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charlotteb

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

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I put myself through college and grad school without a dime from my parents. It sucked. I was poor, often didn't have enough to eat, and usually lived in parts of town that were not very safe. And that was a million years ago when college costs were a fraction of what they are today. I don't subscribe to the philosophy that "I suffered when I was your age, so you should, too." There are many ways to teach financial responsibility without making my child's life more difficult just for the heck of it.

 

DS worked his butt off, both academically and athletically, and earned a full tuition scholarship to a great school that is #1 in his sport and top 10 in his major. There's no way he could devote 30 hrs/wk to a D1 sport, keep his GPA high enough to get into a good grad school, and work enough hours to cover R&B and books and other expenses. Without family help he would either have to take on a great deal of debt or turn down his dream school and work while going to the local CC, which has exactly zero courses in his major. It's one thing if parents truly have no choice because the money simply isn't there, but I would never just arbitrarily refuse to help my child in order to "teach him a lesson." There are plenty of other ways to do that besides crushing his dreams.

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We helped oldest dd through her undergrad but nothing beyond that. She had a lot of merit money. She has some small loans from her second master's.

 

Next one had a "free ride" at USNA, but of course, signing those "2 for 7" papers meant she was writing a blank check to the US gov't possibly up to her life. She still owes a lot of time to the Navy as she is an aviator. She's doing her master's on her Navy money.

 

Next one went AROTC, but was injured several times. She's now out, but she did take some small loans for that last year. She paid dearly for that "free" tuition money as she's in constant pain, looking at a 4th surgery.

 

Next one again, is writing a check to the US gov't with AFROTC. He mentioned the other day that he sometimes resented that we don't help him at all (other than his car insurance) but then he remembered we paid for all his DE allowing him to take a lighter load every semester. He is able to work 25-30 hours a week because of it. He's finally out of substandard housing this year (he lived in his car for awhile but we couldn't help as dh had lost his job).

 

The last one converted her Type 7 AFROTC (instate) scholarship to a Type 3 (OOS) but it only covers 3 years. However, it's the same price as the instate schools because her college covers R&B for ROTC kids. Her grandpa money helped pay forh er freshman year. 

 

It's a relief to ONLY have 4 of our family in school this year--last year it was 8 of us!

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Yeah, as others have mentioned, it really wouldn't be reasonable for us to take the stance you've taken. Although we have pretty restricted cash flow for a variety of reasons, on paper our income is high enough that our kids do not qualify for need-based aid. 

 

My husband's parents weren't exactly supportive when he tried to go to college. He quit and never went back, and that choice made before he was out of his teens has affected his entire adult life. Several times over the years, we considered sending him back to school, but by the time he realized he wanted/needed to go, we were a single-income family with two young kids and couldn't scrape together the money to make it happen. Without a degree, he has topped out at work. He's too old to risk jumping to a different company, in order to move his career forward. So, this is as far as he will go. Period. 

 

Meanwhile, I got in over my head financially in the first few years after I graduated and, after several years of struggling, I fell behind in paying off my student loans. For the record, I started at community college and graduated from a state university. The loans were small, but I made very little when I first graduated (before income-based repayment plans were available) and had a lot of responsibilities. Because I let the loans go into default, the university has withheld official transcripts, meaning that I cannot apply for graduate programs and that any job that requires access to those records is out of reach for me. Over the years, I've made multiple attempts to get on a reasonable payment plan, without success. In the meantime, the total I owe has ballooned to about three times what I originally borrowed, and I will probably end up having my Social Security checks dinged to pay it off.

 

Consequently, we vowed to move heaven and earth to help our kids finish some kind of post-high school education (whether that's a traditional undergrad degree or a vocational or certification program or whatever is appropriate for that kid) without incurring debt. 

 

Now, that doesn't mean they live cushy, indulged lives. 

 

Our daughter's situation was unusual and so probably not meaningful to discuss in depth. I will say that she went to college early, moved out when she was 19 and has been almost entirely self-supporting since then. (She is on our medical insurance, but that doesn't cost us anything out of pocket.) She juggles multiple jobs and buys her clothes at Goodwill and lives in a third-floor walk-up with a recurring bug problem and without central A/C. She occasionally lets us help with small random expenses or buy her some groceries.

 

Our son is in school now. The state scholarship program covers about 40% of his tuition. As I said earlier, he does not qualify for any need-based aid. So, we pay the balance, buy his textbooks and provide a small (like $30 a week) amount of money for things like lunches at school. We sold him my old car for less than it would have cost him to buy a comparable beater, but enough that he felt it when he had to withdraw the money from his account. In addition to carrying a full-time academic load, he works part-time and pays for his gas and tolls, half of his auto insurance, all of his entertainment and any clothing beyond the very basic clothing allowance we provide. He is a member of a theatre troupe that rehearses four nights a week, a valuable resume builder for someone who hopes to make a career in that field. He has also been in a stable and (mostly) healthy relationship with is girlfriend for almost two years. 

