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charlotteb

Not Helping with money for college kids- are we the only ones?

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DH and I made the decision several years ago, that when our kids turned 18, they are adults and can pay for all their own expenses.  We even made them pay for a few things when they turned 16 (cell phone, car insurance if they want their license. If they want to get their license, get a part time job and pay for your own insurance.).

 

We got married very young, right out of high school.  We got jobs and paid for 100% of our own bills and sent DH through college without asking for anything from our parents. We raised children during an age much younger than most, and did it all on our own. We definitely learned the value of hard work and being independent.

 

So, even now- we have one adult son, who is in full time college. We have given him zero dollars towards college. It is his job to fill out his FAFSA, apply for scholarships, or pay for the remaining money if there is more.   He has a job, where he works about 30 hours a week.  He bought his own cheap car, after saving for a while. He even moved out and rents a small house with two of his friends and they all pay their own bills (his choice). He has never been bitter with us for not helping him out, and actually seems thankful that he is learning true financial responsibility..

 

We will do the exact same thing with our daughters too. Our older daughter has had her permit for over a year.  Not because she's a bad daughter, its because she hasn't found a part time job yet to pay for her car insurance.

 

 

Are we the only ones?? I often feel like I am.  Not trying to judge others at all, because I'm not in their situation.  Just want to find others like me :)

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We are unable to help a lot but we help as we can. I think that it is good for parents to help their kids to get started especially now when life is so much more expensive for young people. So far Ds has paid all of his college expenses for community college but we are saving money to help with the state university after that.

 

 

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We do help but require a lot of skin in the game on the part of the kids. Oldest has worked full time + overtime in warehouses over the past two summers. He has earned enough working plus scholarships and subsidized loans to have paid his own way for his first three semesters. He will need some help for the first time second semester sophomore year and we will help him out.

 

Next is a high school senior right now. He is working and saving and should in a few months have saved about what he needs for his first semester of college. He will work full time during the summers as well and will also take the subsidized loans.

 

We want to help ours as we are able. In our family it has developed into a situation where they pay the first expenses and we will step in and support later if they are being responsible and doing all we ask of them. We have four kids and limited resources and it just seems to make sense to have them make the initial investment. We'll help but if it isn't important enough to them to work and invest in themselves we'll save that chunk of cash for one of the many other demands we have on it.

 

Mine have taken the federal loans understanding that is their responsibility. However, we do hope to help with those on the back end if we are able and if they graduate. Again it is a circumstance of them taking on the risk to make that loan worthwhile and actually graduate.

 

I think it is harder to launch than it used to be and I do want to help my hard working, responsible kids. But they have to have significant investment as well. They could have lived at home and commuted and cost basically nothing but that just isn't the right fit for them in the long run.

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DH and I made the decision several years ago, that when our kids turned 18, they are adults and can pay for all their own expenses.  We even made them pay for a few things when they turned 16 (cell phone, car insurance if they want their license. If they want to get their license, get a part time job and pay for your own insurance.).

 

We got married very young, right out of high school.  We got jobs and paid for 100% of our own bills and sent DH through college without asking for anything from our parents. We raised children during an age much younger than most, and did it all on our own. We definitely learned the value of hard work and being independent.

 

So, even now- we have one adult son, who is in full time college. We have given him zero dollars towards college. It is his job to fill out his FAFSA, apply for scholarships, or pay for the remaining money if there is more.   He has a job, where he works about 30 hours a week.  He bought his own cheap car, after saving for a while. He even moved out and rents a small house with two of his friends and they all pay their own bills (his choice). He has never been bitter with us for not helping him out, and actually seems thankful that he is learning true financial responsibility..

 

We will do the exact same thing with our daughters too. Our older daughter has had her permit for over a year.  Not because she's a bad daughter, its because she hasn't found a part time job yet to pay for her car insurance.

 

 

Are we the only ones?? I often feel like I am.  Not trying to judge others at all, because I'm not in their situation.  Just want to find others like me :)

 

No you aren't the only one, but certainly the group is small.

 

My oldest got her first job at 13 (working at my sister's cake shop, the one that was just sold.)  She got a cell phone that year also.  We paid for the cell phone for the first  year, and we then made her pay for her own.  In fact, we had switched from a regular monthly bill, to prepaid with a carrier that rolled it over...she could make one set of purchased minutes make it like 3 months lol.  When she turned 16, we had her get her license, she wasn't interested at first, but we basically forced her....which she now thanks me for.  After getting her license, she picked up a second job by HER choice.  At that point she bought her car (which was actually a vehicle that a family member had that needed repairs, so...she paid for my dad to do the repairs, and then the car was hers, basically just the cost of the repairs.)  She also pay her own car insurance, gas, plates, etc.

