out a way to make it work.

 

If they are not mature enough to make their own way in life, then living at home is probably the most appropriate place for them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've only read a few of the other posts, but here's my two cents worth. Our income is only about $50,000 a year, so college would seem impossible for our four children but we intend for them all to go in some form.

 

We believe that degrees are important, but that the standard, four-year, live-on-campus plan isn't for everyone. My oldest dd got a full ride based on her PSAT scores (she's a National Merit Scholar) and is living on campus at a four-year, private university. Her younger sister, however, has struggled a little in school, but has strengths that big sister doesn't have. She's finishing high school this year, but is a fabulous, hardworking, intuitive employee and has loads of common sense and people skills. She will take a gap year to do a year-long missions internship and take a few online CC courses. Then we will reevaluate. Her plan is evolving and we're just being fluid with it.

 

We're not sure what will happen with our two ds's who are in middle and elementary school right now. We firmly believe that God has a plan for them and will make a way, so faith is a big factor in our lives. We have no college savings, but firmly believe that there will be provision for what each of our children needs to live successful lives. It will likely be a combination of sources of funding and creative approaches to getting it done, but fear is not a factor--you can't live like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DH and I put him through college- $36,000 in debt. He worked 60 hours a week while taking a full load of night classes. I don't think he slept much, lol.

Was it fun? No. Was it the "college experience"? Of course not.

Our kids have paltry savings from us - about $8000 when they graduate - and they know they won't be getting anything else. If they chose to live at home and attend a Jr. college for two years, they are ore than welcome to stay at home to save money.

But - even so, they both fully expect to complete a degree.

It looks horrible on paper, but in reality I don't think it's an unattainable goal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would be surprised if the HOPE grant went away all together....it's just too popular across the board for any politician to want to be the person who says it should go away. They just made some changes to it that are supposed to make it more financially viable long term. Anyway, I'm sticking with believing it will still be around in some form, because we don't really have a back-up plan (well, staying relatively poor is our back up plan, I guess. DH is a teacher, and if he sticks with that our income should be low enough that we qualify for a lot of aid). DH used to use college costs as an argument against having more kids. "We can't afford to send four kids to college!" I always told him, "honey, we can't afford to send ONE kid to college."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My husband just started using Mint.com to get our finances in order, and did some of savings projection to figure out how much to save for our kids to go to college.

 

The numbers told him that, for an in-state public college, it would cost our oldest child over $80,000 for college, our middle child $90,000, and our youngest over $100,000. (They are 11, 9, and 6.)

 

Umm .... so it would cost close to $270,000 for our children to attend the cheapest college possible????

 

He wrote an e-mail to his parents (and CC'ed to me) titled, "Not possible for our children to attend college" to see if they had any advice. They basically said, "Well, they'll probably get scholarships, and they can get a job. We didn't think we could do it, but we managed to save what you needed. Lots of people attend college without their parents' money." They also pointed out that truck drivers make good money without college.

 

(They also said we should quit homeschooling and I should work FT, but we won't go there ...)

 

Uh .... we're talking over $250,000. It would be absolutely impossible for us to save even half that -- even a quarter of that -- in a few years. Maybe we could save, like $20,000 total, if we're lucky.

 

What job could an 18 year old get that would pay $70,000????

 

Or is the only solution to have them go $70,000 in debt when they're 22????

 

My husband, in particular, in very depressed and panicked about this. He feels that our children have no future.

 

Could someone help me out here? Is it really this bleak? Are the only options for the non-super-wealthy to get huge loans or skip college and become a truck driver??

 

The school I attended cost $120,000 over 4 years. I graduated at 22 with $8000 in debt (a very reasonable number and not an extreme burden on my young adulthood). My parents are of pretty moderate means and hadn't saved much. I worked in college, but didn't make enormous amounts of money. My DW went to the same college, had fewer scholarships and NO parental help, and graduated with about $30,000 in debt. That may sound like a lot, but she also graduated making $60,000+ a year and paid it off in just a few years. There are scholarships, grants, etc.

 

For my kids, our goal is to save as much as we can, get as many scholarships and grants as we can, choose a school with a reasonable price tag after scholarships and grants (remember more expensive schools often give more aid - so don't decide based on the initial price tag), work when not in school, and if necessary have the children take out a reasonable level of debt compared to their expected future earnings. Living at home, etc are also good money saving options.