 

There would be no way he could do most of the things he's doing now if he had to be completely financially independent.

 

We don't have a ton of disposable income, but we help as much as we can.

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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.

 

I know I sound like a broken record and that many posters here will never agree with me, but I dispute the concept that a degree is "worth it" only as  a gateway to a particular salary. I stubbornly hold onto the idea that the primary goal of getting an education should be getting an education.

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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).

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Ds is a senior this year. He's in the top 5% of his class of 700. We can't afford college without merit aid. He is also transgender and TPTB have decided he can't serve in the military like every other male has on both sides of his family. It's not as easy as you make it out to be.

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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.

 

I think the idea is that people who serve in the military carry an unusual and specific burden and incur unusual and specific risks, very different from a typical civilian job. Someone who isn't suited to the lifestyle or committed to the mission -- and especially someone who has personal characteristics or beliefs that conflict with the military's policies -- would not be an asset.

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Ds is a senior this year. He's in the top 5% of his class of 700. We can't afford college without merit aid. He is also transgender and TPTB have decided he can't serve in the military like every other male has on both sides of his family. It's not as easy as you make it out to be.

 

I can't "like" this (and can't figure out how to explain why without violating the board's no-politics rules), but I want to thank you for sharing your son's story. 

Edited by Jenny in Florida
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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.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

 

One  problem is that many recruiters used the college tuition angle to recruit during peace times.  The pressure on recruiters can be immense. When we ended up with a Gulf War where we had some ( maybe many troops) who weren't prepared to serve, it was a hot topic.  This was a large  problem during the late 80's and early 90's.    Folks in the National Guard were also affected as they were deployed to fill in the gaps of our active military. 

 

As for the bolded, can you please take another look at your statement?  There is a much different commitment to our military than to a civilian organization that won't see combat.    I don't think anyone is criticizing anyone for joining  the military for the money as long as they're willing to fulfill a combat commitment.   

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I think the idea is that people who serve in the military carry an unusual and specific burden and incur unusual and specific risks, very different from a typical civilian job. Someone who isn't suited to the lifestyle or committed to the mission -- and especially someone who has personal characteristics or beliefs that conflict with the military's policies -- would not be an asset.

 

 

You said this so much more succinctly and precisely than I did. 

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I put myself through college and grad school without a dime from my parents. It sucked. I was poor, often didn't have enough to eat, and usually lived in parts of town that were not very safe. And that was a million years ago when college costs were a fraction of what they are today. I don't subscribe to the philosophy that "I suffered when I was your age, so you should, too." There are many ways to teach financial responsibility without making my child's life more difficult just for the heck of it.

 

DS worked his butt off, both academically and athletically, and earned a full tuition scholarship to a great school that is #1 in his sport and top 10 in his major. There's no way he could devote 30 hrs/wk to a D1 sport, keep his GPA high enough to get into a good grad school, and work enough hours to cover R&B and books and other expenses. Without family help he would either have to take on a great deal of debt or turn down his dream school and work while going to the local CC, which has exactly zero courses in his major. It's one thing if parents truly have no choice because the money simply isn't there, but I would never just arbitrarily refuse to help my child in order to "teach him a lesson." There are plenty of other ways to do that besides crushing his dreams.

 

Again, in this scenario I don't see what's wrong with taking on debt (of course I also don't see anything wrong with spending your money as you wish either).  If you're in college to get a degree that will lead to a job that makes more money than a non-degreed job, why would loans be bad?  If you're not in college for that reason, and instead you're just going for the experience or something, then I can see how it makes no sense to take out loans.

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Re: the GI Bill, my husband transferred his to my daughter. She became ill at various times throughout her undergrad years, and though there was an appeal process, twice we found ourselves on the hook for tuition the GI Bill paid for classes she was ultimately unable to complete. Honestly, I simply can't imagine that she could have made it through college and into the place of relative health that she is at now without major familial support after age 18.

 

I was one of those working my way through college back in the day. I can't say that I am better off for the experience than my peers and relatives who had more help.

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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.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Because in the military there are things you must do simply because your commanding officer said to. The military cannot gave people who stop and wonder if this really is worth the tuition they wanted. Such people make military situations unsafe for everyone around them. It is a complete waste of time and money for the military to have trained such an individual.

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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).

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

You have a disabled DD, do you not? Surely it shouldn't be difficult for you to see the problem with your statement.

 

We can afford to pay for our boys' education. Had we not been, I really don't think the military would have opened their arms to DS18 (ASD-1, GAD, scoliosis and spondylolisthesis), even though he's 2e and highly/profoundly gifted in some areas that they could very likely put to good use.

