Author Topic: College Savings: How much and why??  (Read 17327 times)

tobitonic

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #50 on: February 09, 2016, 07:55:27 PM »
Oh, and something to keep in mind for us is that we'd rather work until 65 and have our kids fully funded through college than retire a day earlier and leave them with loans. This isn't how most folks on this forum think, and that's okay, but this is one of the many things we find more important than the RE part of FIRE. Our kids earned their college funds (to the extent we'll be able to provide them) by being born.

teen persuasion

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #51 on: February 09, 2016, 09:20:07 PM »
Currently have about $6K saved for little one's future college. LO is currently 4. 12 more years of compounding interest at a conservative 5% with regular $100 a month contributions, equals about $30K(conservative interest rates means this should similar in value to $30K today).

Maybe it doesn't pay for everything, but it should pay enough to give our LO a head start in life.



Right where I'm at. Little man is 4.5 yrs old and around $5500 in the plan.  $50/paycheck automatically sent to UESP. I add a couple hundred bucks for birthday and Christmas, and grandma also contributes a $200-$300/year in gifts. Will do the same for the little girl when she arrives in May/June.

I will have an extra year to save for my son though. Since he was born in mid-July we won't be sending him to kindergarten until he's six.

If we ever get to the point where we can both max out all our tax advantaged retirement vehicles, we will definitely kick in more.
No childcare I guess?

I ask because my younger child is a July baby, and my goodness, the stress of all the other moms in my baby group about whether or not to hold their boys back a year so that they are six.  Because "I don't want him to be the  youngest".  Newsflash: someone has to be the youngest.

Considering that here, a year of preschool or daycare is $15k+, I'm better off putting my July baby in kinder at 5 and saving that money for college.

Note: in my town, a few of the elementary schools are requiring six year olds be in 1st grade (and kinder is optional). So some of the parents might be choosing to hold their kids back for kinder at six, but the school will force them to enroll in first grade.

July?

Here the cutoff is December 1.  I've got 3 that are on the younger side (late August, late September, October), and 2 on the older side (February and March).  After watching the October kid be bored silly when she entered school (until a wonderful teacher sent her up a grade for reading), we tried to get the March boy enrolled early.  School refused.  Same teacher sent him up a grade as well for reading.  I really dislike arbitrary cutoffs - kids should begin school when they are ready, not because of the time of year they were born.

Sorry for the detour off topic - it's a pet peeve of mine.

cats

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #52 on: February 09, 2016, 10:10:06 PM »
We don't have an exact number.  Some things we have agreed on:

1) Our own FIRE is top priority.  Basically, if we get to FIRE and working has become truly intolerable, well, that's it.  If we get to FIRE and think we can handle a couple more years, that might be the college fund.

2) We both feel the US education system in its current state is not sustainable and are reluctant to buy into it by pressuring ourselves to set aside hundreds of thousands of dollars for university.  My hope is that loans will somehow become harder to obtain within the next 10-15 years (perhaps by making them dischargeable in bankruptcy), which will force universities to slow tuition to a rate more in keeping with inflation.

3) We are willing to consider moving countries once FIRE'd to avoid the US higher education system.  Between us we have citizenship in several countries with much more reasonably priced public university options, so we do feel this option is quite viable.

4) This thought may get me some horrified comments, but...there's a reasonable chance that one or both sets of grandparents will have passed on by the time our kids turn 18, and very good chance that all grandparents will have passed by the time our kids are 30.  Both sets of grandparents are in decent financial shape and have indicated that they plan to pass on their assets to their children (myself, husband, our siblings).  My husband and I are quite confident we won't need any inheritance for ourselves, so that may become the college fund.  I wouldn't count on it if I was dead set on a US education for my kids (as there's always the possibility our parents will live to 120 or develop a gambling addiction), but as we're willing to be flexible on that front I guess I don't feel too bad acknowledging that an inheritance will probably be required for us to feel it's worthwhile to send our kids to college in the US.  Also, my grandparents basically paid for half the cost of a public university education via the money they left my mother, so...I guess it's kind of a family tradition?