 

I don't think you should expect to save up the whole thing for all three children. Save as much as you reasonably can, then work on other options to figure it out. You'll be cobbling resources together from many different sources, but that's pretty much how it goes, IME. Also, we dont' really know what college will cost in 7 years, let alone in 12 years (for your youngest) or in 16 years (for my youngest). To some extent we have to do what we can do now, and just work things out when we get there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel panicked too about my kids, and like many, I never intended to pay every penny for their college. I'd like to help them out though, but even with that, it doesn't seem likely that they'll get out of school without a mountain of debt. I don't want them to go to college unless it is necessary for their career. It will be for DD. She talks about being a vet, and I can also see her going into computer science or some sort of engineering career. I'm not sure about DS yet. It's depressing. Something needs to be done about higher education in this country or pretty soon only the rich will be able to go.

 

We do plan to have them take as many CC courses as possible while they're in high school and double up that way, but I read recently somewhere that many colleges are no longer taking CC or CLEP credits. I'll have to see. DH and I both paid for our own college (my mom was low-income and his parents were new immigrants to the US) and we spent years paying it off. We started our lives together $60,000 in debt -- all college loans. I don't want the same for my kids, but I'm not sure what else we can do. There are lots of smart kids and not enough merit scholarships to go around. Neither child is particularly athletic. Seems like we're pretty much screwed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are high school programs (that work for homeschoolers too) that allow enrollment with credit at CC. Some colleges (many) accept CLEP and AP exams for credit.

 

You need to think a bit more out of the box. A four year on campus traditional program isn't the way to go when college costs are so out of reach.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would be surprised if the HOPE grant went away all together....it's just too popular across the board for any politician to want to be the person who says it should go away. They just made some changes to it that are supposed to make it more financially viable long term. Anyway, I'm sticking with believing it will still be around in some form, because we don't really have a back-up plan (well, staying relatively poor is our back up plan, I guess. DH is a teacher, and if he sticks with that our income should be low enough that we qualify for a lot of aid). DH used to use college costs as an argument against having more kids. "We can't afford to send four kids to college!" I always told him, "honey, we can't afford to send ONE kid to college."

 

 

I wouldn't count on low-income helping that much. My mom was low-income (a high school secretary, so she made MUCH less than a teacher) and what we qualified for were mostly loans. I was in the top 10% of my graduating class and in tons of activities in school. I looked very well-rounded. Yeah, I got some scholarships from my college, but college tuition went up by $2,000 every year I attended, and my merit-based scholarships didn't rise along with it. I worked, but every dollar I made went against my financial aide, so it was almost like the more I worked, the less help I received. Now my brother did well, but he was #2 overall in his graduating class and had super-high SAT scores. In Maine at the time, in-state schools offered full tuition scholarships to the top 2 in every high school in an effort to keep the best and brightest in-state. My brother took advantage of that. He was also an engineering student, so the summer jobs and internships he was able to get paid substantially more than the summer jobs I was able to get as an education major. He had a paid internship for which he also received college credit. My internship (student teaching) wasn't paid AND I had to pay for the college credit I received for doing it. If you're smart, but not brilliant, average SAT scores, and not an athlete, there's not a ton of help out there regardless of income level.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure if he got it from Mint.com or another site, but it was something that estimated projected costs. The idea was that, no, it is not $80,000+ this minute, but it will be in seven years at the current rate of increase -- and, of course, even more for our younger kids.

 

Yes, I worked and had scholarships when I was in college, but the "sticker price" was no more than $35,000 total, and that included room and board. It sounds like it's a whole different ball games these days, and I don't see how that can cut it anymore.

 

I know people have different thoughts about loans, but I'm not sure saddling a 21 year old with $50,000+ in loans is what we consider a viable option.

 

That assumes the rate of increase stays the same. We have no way to know that that's what will happen. I tend to think that at some point the price increases will have to slow down, or else no one will be able to afford to go to college- which is not exactly beneficial to the college!!

 

I also think that with the increase in "sticker price" often comes an increase in available scholarship money. My undergraduate school currently gives aid to more than 90% of it's students. Something like 60% of students are paying less than half of the "sticker price" once scholarships and grants are figured in. And they still have the option for work-study. Plus they can do co-ops and paid internships, or take the "slow road" like my DW did - she took 6 years to get her degree, because she took 4 semesters off to work full-time at a co-op obtained through the school. She was making the equivalent of $40,000/yr at those co-ops with minimal expenses, which will pay a LOT of tuition, even now. It is an engineering school though, so I don't know if the options are different elsewhere. I just wouldn't be immediately freaked out because of "sticker price" - when my kids get there, we'll figure things out.