 

At the very least your statement needs some qualifiers. Certainly it doesn't apply to "all" posters.

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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.

 

I am completely puzzled how anybody would liken the two things. Signing your life over to the military is absolutely not the same as taking a job for the benefits. Especially not in the current volatile situation.

 

In a job, unconditional obedience is not required. You can always quit a job if you are concerned that your boss' decisions pose a risk for your life, health, and mental well being, or if you are asked to commit acts that are against your conscience.

 

 

 

Edited by regentrude
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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).

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

I was going to go this route, but after being told by numerous people that many things promised weren't delivered on, I changed my mind.  I heard many stories of students having to stop school midway for military duties.  Several stories of bonuses never paid.  You become the property of the military when you join and your duties to them come before anything else in your life.  No thanks...

 

I don't think this is the greatest option for everyone. 

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I am completely puzzled how anybody would liken the two things. Signing your life over to the military is absolutely not the same as taking a job for the benefits. Especially not in the current volatile situation.

 

In a job, unconditional obedience is not required. You can always quit a job if you are concerned that your boss' decisions pose a risk for your life, health, and mental well being, or if you are asked to commit acts that are against your conscience.

 

Exactly...can't stress this enough.  Nobody should join unless they are ok with that level of commitment. 

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I suspect there is still some level of help going on.  For example, who is paying for drivers ed?  How are the kids getting to their first jobs prior to having transportation?  Do you live in a high cost of living area?  I didn't even have any of these things as help.  Getting through college without help was extremely difficult.  I couldn't afford a car despite working full time.  I had very limited options for jobs.  There was no public transportation so I had to work where I could walk.  There wasn't much within a reasonable walking distance.  That one job I could find paid very little in a high cost of living area.  My parents sometimes gave me rides to the university so that was the one thing they did help with.  Emphasis on sometimes.  I had to often beg someone to get there, and I arranged my schedule so all my classes were on two days per week.  So I was there from 6 in the morning until 9 at night on those two days. 

 

I want to help my kids because my situation made my options highly limited.  I couldn't take advantage of internships.  I had limited options in terms of choosing a major or a school.  I had to go with a school I could get to and choose a major that was doable with working full time.  I don't wish this on anyone.  I wish I could say but hey my character is so strong now.  No..actually I feel kind of resentful and angry sometimes.  Too late now.  I'm 43.  So my goal is to not be like that towards my own kids.  I want them to succeed and have more opportunities than I had. 

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There are tuition-free schools. My favorite one is the Webb Institute, which is a tiny school with one major -- Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering. For the record, it is the top naval architecture program in the country. For the right student, Webb is a great school at a great price.

 

(100% of grads have jobs, and the average salary of grads is in the $80K range.....)

 

There are several other tuition-free schools. They tend to be quite unique, but for the right student they are a fantastic option!

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There are tuition-free schools. My favorite one is the Webb Institute, which is a tiny school with one major -- Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering. For the record, it is the top naval architecture program in the country. For the right student, Webb is a great school at a great price.

 

(100% of grads have jobs, and the average salary of grads is in the $80K range.....)

 

There are several other tuition-free schools. They tend to be quite unique, but for the right student they are a fantastic option!

 

Getting to a tuition free school isn't free though. 

 

State schools are tuition free here now.  There are still fees, transportation, living expenses, books, etc. etc.  It's not exactly "free".  And the school my kid will start off at is down the street.  So that'll make it a heck of a lot more doable. 

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I tried to get a waiver to join via ROTC at college.  Couldn't do it, the poor quality of health services for military dependents back then had already destroyed my vision and teeth that much.  Back then there were no GI bill benefits to transfer to children.

 

I only know one child in the OP's situation. That child is doing things to earn cash that no one should be doing, in order to supplement his full time job while he takes the 5 year route to completion.  He did get to a lower cost of living area, but that means low income, and long term he will get loan forgiveness....if he lives long enough to get a job that pays enough that he can afford medical premiums plus treatment.  He is determined not to drop out. He can't...he's one of those brainiacs that no one would hire in a nonbrainiac job.  He isn't too happy having to do what he's having to do, ethically speaking. But it is what it is, no parental help, no scholarship money due to their income. Not going to college doesn't change a thing except replacing school hours with earning hours.  Not having a DE/AP program meant he had to take the five year plan for college; his peers who could access DE/AP are done in three in his humanities major.   so yeah, the OP plan could be done, but not here.  Hcol area, lots of middle class students unable to access AP or DE in high school, few jobs for under 21s.  Every other young male except one I know in his situation was middle class, ineligible for any scholarship help, and ended up enlisting.  The other guy went to CC while working full time min wage and living at home rent free, then got in to the AFA. So, two year penalty earning wages because the high school didn't offer college prep for engineering/science, but his parents did what they could.