 

We also don't pay for DD21's school or mess with the FAFSA either.  She is living in an apartment near campus with some roommates, handles her own rent, groceries, etc.  She doesn't seem to resent us for it, but she does struggle with the idea she has to work when other students don't.  She has a scholarship that covers her tuition and books (she started applying for scholarships in middle school, actually got some pretty cool other opportunities like having dinner with Danica Patrick, etc) and she does get a bit of a Pell Grant, that she sets aside and budgets to cover her rent.

 

Now....I am not a heartless, kick the kid out at 18, don't let the door hit ya in the butt on the way out parent as people often seem to assume when I say I make my adult children responsible for their own choices and expenses.  The truth is, we ARE within communtable distance to her school, though right on the line there.  She could live here and commute if she wanted.  And if she did, she would do so rent free, though she would still have to pay for her car expenses etc.  When I say we don't mess with the FAFSA, I mean that we DO give her all the information she needs, it's just her responsibility to plug it in where it's supposed to go and meet the deadlines, etc. 

 

Also, we give her gas money if she has reason to need it.....like when FIL passed and she not only had extra driving she was doing, but missing work.  And this past summer, she took a storm chasing trip for school, but the tuition and fees were not covered by her scholarship because it was over the summer.  So, we did contribute some, as did my parents and FIL had actually set some aside for it before he passed.  So yeah, it's not like we totally cut her off or anything.  But we raised her with the intention of having her become an adult and if she's old enough to go sign up to drive over landmines in Iraq, she's certainly old enough to figure out adult responsibilities like paying her own bills. 

 

Edited by happysmileylady

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We always said we wouldn't help. (Responsibility & all that...)

However, when we started running numbers, turns out colleges expect parents to contribute.

 

Ds can't take out enough in loans to pay state school tuition without our assistance.

He'll have a full year in at the CC before going to a 4 year (he's eyeing a 5 yr bsms program), so that will help.

 

I worked two jobs in college, full time , plus had a demanding major. I don't wish that on anyone and not everyone can handle that load.

 

We did not recommend private schools because of it.

At the state school, with automatic merit aid, & loans, & our smallish EFC (that we will pay) he should be able to pull it off with savings from his 529 (funded by g ma, not us)-

we didn't save as we were living on one smaller income in a small house with a medically fragile child and fostering for years. We will save for the younger kids now that our circumstances are different.

 

Eta- he's not driving yet, so no car expenses

Edited by Hilltopmom
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We help as much as we can, but it is nowhere near what colleges expect, so that limits our kid's options.

 

We don't give our children our tax returns, so they couldn't fill out FAFSA on their own. I research university scholarships and let them know what I find.

 

My dh and I put ourselves through college and got married during college. That is mmeaningless in today's college world. Costs are not comparable. If we could help more, we would.

 

I am not thrilled or proud that we can't do more. It is just is what it is. We can't do more. Our kids are extremely successful despite of our budgetary constraints, not bc of them. Fwiw, it would break my heart if my kids were having to work close to full-time to make ends meet while in college. I am very thankful that we can offer more help than that.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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I don't think there is a specific right or wrong. I do think if you have the income to be able to help with college then that is a good thing. Also, if the parents have the income it will show up on the FAFSA and may limit what the student is able to get from the college. I do think it puts a student in an unfair position if others can get money from a school, but they can't because of their family's income, but the family doesn't contribute to the costs. I know life's not fair and everyone has to learn to live with what they are dealt. 

 

I've gotten a lot of flack by paying for a lot of things for my oldest. He is very smart, but has learning disabilities. A lot of his energy has been spent learning how to learn at a high level with his learning disabilities. There is no way that he would be able to accomplish what he has done academically if he also needed to work and support himself or pay for his insurance, tuition, etc. He's on a path to be a self-sufficient educated adult, but he would not be where he is today if I he had to work in high school.

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I'm not sure why you are trying to "find others like me" as you put it???

 

As one of my good friends always says, "You do you." It isn't what we have chosen to do, but I'm doing me. We are full-freight at a private university.

 

IME there is a big distinction between being unable to help and being able to help but choosing not to. When my dh graduated from our state flagship university, the tuition per year (at 15 credit hours per semester) was $900. Tuition cost now is more than ten times that amount. I think working one's way through college is a lot more difficult to accomplish now than it was 30 years ago.

 

We have friends who live pretty extravagantly (fancy house, cars, travel, LOTS of wining and dining out) who refused to pay anything for their son's college education because their parents hadn't helped them. They just refused to help on "principle," not because it wasn't feasible. There absolutely have been some repercussions on family relationships because of their choice.