 

That said, i wouldn't want my kid to go $70,000 in debt without a high-paying job waiting at the end. I do understand that. But I think there will be other options.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First, I agree that his numbers are the most scary possible, and probably not realistic.

 

Second, you're homeschooling, so you can tailor all of their high school years towards the first 2 years with AP credits. AP credits are accepted at all but the most exclusive schools, and those typically have tuition waivers for students whose parents make less than $100K. They also currently cost about $80, and that is for a one or two semester class in most cases. You can spread the exams out over 4 years.

 

Third, you can start including test prep now. High scores and high GPA's = full rides to honors programs at most schools! Most kids don't do extensive prep for exams, and with so many years to prepare there is no reason your kids can't do well enough to get a full ride to a state university.

 

Fourth, even if they do need to take out some loans, if they choose a practical major that leads towards high-paying jobs it won't matter. Start talking to them now about majors like engineering (so many options!), accounting, computer science or MIS, mathematics (or a spinoff like actuarial science or statistics if they want to be multi-millionaires and work in financial services).

 

Fifth, if you're at all a military-leaning family, strongly consider ROTC or even military college options. Many private colleges with ROTC programs waive room and board costs for the kids that get tuition scholarships, and then they graduate with marketable degrees and guaranteed jobs.

 

Broad-brush generalizations aside, the situation is indeed sobering. I'm not worried, but I'm not expecting miracles either. We know a number of outstanding high school graduates who got *no* merit aid at all. For us, even the mid-range state schools don't accept APs, and tuition wavers don't exist. Full ride scholarships are rare, and go to only the top 5% or so. With some engineering majors going jobless upon graduation right now, I personally would like to see mine avoid or minimize loans. And the competition for ROTC and the academies is tougher than ever. We know some who were superstars who didn't get the ROTC/academy appointment that they were counting on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fifth, if you're at all a military-leaning family, strongly consider ROTC or even military college options. Many private colleges with ROTC programs waive room and board costs for the kids that get tuition scholarships, and then they graduate with marketable degrees and guaranteed jobs.

 

This is not completely true. You can get whatever degree you choose on ROTC. My dh has a political science degree, and we know an officer with a degree in drama. So, they don't always have "marketable" degrees.

 

They also are not guaranteed a job, especially a career-military job. The military is a draw-down period. They are not bringing all ROTC graduates on full-time active duty. People going to ROTC route need to make themselves more competitive-become fluent in a language, for example. Medical and clergy are always in high demand (especially Catholic priests, the Army is constantly short in this area).

 

We know several LTs right now who are on a program where they are being "borrowed" by the National Guard, but must return to the NG when their first two years are up. That means that they need to get another job because they will be doing the one weekend per month/two weeks per year thing that is typical in the NG.

 

We know other people who didn't receive a job at all, but were placed on Inactive Ready Reserve instead.

 

If there is an idea that a high school student wants to go ROTC, then they should talk to an officer recruiter, NOT a regular recruiter.

 

Find out what branches are in demand. What branches most often force-branch? Get a degree that relates. Make yourself competitive and have a back-up plan.

Edited by Mrs Mungo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I may be foolishly optimistic, but I believe that where there is a will, there is a way.

 

Both of my oldest children are in community college now. The tuition is reasonable for my 18 year old, and free for my 16 year old.

I must also be foolishly optimistic. :)

 

Both my big boys are now in college. The oldest is a junior and the 2nd just started this week. Other than a little money here and there, we have nothing to give them.

 

Both boys took cc classes while in high school. Oldest had 9 semester hours and middle had 21 semester hours. Neither child scored super-duper well on college testing. They are both attending Berea College.

 

If you have low income, Berea College is an option. All students admitted are given a full tuition scholarship. :D

 

Mandy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We didn't save but a couple hundred for ds. I thought I'd be working to offset costs. They don't take that into account, by the way--that, when the child goes to college, there's a decent chance there will be an increase in income, if one parent has been home.