 

 

There is no driver's ed required here.  Most parents teach their kids, so the cost is time and gas.

 

First jobs are walking distance of high school, thumb a ride home or walk/bike if it doesn't work out with parent/neighbor commute.

 

 

Edited by Heigh Ho

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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..

 

 

I've been thinking about this thread and I reread the OP. We're comparing apples to oranges. OP's ds filled out a FAFSA with his parents' information and manages to cover their EFC with a 30 hour a week job. The EFC must be low enough that he can do that. If your EFC is more than a part time job can generate, your parents either pay, you've got the stats for substantial merit aid that makes the COA substantially less than the EFC, you enlist with all that entails or you have to go part time as you can pay your way. You could move to a state with affordable tuition and establish residency but that's a major project when you're 18 or 19. You can start at the CC and transfer if there are good articulation agreements.

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To add, I don't know how old you are OP.  My mother left home at 16 and got a full time job for the phone company.  She sorta bragged about how she managed with no help at 16.  She got married at 18 and had me shortly after.  Things were radically different for me as a young adult.  There would have been no way to get a full time job at 16.  And by that point getting a good paying job required a higher education.  School also became quite a bit more expensive.  Now fast forward to my own kids.  I don't really see how college is doable without some help.  They expect parents to contribute if they can.  I don't entirely agree with that because this hurts the student if the parent won't.  My point being things are not the same now as they were when my parents were starting out. 

 

But then I guess you have seen your kid succeed with this method.  So whatever works for you I guess. 

 

 

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FWIW, I never got the impression that suggesting the military as a viable option was intended to mean ALL students should head that direction - only that it's an option for some, very akin to any other path that could be considered.  No path works for (or is desirable to) all students.  There are just options.

 

At our school the military option comes in handy for a few students each year, so I see no reason homeschoolers shouldn't also be reminded it's a possible path to consider.  For some students, it's an attractive path.

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While my kids pay a much bigger portion of their college bills than most kids I know, there are some factors that cannot be denied:

 

1) they have qualified for merit aid

2) they have majors that can be found anywhere

3) they are neither gifted, nor have any special needs

4) they are healthy

5) state universities are not outrageously expensive

6) they have parents that have been scaffolding them all along

7) they live in a low COL area with low unemployment where a healthy kid 18+ can earn $7000-8000 in a summer

8) they know they have a safety net at home

 

So, yes, my kids pay a big percentage of their expenses. As I mentioned upthread we have not yet helped our sophomore but we will be and we will be filling in a small gap for our freshman next year. I am bursting with pride in my kids and how they hustle and save money and are propelling their educations forward. I think there have been valuable lessons. But I also recognize that not everyone has the situation we do. Just because mine have done it does not mean it is possible for most people. Or if possible, even desirable or ideal. My next son might have more specific goals that mean a more expensive school. My last kid might not get any merit aid but still benefit from college. I will do what I can to help them, too.

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Again, in this scenario I don't see what's wrong with taking on debt (of course I also don't see anything wrong with spending your money as you wish either).  If you're in college to get a degree that will lead to a job that makes more money than a non-degreed job, why would loans be bad?  If you're not in college for that reason, and instead you're just going for the experience or something, then I can see how it makes no sense to take out loans.

 

Students whose parents have large expected familial contributions and whose parents are not willing or able to pay are going to have to take out substantial loans.  Who is going to approve those loans without a cosigner?  The idea that all a student has to do is decide to attend on loans is not valid unless their costs are so low that they can cover their costs via federal student loans (that is more like making the decision to attend a CC than a 4 yr university since student loans are limited to $5500, $6500, and $7500X2)

 

We refuse to cosign loans for our kids.  First, b/c it is just a really bad decision for them and for us.  And second, b/c eventually, even we wouldn't be approved for the loans we would be being asked to cosign.  Say we cosigned $25,000 worth of loans/yr for our oldest, then the 2nd, then the 3rd.....I am not sure how many $100s of thousands of dollars it would take, but I am pretty darn sure it isn't an approach that would be approved for all of them.  Not to mention, what if any of them couldn't pay them off?  We would be responsible for the debt.   That is just setting ourselves up for potential financial disaster.  

 

I believe that chiguirre is most likely correct.  Kids that are able to work part-time to pay their own way are most likely receiving more than unsubsidized loans to help pay for their expenses.  Kids whose balance is essentially the full cost of tuition, room, board, and books are not going to be able to come close to making up that difference even with full-time work as an unskilled teen.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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I do not pay for any of ds' tuition and fees, but he does get very cheap room and board at home, although not free. I'm paying my own tuition and fees and housing. Ds would not have done well to be completely responsible for everything the day he turned 18. He's was born mature in thought, but needs time and scaffolding to become smart in the ways of this modern world, ie bills, deadlines, etc. Had we been able to start that earlier (read below) perhaps he would have been ready at 18.