 

Having one's college paid for does not preclude one from learning financial responsibility.

Edited by Hoggirl
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I'm not judging anyone. Family cultures and finances vary a lot. But I'll just say this --

 

DH had to work his way through college. And even before oldest was conceived he was adamant that there was no way on earth he'd make his own kids do that. And keep in mind that it was much easier to work ones way through college when he did it than it is now. Especially with the way the FAFSA is done if parents who can help don't or won't . . . it makes it so incredibly tough on the kids.

Edited by Pawz4me
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I am still suffering 30 years later from chronic illness that started in college from the huge burden I had from working 3 jobs and taking a full load of classes. My kids work hard but I am not going to put my kids' health or financial future at risk for bragging rights. Not saying that others are doing that but I think that there is a lot to consider. Yes, I want kids who have a good work ethic (and I do) but I also want them to know that families work together and extend grace to each other including financial help as they are able.

 

 

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We are not paying for our Oldest's college or housing. We make his car payments and I think his dad gives him a small gas stipend and that's it. He pays all his own groceries, housing, etc and has a full scholarship for food and books (plus a stipend... when the Air Force can be bothered to pay it which they haven't for the last 5 months) and works both as a tutor and a TA. We have loaned him money while waiting for the Air Force to pay out for books and to make ends meet while waiting for his stipend... and he will eventually get the back pay for his stipend.

 

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Aid is calculated based on parental income. Our income is such that the amount of need based aid our children receive would be insufficient for them to cover their college cost even if they worked full time. 

 

I understand that many families are unable to assist with finances, and that is simply reality. 

I do not understand the rationale behind being able to assist but refusing to do so. In my experience, carrying staggering college cost is not a prerequisite to becoming a financially responsible adult, as all the financially responsible people show who have grown up in countries that value education and offer free college, DH and myself included.

Not having to hold a near to full time job enabled my DD to complete a double major and to also do copious amounts of unpaid volunteer work. Having her tuition paid allows her to run a program that offers free ACT tutoring to 200 local high school students from mostly underserved neighborhoods each semester. I consider this a very valuable use of our family's financial resources that in no way detracts from  the kids' personal growth and development.

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I am still suffering 30 years later from chronic illness that started in college from the huge burden I had from working 3 jobs and taking a full load of classes. My kids work hard but I am not going to put my kids' health or financial future at risk for bragging rights. Not saying that others are doing that but I think that there is a lot to consider. Yes, I want kids who have a good work ethic (and I do) but I also want them to know that families work together and extend grace to each other including financial help as they are able.

 

 

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This is how we feel. We take an approach of "we are all in this together." We want our kids to launch and be stable as adults. Our kids want us to be secure and not rely on them in our retirement. We all have the same goals and are working together.

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I think it can be doable for the right student in the right situation, especially those students with stats to get merit scholarships or those students with both stats and high need who get admitted to a meets-need school (which tend to be competitive).

 

However, for students who aren't eligible for financial aid and don't have high-enough stats for merit scholarships at any level of school, in many states paying one's own way entirely to a 4-yr school is not realistic.  Room and board alone at many schools run in the neighborhood of 15k; that *might* be covered between a student's earnings and federal student loan, but that doesn't touch much of tuition.

 

My suggestion would be to examine this question as early as possible so that the family has realistic expectations, for costs, for the types of stats it may take for merit scholarships at any level of school, and for possible alternatives such as starting at community college.  I think it's important for all to be aware that certain factors in a student's situation - such as the family financial picture (EFC) and state of residence (cost of in-state options) - are entirely outside of the student's control.

 

(As an aside, I worked 30+ hrs per week for most of college and yes, in retrospect, that was too much.  We are full-pay and fortunately we will be able to do so.  Nonetheless, there will be value comparisons of possible options.)

Edited by wapiti
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This is how we feel. We take an approach of "we are all in this together." We want our kids to launch and be stable as adults. Our kids want us to be secure and not rely on them in our retirement. We all have the same goals and are working together.

 

We see it in a similar way. Family resources are shared resources that are used for the benefit of all family members. Just because the children turned 18 does not change any of this. 

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One aspect I want to mention that we often discuss with our advisees:

 

working too many hours may not be a financially sound decision when it delays a student's graduation.

The graduates of the public university where I teach make an average starting salary of 60k. Graduating and entering the work force one year late means losing 60k of income. 