 

We ended up bypassing the offered student loans b/c they wanted, like, 9% in interest, and got a line of credit from our house at about 4% interest. Each year, we can almost pay off that year's tuition. Ds contributes a fourth of his total expenses, received two $1200 scholarships and one $1000 gift, rents his books or buys them very cheaply, lives in an apartment that is bare bones...He works when he can, and this year, is hoping for a part time job in the Cinema dept (probably only $50 a week, but hey, that's groceries and a movie...).

 

Now, if we had had to pay tuition for our other ds at the same time (one year apart in school), it would have been very hard. I would not have been able to throw $ that I am earning at my credit card debt, and would have had to find other employment.

 

You do what you have to. Maybe your child won't go to an IVY--maybe they will but earn a scholarship or grant. Where there's a will, there's a way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn't count on low-income helping that much. My mom was low-income (a high school secretary, so she made MUCH less than a teacher) and what we qualified for were mostly loans. I was in the top 10% of my graduating class and in tons of activities in school. I looked very well-rounded. Yeah, I got some scholarships from my college, but college tuition went up by $2,000 every year I attended, and my merit-based scholarships didn't rise along with it. I worked, but every dollar I made went against my financial aide, so it was almost like the more I worked, the less help I received. Now my brother did well, but he was #2 overall in his graduating class and had super-high SAT scores. In Maine at the time, in-state schools offered full tuition scholarships to the top 2 in every high school in an effort to keep the best and brightest in-state. My brother took advantage of that. He was also an engineering student, so the summer jobs and internships he was able to get paid substantially more than the summer jobs I was able to get as an education major. He had a paid internship for which he also received college credit. My internship (student teaching) wasn't paid AND I had to pay for the college credit I received for doing it. If you're smart, but not brilliant, average SAT scores, and not an athlete, there's not a ton of help out there regardless of income level.

 

I forgot to mention that making my children brilliant is also part of my plan :D. Really, though, I hear you....our income will help them out a lot if they can get into, say, Harvard--since we would qualify for free tuition there. Other than what, who knows? I'm head in the sand/hope the HOPE grant's still around-ish about it. Although I will say that my experience was very different from yours. My mom's income was low, but I don't think that's what made the difference....I had a full tuition merit scholarship to UGA, and I happened to start the year the HOPE grant started up, so they wound up eliminating my merit scholarship and giving me that instead. I worked part time (full time in the summer) all through, and my parents gave me a small amount monthly toward living expenses. I graduated with no debt. As of right now, it seems like my kids could have a similar experience at an in-state school, but it's hard to say what things will look like in a few years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Back when I was in college, in the 80s, the school I had applied to determined that my parents could afford enough to pay for my transportation to and from school. The money I earned over the summer went for books. I was eligible for $2500 in student loans. (graduated with a bill for $10K) I had some sort of piddling scholarship from somewhere worth about a grand. The school cost a lot more than that. (expensive, out of state school.) So, the school made up the rest in "grants."

 

I think it would have cost me the same to go to an in-state public college or university. (same personal/family expenses, no grant)

 

With 6 kids and only one working parent, that's how it worked out. These days, do colleges actually expect families to foot the entire bill? It seems odd to me that back in the 80s when resources were generally less, that it would've been that much easier to get the funds for higher education. Is it the prevalence of loans (at higher costs, sounds like) that has caused schools to increase their costs far beyond the rate of inflation? And to expect that every family or student is happy to take out mega-loans to do so?

 

A friend of my husband's talked about taking out a home equity loan for a large amount in order to pay for his kids' college. That isn't something that would've even crossed the radar for my parents. (whether or not I had adequate funding for college!) Does the fact that so many parents and students are willing to take out the loans mean that the colleges/universities have come to expect it?

 

How did things change so much, and what caused it? I don't know anyone who graduated in the 80s with loans greater than 10K (unless they went to graduate school), and I don't know anyone whose parents took out loans for them to attend school. (although maybe they did and I just never heard about it)

 

When/how did the expectation of huge loans become rampant? My brothers all went to school in the late 80s through mid 90s, and again, their experiences were similar to mine, so has this all come about in the past 15 years?

 

To hear your stories I worry a little about the costs we'll be facing in the next 5-10 years as my own kids start thinking about higher education. I guess if I had these options way back when, I might have chosen a 2-year school and then to transfer to finish. I don't know!

 

It all seems crazy now, especially because the degree guarantees nothing as far as future employment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...