 

He hasn't worked because until last summer our lives were pretty chaotic and he doesn't drive yet (partially choice, partially insurance costs - he rather not drive than pay car insurance). Last summer he had a paid research position. 

 

From the time he was 15, he dealt with my divorce and my dad's health (many multiple hospital visits until his death in 2015). Ds was there for us in many ways a 15 year old shouldn't have to be for adults. He really helped keep us (me, my mom, ds, and my dad) together through some very rough times. His entire high school was a bunch of chaos not of his choosing. My mom and I are providing emotional support and financial support for him to complete college, we really wouldn't have it any other way. Like someone else said, we're all in this together. 

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I know I sound like a broken record and that many posters here will never agree with me, but I dispute the concept that a degree is "worth it" only as  a gateway to a particular salary. I stubbornly hold onto the idea that the primary goal of getting an education should be getting an education.

 

Right there with you.  I actually don't care if my guys use their primary degree in their jobs or not.  It's the overall education I think adds to their lives - the whole being more than the sum of the parts.  Our society is not better off when folks only learn what's necessary to get paid.

 

I know many feel 12th grade is fine (and some are happier with even less).  Our family likes more.  For us a college degree is the minimum since our boys are academically able to get that far.  Youngest is the only one who wasn't really sure he wanted to go to college, but he went because we more or less insisted.  He's thanked us over and over again for that already.

 

Their degrees will never hurt them - even if they decide they want to farm or... anything.  Short of a brain issue, you can't take away an education.

 

Yes, there are ways to keep learning without college (we adults use them!), but esp in today's society, that piece of paper proving a degree can be super helpful, and again, can't hurt.  As an additional bonus, in our family, college has been fun - extremely enjoyable years, helped by picking colleges that were good fits for each of us.

 

So yeah, right there with you that the overall education is the primary goal.

 

For others, YMMV.

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Students whose parents have large expected familial contributions and whose parents are not willing or able to pay are going to have to take out substantial loans.  Who is going to approve those loans without a cosigner?  The idea that all a student has to do is decide to attend on loans is not valid unless their costs are so low that they can cover their costs via federal student loans (that is more like making the decision to attend a CC than a 4 yr university since student loans are limited to $5500, $6500, and $7500X2)

 

We refuse to cosign loans for our kids.  First, b/c it is just a really bad decision for them and for us.  And second, b/c eventually, even we wouldn't be approved for the loans we would be being asked to cosign.  Say we cosigned $25,000 worth of loans/yr for our oldest, then the 2nd, then the 3rd.....I am not sure how many $100s of thousands of dollars it would take, but I am pretty darn sure it isn't an approach that would be approved for all of them.  Not to mention, what if any of them couldn't pay them off?  We would be responsible for the debt.   That is just setting ourselves up for potential financial disaster.  

 

I believe that chiguirre is most likely correct.  Kids that are able to work part-time to pay their own way are most likely receiving more than unsubsidized loans to help pay for their expenses.  Kids whose balance is essentially the full cost of tuition, room, board, and books are not going to be able to come close to making up that difference even with full-time work as an unskilled teen.

 

Yup.

 

Only reason I could borrow more was because I was considered an independent student.  It is an unusual circumstance to be granted that though.  It was probably "the" reason I managed to get the money I needed to go.  A lot of it was in the form of loans though that I am still paying back. 

 

Truth is it will be a stretch to help our kids.  No doubt about it.  I won't go broke doing it and I'm trying to steer them in a direction where it will be most affordable, but I will do whatever I can. 

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Their degrees will never hurt them - even if they decide they want to farm or... anything.  Short of a brain issue, you can't take away an education.

 

 

 

As if this thread were not sufficiently annoying already, let's imply that farmers do not need an education.  

 

Sincerely,

The Daughter, Granddaughter, Sister and Cousin of Farmers Who All Have Four-Year Degrees

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As if this thread were not sufficiently annoying already, let's imply that farmers do not need an education.  

 

Sincerely,

The Daughter, Granddaughter, Sister and Cousin of Farmers Who All Have Four-Year Degrees

 

It's what I hear all the time from many IRL.

 

Sincerely,

Creekland -  who lives on a farm, has farms and farm kids all around at school, is the granddaughter of a farmer (who didn't go to college), and who still encourages everyone who can to consider a college degree a minimum - for the education.

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I know I sound like a broken record and that many posters here will never agree with me, but I dispute the concept that a degree is "worth it" only as a gateway to a particular salary. I stubbornly hold onto the idea that the primary goal of getting an education should be getting an education.

Totally agree.

 

Majoring in something solely because it leads to a career that earns a particular salary can seriously backfire.

--not being talented in a field and just managing to make it through can make you absolutely terrible at on the job problem solving.