Edited by regentrude
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I will also mention that approaching things from a perspective of shared family resources has not in any way spoiled my kids or made them not appreciate the help. Very much to the contrary. There are limited resources and so far my kids have been very frugal and responsible. No one wants to squander what the family has worked so hard for. The two that are working/college age have been eager to do their part and make wise decisions. The fact that we are partnering with them has not spoiled them one bit.

 

All families and kids vary, of course, but my kids have stepped up to the challenge of working together.

Edited by teachermom2834
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We plan to fully support our kids even after they are 18. We have the means to support them financially so will do so. If they also need support with other things (forms, ... basic exuctive function things) they will also get that.

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Just FTR...my kid does NOT work full time hours.  She only works between 15 and 25 hrs a week during the school year.  I think she has 18 this week.  Her tuition and books is covered by a scholarship.  It is a state scholarship that is both needs and merit based.  She was actually grandfathered in because the needs requirements had changed and we would no longer qualify but she was already enrolled.  The Pell grant she gets is only like $2k or so for the year.  But what's funny is that covers her rent.....but wouldn't even come close to half her room and board if she were on campus.  It's actually cheaper to live OFF campus and share an apartment than it is to live in a dorm.  And she has more space.

 

 

Edited by happysmileylady

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Count me in the chorus saying that there is a difference between being unable to help and choosing not to help. We help as much as we can, as dh's parents helped him and mine helped very little and yes, that impacted my relationship with them. With our EFC being what it is, there is no way that the kids can earn and borrow enough without going to school part-time. Part-time, imho, merely extends the time in which loan are racked up and people get sidetracked. Get the degree and get going on a career.

Ds1 worked in high school and during the summers and he has saved money that is used for his living expenses. We help when we can, but he will have some small loans (which we hope to help with), but he does work hard. The priority is graduation. He does not have a car which helps considerably to keep expenses down.

 

Dd2 swam about 20 hours a week during the last two years of high school. That investment resulted in a very nice swimming scholarship and it is worth considerably more than if she had worked. Now, her swimming is, in fact, her job. She earns her scholarship every single day, either with practice, team meetings or "mandatory fun," or "volunteer service." We cover the gaps (she also does not have a car), but she also looks out for more scholarship opportunities and has been surprisingly successful at tracking them down.

 

The other kids are different. Dd2 hopes for a scholarship track like her sister and ds3 is looking at the athletic options for him (not nearly as lucrative). But we will help to the best of our ability. I don't think that my kids work less hard (academics and sports) than any other kid who gets a paycheck. It is just different. What works for you and your family is great. What works for us is great, too.

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I am really not sure how any kid could pay their entire way through college especially not if they are not eligible for pell grants and live in a high COL area.  

 

We paid what we could for college for both our daughters, they both have loans of around 1/3 of their annual salary.

 

One of my daughters has decided to back to school for a nursing degree (BSN) which will take her two years full-time.  She is on her own for that.  We cannot pay.  We live in a high COL area.  Tuition at our local 4-year is $11,300, she will not not receive any need-based aid as she is under 26 and we make too much).  We calculated that she needed $13,000/ year to support herself in our area if she lives with us free-of charge (that is not a fancy life either) To live in a shared apartment with 2-3 others will cost her $28,800 per year.(once again, very low-key living)

 

Working 20 hours per week she would need to make $23-$38/hour in order to pay those bills.

 

It is great that your son is making it work but you may have trouble finding a lot of other families that have the right set of circumstances to make that scenario possible.

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Ds works 20 hours a week during the school year and full time during the summer. It is not ideal. There are times when it impacts his studies. But he got a job in his field right out of high school. They accommodate his school hours. He sees this job as valuable hands on experience in his field that most of his college peers won't have.

 

 

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I think it can be doable for the right student in the right situation, especially those students with stats to get merit scholarships or those students with both stats and high need who get admitted to a meets-need school (which tend to be competitive).)

I agree bc my kids have done it. But, honestly, they haven't done it on their own, and it is doubtful that they would have been able to. If they had had to work long job hrs in high school or had been expected research universities and scholarships entirely on their own, then their options would have been even more limited. They don't have the knowledge or insight into the college application process that I have in order to know how to research schools, nor with the class load that made them competitive for the scholarships in the first place did they have the time to dedicate to scholarship research.

 

Worth my time? Absolutely considering for just my 2 current college students alone their scholarships total around $270,000. (Lol! I guess if I look at it at from the perspective that they are in school for 7 yrs(1 overlapping), that means I earned $38,500/yr for my time spent researching. :) )

 

But, in addition to the scholarship money, the special opportunities they are offered are invaluable. There is an opportunity cost to factor into all of these decisions.