--there's nothing good about setting up your life to spend most of your time at something you hate.

--on college tours we met a few 6th year seniors who changed majors after realizing they weren't going to finish that engineering degree despite being 5 semesters in and most of the credits didn't apply.

 

I know of a few people who have different careers than their degree suggests.

 

I know quite a few recent liberal arts grads who have started successful careers in business despite not majoring in business.

 

I don't think you can say only get a degrees in xyz fields because those fields have certain salary levels. It often doesn't work out.

Edited by Diana P.
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I'm still trying to figure out the right balance between teaching my kids financial responsibility and independence and helping them.

 

I worked my way through college. Tuition at the time was $1200 a semester and minimum wage was $4.25. Now tuition at the same university is $5,000/semester and minimum wage is about $8. When I did it, I actually made more like $12/hr word processing, but I was also completely supporting myself. I really struggled through those years financially, living off of toast and popcorn, limited heat and no extra gas money to drive anywhere but to work and school. But, as my situation improved, it was so sweet and I appreciated every new improvement in my situation tremendously. For me, it was a really valuable experience that I would never trade and my parents could have easily helped me.

 

My son has a job and is working 15 hours a week. He pays his own car insurance, gas (which was $75 to fill the tank this week!) cell phone and he'll hopefully be able to pay for his car repairs. He and I are working through Dave Ramsey's program and he's going to open up an investment account this week. I want to teach him how to do this and for him to develop a sense of responsibilty for himself. On the other hand, my in-laws gave him one of their old cars and, imo, that was a good thing because it would have taken him forever to be able to afford something. I could have easily pick up a $800 car that was reasonably reliable when I was a teen but that isn't the case now.

 

I also want him to be able to go away to college because I think that will further his sense of independence in a way that commuting to a local school will not. If he had to work enough to pay for tuition, I don't think he would do well in school and there is no way he could work enough hours to pay for room and board as well with the current college costs. So, we will definitely be helping. A lot. I don't know yet whether we'll ask him to work at college at all because I'm honestly not sure he'll be able to juggle college and work.

 

So, I do understand where the OP is coming from, but I think things have changed in a way that makes it much more difficult for kids to take on full financial responsibility for themselves right at 18.

 

ETA: Another big difference now is that once I reached my goal of earning a degree, the money floodgates instantly opened because I now had the golden ticket. I don't think that's so true today except for very specific types of degrees that my son isn't likely to earn.

Edited by OnMyOwn
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As if this thread were not sufficiently annoying already, let's imply that farmers do not need an education.

 

Sincerely,

The Daughter, Granddaughter, Sister and Cousin of Farmers Who All Have Four-Year Degrees

There are no courses beyond those reqd for the diploma in my district bc the farmers have united with the poverty crowd and decided not to offer them. Ag Ed is not offered at the regional State U either. This is a whole different value system than my gps gen, all of whom were literate before college expanded beyond the aristocracy.

 

Signed, granddaughter of folks who farmed since the westward expansion and believe in transmitting literacy plus scientific knowledge to the next gen., and gd+of those transported in precolonial times and are glad to have had the chance to become literate via public school that they paid for via farm surplus.

Edited by Heigh Ho
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Wow, I never expected this to be such a hot topic! Some of you have brought up some very valuable opposing points that I hadn't thought of.  Thank you for sharing.  I apologize if my original post upset some people, that wasn't my intention. I just didn't realize that our family was so unusual until I started reading the college board.  :)

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OP, you've posted in other threads that your son did about a year's worth of DE at the CC while in HS, then completed his AA before transferring, and that your DD will graduate from HS with her AA before she is 18. I'm curious as to who pays for their tuition before they are 18?

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I believe there is a lot of value in education beyond just what students anticipate needing at work. That said there is sometimes an attitude that the education a student wants is worth getting at any price.

 

Some of the articles about student debt profile folks who seem surprised that the non-specific communication degree they paid $100k for didn't leave them competitive for a job that lets them pay off their loans.

 

I'm not really arguing with Jenny that there shouldn't be pursuit of learning for it's own sake. I don't think all classes should be work oriented.

 

But it does seem that some students are quite idealistic about the end career value of the degrees they are pursuing.

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This thread was a lot more exciting than I expected when I read the OP. 

We are among those whose income makes it impossible for our kids to do college without our financial support. They have scholarships, but can get no need based aid. One of mine could do military, but the other has a diagnosis that would preclude it. That same diagnosis makes it unreasonable to think he could work and do school. Some kids need help.

 

Dd is a nursing major and they specifically warn nursing majors at her school that they will not be able to work and complete the program. The clinical schedule can vary and update at the last minute. They can only miss 2 days of clinicals in the entire 5 semesters or they are kicked out. There are few work schedules that are flexible enough, and even if they can get that level of flexibility the number hours they work and study make it impossible for most people to keep pace and have an outside job. Dd worked 50 hour weeks at the best paying job she could find for the summer to save up, but that wouldn't cover everything if we weren't helping. 

 

Our family is among those that value education for the sake of education. We really wanted our kids to get degrees, and it wasn't about the money they would make, it was just about being educated adults. Because that is a priority, again, we help.

 

Do I feel everyone has to help their kids with college. Well of course not. I don't feel everyone has to do anything. I believe in personal freedom and personal choice. I also realize that not helping isn't always a choice, but is just the financial reality for the family. In cases like this, I hope parents will help their kids in any way they can such as with the FASFA, transcripts, great documentation of their education, and with scholarship awareness.

 

If you choose to tell your kids they are on their own at 18, it is your choice. One of mine could've survived. The other couldn't. Recognize that isn't a realistic option for everybody.

 

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My parents were not able to help me at all with any college expenses and I think that made me independent and responsible and somewhat fearless.  But it also had it's drawbacks, particularly since my grades suffered because I had to work so much (they were still good, but bad enough to preclude me from getting a scholarship to a top-notch graduate school).  I will say that I think times are different than 30 years ago in that you can't really "work your way through school" anymore in any meaningful way, so that is one reason we will help our kids as much as possible with college money. 

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The bolded troubles me.  Does this mean the students are encouraged (by policy) to go into nursing homes/hospitals if they are sick for a few days?

This thread was a lot more exciting than I expected when I read the OP. 

We are among those whose income makes it impossible for our kids to do college without our financial support. They have scholarships, but can get no need based aid. One of mine could do military, but the other has a diagnosis that would preclude it. That same diagnosis makes it unreasonable to think he could work and do school. Some kids need help.

 

Dd is a nursing major and they specifically warn nursing majors at her school that they will not be able to work and complete the program. The clinical schedule can vary and update at the last minute. They can only miss 2 days of clinicals in the entire 5 semesters or they are kicked out. There are few work schedules that are flexible enough, and even if they can get that level of flexibility the number hours they work and study make it impossible for most people to keep pace and have an outside job. Dd worked 50 hour weeks at the best paying job she could find for the summer to save up, but that wouldn't cover everything if we weren't helping. 

 

Our family is among those that value education for the sake of education. We really wanted our kids to get degrees, and it wasn't about the money they would make, it was just about being educated adults. Because that is a priority, again, we help.

 

Do I feel everyone has to help their kids with college. Well of course not. I don't feel everyone has to do anything. I believe in personal freedom and personal choice. I also realize that not helping isn't always a choice, but is just the financial reality for the family. In cases like this, I hope parents will help their kids in any way they can such as with the FASFA, transcripts, great documentation of their education, and with scholarship awareness.

 

If you choose to tell your kids they are on their own at 18, it is your choice. One of mine could've survived. The other couldn't. Recognize that isn't a realistic option for everybody.

 

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OP, you've posted in other threads that your son did about a year's worth of DE at the CC while in HS, then completed his AA before transferring, and that your DD will graduate from HS with her AA before she is 18. I'm curious as to who pays for their tuition before they are 18?

I don't know about the OP but in my state it is a free program through the public school system. We ended up not doing it for Ds. It would not have helped him academically and wasn't a good fit for him due to special needs. But we might use it for my daughter.

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OP, you've posted in other threads that your son did about a year's worth of DE at the CC while in HS, then completed his AA before transferring, and that your DD will graduate from HS with her AA before she is 18. I'm curious as to who pays for their tuition before they are 18?

Our local CC has a scholarship that pays for dual credit, up to 24 credits.  DH and I pay for anything over that because they are under 18 and I am still responsible for the education.

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Our local CC has a scholarship that pays for dual credit, up to 24 credits. DH and I pay for anything over that because they are under 18 and I am still responsible for the education.

My state charges the same price for DE credits. And the community college will not permitted anyone under 16 to enroll. So you don't turn 16 until after the beginning of junior year high school, it would be hard to finish an AA while a DE student.

 

I can see how having options available would help.

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The bolded troubles me.  Does this mean the students are encouraged (by policy) to go into nursing homes/hospitals if they are sick for a few days?

 

This is a huge issue and students have petitioned for a policy change but have so far been denied. If they are caught sick during clinicals, they are sent home which then counts as one of their 2 missed clinical days, but obviously it does encourage students to attend even if sick and to try to fake not being sick, which is not at all good for patients!

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Are we the only ones?? I often feel like I am...

 

For me, the "big picture" of your post is the story of you and DH being mature and responsible across the board early in your adult years, and in particular, your focus on financially independence/responsibility. And that you and DH are passing on these traits to your children. The details of your story (when/how much DC take on full responsibility for different things) are particular to you and your family because of your particular circumstances.