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I suspect we will be there. Dh just doesn't make enough income to help, and I doubt things are going to change much in the next 7 years income wise. I was expected to apply, visit and choose my college myself. My parents helped me with the FAFSA numbers that I needed from them, and they were willing to pay my tuition and books for cc. After that it was on me. I was also expected to pay for my own clothes at 16. Dhs parents were a little more hands on in choosing and applying for college, but they only paid room and board. Dh was responsible for the rest. I think both ways were reasonable. I hope we can come up with something like that. I think it's good to have the child take the reigns in this stuff as it's good for them to ease into being a grown up.

 

 

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Edited by SamanthaCarter

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I agree bc my kids have done it. But, honestly, they haven't done it on their own, and it is doubtful that they would have been able to. If they had had to work long job hrs in high school or had been expected research universities and scholarships entirely on their own, then their options would have been even more limited. They don't have the knowledge or insight into the college application process that I have in order to know how to research schools, nor with the class load that made them competitive for the scholarships in the first place did they have the time to dedicate to scholarship research.

 

Worth my time? Absolutely considering for just my 2 current college students alone their scholarships total around $270,000. (Lol! I guess if I look at it at from the perspective that they are in school for 7 yrs(1 overlapping), that means I earned $38,500/yr for my time spent researching. :) )

 

But, in addition to the scholarship money, the special opportunities they are offered are invaluable. There is an opportunity cost to factor into all of these decisions.

 

This is a very, very important point.

 

The value of your personal effort in helping them find unique and fitting opportunities, not to mention setting them up academically to pave the way, cannot be understated.  This is a parent contribution of the best kind.

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To each their own.

 

If I didn't help my kids, they wouldn't qualify for any financial aid. The only student loans they qualify for are unsubsidized. I'd much rather help them now than have them graduate with loads of debt. Fortunately, we started saving for their college educations when they were born, so they each have a nice, but finite, amount of savings to use for tuition.

 

With that said, both of my girls work and go to school. My younger daughter works 35 hours a week because she's adamant about paying her own rent. Last week, I had to convince her to let me pay for her new glasses. My kids all have strong work ethics and appreciate their blessings. They both pay for their own rent, food and incidentals. I cover car insurance.

 

When I was in college, my parents would have LOVED to help me, but couldn't give me anything. I worked very hard to support myself through college. I have no desire to have my kids go through that.I can help, so I do. 

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My dad made too much money for me to qualify for help and he refused to pay for a liberal arts degree. It crippled my education. I will help my kids out as much as possible. My husband's parents helped us out when we were getting started and it made the difference between a cycle of abject poverty and upward mobility. We intend to pass that along to our kids. But we have also raised them so they do not expect our money rather they see it as a gift and honor the work involved. 

 

 

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Are we the only ones?? I often feel like I am.  Not trying to judge others at all, because I'm not in their situation.  Just want to find others like me :)

 

Because OP explicitly said she was wanting to find others like her, we should take her at her word and not feel defensive about our decisions.

OP, the majority of discussions on these boards center around families who work very hard, and collaboratively, to find unique undergraduate opportunities and moneys to launch their young adults.  The collective wisdom on here is invaluable in making those efforts fruitful for many of us.  

There just isn't going to be the necessity of discussion between the more independent families like your own who value early autonomous effort over collaboration.  I agree with SkateLeft who said, "To each their own."

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With an EFC of over $30,000 there's no way my kids could go it on their own unless they did cc. I've told my kids for years that the more effort they put into school and work the more choices that would likely be available to them. They work very hard at their school work and have lots of outside interests/activities. And I'm okay with that. If not now, when? They'll have a lifetime to worry about money! Since we do have the means to help out, I would like to give them a choice beyond cc. DD (a senior now) really wants a small LAC. I'd like to see her go somewhere where she feels she would be successful. She does have a job and is very good about money. She pays for her car insurance, her clothing, and other things like movies and lunches out (which are rare) and puts a lot into savings. She will most likely work when she goes away to college, though hopefully not too many hours.

 

If we literally did not have any means to help her, then she would have no choice but to pay most/all of her own way, which would definitely be cc.

 

ETA, we are definitely looking at the best schools with regards to merit; we're not giving her carte blanche as far as colleges. DD knows we have limitations on what we'll pay. Thankfully I think she's got some good options.

Edited by whitestavern
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Are we the only ones?? I often feel like I am.  Not trying to judge others at all, because I'm not in their situation.  Just want to find others like me :)

 

OP - You are NOT the only one, but it might feel like it when you ask certain groups.

 

You have to decide what is best for your family and instill those values in your kids. Many, many times I am walking a path that is very different from my friends or those I know, but I have to do what I feel is right for my family. What is best for one child may not be the same for the next so I don't always treat all my kids the same either.

 

It sounds like you and your son are making this work well. However, I don't think it works well for everyone in various situations. I certainly advocate buying cheap cars, looking for cheap living costs, and learning financial responsibility. How you teach this varies from family to family and also often depends on the family finances. I do think many forget to take into consideration the opportunity costs of what you lose out on by having to work - and I don't mean social time. 

 

I would also caution anyone that wants to argue that they worked their way through college years ago that college prices have risen ridiculously faster than everything else in the economy so it is no longer an equal comparison.

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DH and I made the decision several years ago, that when our kids turned 18, they are adults and can pay for all their own expenses. We even made them pay for a few things when they turned 16 (cell phone, car insurance if they want their license. If they want to get their license, get a part time job and pay for your own insurance.).

 

We got married very young, right out of high school. We got jobs and paid for 100% of our own bills and sent DH through college without asking for anything from our parents. We raised children during an age much younger than most, and did it all on our own. We definitely learned the value of hard work and being independent.

 

So, even now- we have one adult son, who is in full time college. We have given him zero dollars towards college. It is his job to fill out his FAFSA, apply for scholarships, or pay for the remaining money if there is more. He has a job, where he works about 30 hours a week. He bought his own cheap car, after saving for a while. He even moved out and rents a small house with two of his friends and they all pay their own bills (his choice). He has never been bitter with us for not helping him out, and actually seems thankful that he is learning true financial responsibility..

 

We will do the exact same thing with our daughters too. Our older daughter has had her permit for over a year. Not because she's a bad daughter, its because she hasn't found a part time job yet to pay for her car insurance.

 

 

Are we the only ones?? I often feel like I am. Not trying to judge others at all, because I'm not in their situation. Just want to find others like me :)

I think that it was more common for our generation to have to pay for our own college. At first I thought it was good because I saw many kids waste a lot of money partying etc. When you blow through 18 years of scraping and saving to party and not finish your degree, well, yikes. I don't know what else to say about that. So I'm one that would have agreed.

 

I have changed over the years though. My family is closer than my childhood family. They work hard. They also have some unique circumstances and disabilities. I will do my best to help now and am attempting to save as much as I can though it feels a little futile. We don't make enough to pay full cost and yet my children's cost will still be much higher than mine was especially living in a state with extraordinarily few options. Having no option but to go out of state makes costs jump through the roof.

 

I could handle three jobs when I was young. I could hanndle a lot when I was young. I think it did make me recognize a lot of things, be more thankful, etc. I also missed out on other opportunities and such so there are costs and benefits both ways. I'm not saying my children with help won't be thankful. I'm sure they will. They are pretty understanding and hard working. But I do think it gave me an opportunity to see things from a different perspective.

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My guys have jobs and help out with their expenses, but we help too. Why? Because we want to help them get the best start possible just like our parents did for us. Family wealth is passed on and increased that way in our experience.

 

Hubby and I could have done it all ourselves if we had needed to, but there's no way we'd be where we are now financially if we had had to do it. We're very thankful for our parents. Knowing the difference is why we have chosen to help our guys get a foot up too. So far it has worked very well.

 

Not being able to help is one thing. Not choosing to help is completely different.

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We pay for our kids' college. 

 

I just question how your kids can pay for car insurance first without having a job. Do you live in walking distance to place that will employ them, or do you have to drive them for a bit to and from work until they get their first paycheck?  Or do they pay you back once they have saved enough? Our experience has been that teens do not get enough hours to earn much money anyways. Just wondering, not judging? 

 

We got married young - right out of college and had to pay for dh to get his master's degree without any help from our parents. It was super hard since the tuition bill came before my first paycheck. Sometimes the timing of it all is so hard; it was made worse by the fact that I did not get my first paycheck until the end of September even though I started working mid-August. 

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If you think your approach is working then do that.

 

My siblings and I went to college in the late 70s early 80s. At that time, you could work your butt off at minimum or slightly over minimum wage jobs in summer and need very minimal (very) loans or a small job during the school year to pay for a good state university.

 

Today college costs have increased at a pace far higher than the wage increases of jobs typically available to young people. IOW there is no way to earn the tuition to state university with summer and part time work.

 

Additionally, when I was in college getting declared independent financially was relatively easy, so getting grants and basic loans was easy.

 

Just looking at the basic math of college costs it made more sense for our family to take a different approach than yours. Since we are able to help, we do. It is actually quite hard for us, but we'd rather our DC not be hindered by working too much or by taking out mega loans.