 

I see the exact same story from every one else in this thread -- adults who are mature and responsible (esp. financially, as that is the aspect you are focusing on), and who are encouraging those same traits in their own children. The details of how that all plays out is going to look different, because every family's situation is unique. No family's circumstances, personal abilities and strengths, cost of living, etc., are exactly like your own.

 

To answer your question: No, you are NOT the only ones; I actually think you are in good company, with multitudes here and you not that unusual at all (at least on these boards). :) Rather than focusing on if anyone matches the specific options and choices that have been available to your family for making college and financial responsibility happen (the odds of which are very slim due to how unique every family is), I suggest widening your scope of vision to see how all the other posters on this thread are right there with you in the "big picture". :)

 

:cheers2:  Celebrating all of you on this thread and your hard efforts, and enjoying the many diverse ways to make these goals happen! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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My parents couldn't (dad wouldn't) help me with school beyond co-signing some loans.  I finished my degrees at 29 and 34 years old, plugging away at it for years, paying while working full time.  Sometimes I had jobs that had tuition reimbursement, which was a lot of luck finding a job in a company that offered it, without already requiring it for most jobs.

 

We will (and have for oldest dd) help our kids with college to the extent we can.

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Dh and I also put ourselves through school.  I did have some rent help one year from my dad, and my mom offered to pay books one semester.  Overall I did it all by working multiple jobs.  I did chose to get a loan my Sr year so I could work 20 hours a week and not 30.  I used it to pay tuition and rent.  I paid it off quickly after college. No regrets giving myself more time for school that last year.  

 

No, we haven't put aside tons of $$ for the kids.  They know we will help *if* we can.  Will it mean not being able to go to a big school?  Maybe.  We live close to tons of good schools and they can live at home rent free, and work to pay their bus pass.  If I go back to work then absolutely I will give them money.  I just can't guarantee it, so we have said they need to be resourceful to go.  With our income I don't expect them to get money unless it's merit based.  

I wish it was different.  If they really want to go, they will work to make it happen. 

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DH put himself through school, although his parents allowed him to live at home for his cc years (which ended up 5 years since he didn't know what he wanted to do). After our marriage, he went and got his bachelor's - obviously, we paid for that. He is now back at the cc for some certification classes. He's working with tuition reimbursement  money for his current classes. We're still paying on the loans for his bachelors.

 

My parents mostly paid for my bachelors. I had a large scholarship and took out about 30K in loans, since paid off. I started (and didn't finish) a master's on tuition reimbursement $.

 

We pay for DE for my oldest at the moment (full cc tuition and books). Fortunately, my kids have a very generous grandmother who has supplied them with 529s; she paid for a portion of this semester's DE. They will probably be Pell-eligible, and we can pay a little, and Grandma can pay some, and they can pay some, hopefully, they'll get some scholarships, and somehow we'll muddle through.

Edited by beckyjo

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DH and I married very young and paid our own ways through college. When we had our first child, we already knew we wouldn't make him pay his own way through college. It is just a different world today.

Alas. DS has neurological issues (CP and autism) and we will likely be supporting him for quite a while into adulthood. We tell him all the time - we are in no hurry to rush you into adulthood, we will always have your back financially. He is already mature beyond his years and very financially responsible, but his issues may make full time college and full time employment difficult. We never want him also saddled with the burden of paying for college. He has enough obstacles in life and this is one we can remove for him, so we will.

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For me, the "big picture" of your post is the story of you and DH being mature and responsible across the board early in your adult years, and in particular, your focus on financially independence/responsibility. And that you and DH are passing on these traits to your children. The details of your story (when/how much DC take on full responsibility for different things) are particular to you and your family because of your particular circumstances.

 

I see the exact same story from every one else in this thread -- adults who are mature and responsible (esp. financially, as that is the aspect you are focusing on), and who are encouraging those same traits in their own children. The details of how that all plays out is going to look different, because every family's situation is unique. No family's circumstances, personal abilities and strengths, cost of living, etc., are exactly like your own.

 

To answer your question: No, you are NOT the only ones; I actually think you are in good company, with multitudes here and you not that unusual at all (at least on these boards). :) Rather than focusing on if anyone matches the specific options and choices that have been available to your family for making college and financial responsibility happen (the odds of which are very slim due to how unique every family is), I suggest widening your scope of vision to see how all the other posters on this thread are right there with you in the "big picture". :)

 

:cheers2:  Celebrating all of you on this thread and your hard efforts, and enjoying the many diverse ways to make these goals happen! Warmest regards, Lori D.

 I  :wub: this post!!!  Thank you for writing this, Lori!  

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I :wub: this post!!! Thank you for writing this, Lori!

Me, too. I want to be Lori D. when I (if I ever!) grow up!

Edited by Hoggirl
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