 

Anyway, if it's working for your family proceed.

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I just question how your kids can pay for car insurance first without having a job. Do you live in walking distance to place that will employ them, or do you have to drive them for a bit to and from work until they get their first paycheck?  Or do they pay you back once they have saved enough? Our experience has been that teens do not get enough hours to earn much money anyways. Just wondering, not judging? 

 

My oldest started working at 13 and I drove her.  It was at a family business, and at first she was working "under the table."  It became a "real" job around the time she turned 15, at that point she went from being there on random Saturdays or Sundays, to having an actual schedule.  She worked that job until she went off to school at 18, and even then, showed up when she felt like it on weekends and stuff.  I don't think she officially quit there until like 2 yrs ago.  So, she already had a job for several years before she started paying for car insurance.

 

But also, these things are pretty fluid in our family.  The concept doesn't rely on super strict must be able to give exactly the $85.26 that is your first month's car insurance payment.  If it takes a bit to get there, then we pay the car insurance until the kid is able to take over.  No big deal.  Like I said, I am not some kind of heartless parent with super strict deadlines that never helps my kid and would just let her ruin her entire life.  If she needed help with groceries because she was off work for two weeks because of a school thing, then I would give her money for groceries.  Or....just give her the groceries, I have plenty.  When she was off work when FIL passed, we gave her whatever she needed, covered her cell phone, car insurance etc.  When she needed extra money for tuition for summer school we gave it to her.  And we still pay all of her medical expenses, so again, it's not like we have up and cut her off or anything.

 

We all help each other out all the time. 

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We are unable to help a lot but we help as we can. I think that it is good for parents to help their kids to get started especially now when life is so much more expensive for young people. So far Ds has paid all of his college expenses for community college but we are saving money to help with the state university after that.

 

 

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This. 16 yr old dd has a chronic illness (and possibly a second; waiting on a specialist to see for sure), and we would do anything we could to help her so she doesn't have to wear herself ragged trying to make ends meet and afford college. 

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We plan to help (and are paying for the tuition and books for our oldest's dual enrollment courses). But I feel strongly this is our GIFT to our children rather than our obligation. I know this puts me in the minority these days but I don't care

 

 

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My oldest started working at 13 and I drove her.  It was at a family business, and at first she was working "under the table."  It became a "real" job around the time she turned 15, at that point she went from being there on random Saturdays or Sundays, to having an actual schedule.  She worked that job until she went off to school at 18, and even then, showed up when she felt like it on weekends and stuff.  I don't think she officially quit there until like 2 yrs ago.  So, she already had a job for several years before she started paying for car insurance.

 

But also, these things are pretty fluid in our family.  The concept doesn't rely on super strict must be able to give exactly the $85.26 that is your first month's car insurance payment.  If it takes a bit to get there, then we pay the car insurance until the kid is able to take over.  No big deal.  Like I said, I am not some kind of heartless parent with super strict deadlines that never helps my kid and would just let her ruin her entire life.  If she needed help with groceries because she was off work for two weeks because of a school thing, then I would give her money for groceries.  Or....just give her the groceries, I have plenty.  When she was off work when FIL passed, we gave her whatever she needed, covered her cell phone, car insurance etc.  When she needed extra money for tuition for summer school we gave it to her.  And we still pay all of her medical expenses, so again, it's not like we have up and cut her off or anything.

 

We all help each other out all the time. 

Thanks for explaining. I had a friend who insisted on her kid being able to pay all car expenses before getting her license  and then complained about how she had to drive her kid everywhere. 

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We plan to help (and are paying for the tuition and books for our oldest's dual enrollment courses). But I feel strongly this is our GIFT to our children rather than our obligation. I know this puts me in the minority these days but I don't care

 

 

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I really like thinking of it that way.

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Are we the only ones?? I often feel like I am.  Not trying to judge others at all, because I'm not in their situation.  Just want to find others like me :)

 

Why do you want to find others like you?  You seem pretty confident in your choices, so I don't see the point in rallying a support group.

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We plan to help (and are paying for the tuition and books for our oldest's dual enrollment courses). But I feel strongly this is our GIFT to our children rather than our obligation. I know this puts me in the minority these days but I don't care

 

 

 

I agree that it is my GIFT to my kids rather than my obligation. My parents have gifted me with my first degree and in other ways. We have pointed out through the years how the grandparents are giving gifts to our family and we hope to be in the position to be able to pass that gift giving on to our children and grandchildren. In my family, it is more an attitude of paying it forward.

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For all the posters claiming that students who don't qualify for need-based financial aid have only the options of massive debt or not going to college, this is false.

 

The military offers money for college through both ROTC (where the student attends college first and completes the military obligation after graduation) and the GI Bill (where the individual enlists first and attends college either while serving or after).

 

 

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For all the posters claiming that students who don't qualify for need-based financial aid have only the options of massive debt or not going to college, this is false.

The military offers money for college through both ROTC (where the student attends college first and completes the military obligation after graduation) and the GI Bill (where the individual enlists first and attends college either while serving or after).

 

and there are numerous reasons this may not be an option for the student.

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For all the posters claiming that students who don't qualify for need-based financial aid have only the options of massive debt or not going to college, this is false.

 

The military offers money for college through both ROTC (where the student attends college first and completes the military obligation after graduation) and the GI Bill (where the individual enlists first and attends college either while serving or after).

 

 

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Again, no one should join the military for the sole purpose of college tuition. The military needs people who actually want to be there. If you want to serve education is a nice bonus.

 

Secondly, not everyone who wants to serve can. My dc have disqualifying medical diagnosis.

 

So yeah there are a lot of people for whom massive debt would be the only option without parental help.

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I think it's a huge gift to kids to set them up to be in a position to launch and fly and they graduate college rather than weighed down by a large burden of student debt.  A huge reason we were able to homeschool is because we both had been working professionally for years and had no debt at all other than a mortgage.  That has put us in a position to be done paying our mortgage in 2019 when our oldest graduates high school.  Paying it forward.  My husband paid for his own college education and his employer paid for his masters.  But that was a different time for sure.  My parents helped me and I'm very grateful.  I had many jobs during both high school and college.  And got a great job right out of college - no debt.

 

Given our projected EFC, not helping is not at all is not a realistic option for us.  CC would be the only option.  My 16 year old is able to do free CC now due to state paid dual enrollment.  He is aligned to have some merit and possible talent opportunities that wouldn't otherwise be available to him had he we not been pretty nose to the grindstone during the high school years.  Which has been a risk that we still don't know is going to pay.  So he as not had a regular paying job to this point.  Maybe next summer.   He has a good friend that is academic but does nothing in terms of extracurricular activities.  He is working 20 hours a week at 16.  That works for him.   Different doors will be closed to him because of that choice but he has much more cash at hand than my 16 year old.   Not everyone is well suited to military options for college.

 

It is really a combo of factors that determines how families proceed.  I really think it is not as simple as just saying "who is choosing not to help their college aid student financially?".   I think each family chooses  what will work for them given a variety of factors.  I also think it's a huge mistake for parents to take on heavy debt for their kid's college.  It's a huge gift to you kids to be well set up for retirement so they aren't feeling like they need to take on a financial burden while they are raising their own families which is another important consideration.

Edited by WoolySocks
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If the college degree is worth the price (that is, the specific degree/field is likely to return a salary that makes it worth having gotten the degree), the n Idon't see the problem with loans, as that is the point of loans.

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If the college degree is worth the price (that is, the specific degree/field is likely to return a salary that makes it worth having gotten the degree), the n Idon't see the problem with loans, as that is the point of loans.

 

Oh I don't disagree at all.  Keeping it under a projected single years starting salary is a decent guideline. 

 

This is a story our local paper did on college debt that is absolutely nuts.  This woman is taking out 100K PER YEAR for vet school.  And her husband is working as an engineer.  I do not understand at all.  She had in state options too.  She also had the option of moving and establishing residency and starting later.  So many poor decisions.  And it's not like I'm unsympathetic.  Banks are far too willing to loan money irresponsibly. 

http://www.startribune.com/debt-swallows-up-students-at-vet-grad-professional-schools/275017651/

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We have a deal with our kids. They can borrow what they need out of our savings and investments, but when they graduate they must move back in rent free and work until the debt is repaid. That works here because while we could help one or two or maybe three, we wouldn't have the money to help all of them and still save for retirement. We're giving them interest free loans but staying solvent for the next round of expenses. Also this doesn't penalize the ones who take the merit scholarships at lower tier state schools to save money.

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Again, no one should join the military for the sole purpose of college tuition. The military needs people who actually want to be there. If you want to serve education is a nice bonus.

As long as the service member does a good job during his/her time in uniform, I don't see anything wrong with someone who would otherwise not choose to o serve joining the military for the college money.

 

My DH would not have done ROTC if his parents had paid for his college but that doesn't mean he was a bad officer. He did well and got strong performance reviews from his commanders.

 

I don't see why joining the military for its college tuition benefits is any different from a civilian taking a particular job because it offers generous health insurance benefits. People do that all the time and nobody criticizes THEM for it.

 

 

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