JustTrying

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #53 on: February 09, 2016, 10:28:40 PM »
I'm child-free but have a suggestion that hasn't been mentioned yet.

Google "post secondary enrollment options [your state]". PSEO is a program that enables high school students to take college courses for free. Yes, FREE including tuition, fees and books. This is not the same as AP or taking a few classes offered through the high school. PSEO allows juniors and seniors to take up to a full course load at a local college.

There are minimum academic qualifications (not too terribly challenging) and transportation is the student's responsibility, but it's a hell of a deal. I did two years of undergrad while still technically a high school student, so I only needed 2 additional years for my bachelors. My baby sister is currently enrolled in PSEO and is also a big fan of the program.

That's so funny! I'm from MN where we have that program, and I went to the University of MN for a few classes my junior year, and went to a private college full-time my senior year (moved into the dorms and all). It's a great program. Now I live in WA State where they have a much less impressive program called "Running Start" in which high school students can attend community colleges for free. The locals think it's amazing (and it really is better than nothing), but since I went to a private school for free, I'm not quite as impressed as the locals. I had never heard of another state that had the PSEO program - and to be honest, I don't really think it's a common program to have. I've never met someone from another state who had the program. Sometimes they'll think they have something similar (like WA's Running Start), but it's not really the same.

This also relates to the community college comments. That private college that I attended (and eventually graduated from) wouldn't accept most of my transfer credits from the University of Minnesota, so I'm confident they wouldn't take community college credits! I've always found it strange when people say they're going to start at a community college and then transfer somewhere else. It's not that easy. It is possible, but I think you need to have a four-year plan from the get-go - figure out if the college you hope to get your bachelor's degree at will accept your transfer credits before you even start at a community college. That being said, I commend all the students out there who do plan ahead and are able to save money by starting at a community college.

aFrugalFather

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #54 on: February 09, 2016, 11:54:02 PM »
3.) We love our children and don't want them to have a large amount of debt hanging over them when they're starting out.

So the implication is people who don't pay for all college costs don't love their children?  :P

Apples

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #55 on: February 10, 2016, 08:12:17 AM »
Currently have about $6K saved for little one's future college. LO is currently 4. 12 more years of compounding interest at a conservative 5% with regular $100 a month contributions, equals about $30K(conservative interest rates means this should similar in value to $30K today).

Maybe it doesn't pay for everything, but it should pay enough to give our LO a head start in life.
Right where I'm at. Little man is 4.5 yrs old and around $5500 in the plan.  $50/paycheck automatically sent to UESP. I add a couple hundred bucks for birthday and Christmas, and grandma also contributes a $200-$300/year in gifts. Will do the same for the little girl when she arrives in May/June.

I will have an extra year to save for my son though. Since he was born in mid-July we won't be sending him to kindergarten until he's six.

If we ever get to the point where we can both max out all our tax advantaged retirement vehicles, we will definitely kick in more.
No childcare I guess?

I ask because my younger child is a July baby, and my goodness, the stress of all the other moms in my baby group about whether or not to hold their boys back a year so that they are six.  Because "I don't want him to be the  youngest".  Newsflash: someone has to be the youngest.

Considering that here, a year of preschool or daycare is $15k+, I'm better off putting my July baby in kinder at 5 and saving that money for college.

Note: in my town, a few of the elementary schools are requiring six year olds be in 1st grade (and kinder is optional). So some of the parents might be choosing to hold their kids back for kinder at six, but the school will force them to enroll in first grade.

I have a brother who was six before kindergarten, July birthday.  Just graduated college last spring.  My parents held him back b/c he wasn't ready for school socially.  Which was true..it was better for him to mature a bit and do another year of preschool before jumping into a full classroom setting.  It wasn't b.s. to actually hold him back for sports, which is becoming a thing about an hour away from us, and may be why some schools are requiring the 6-year-old start first grade.  It was nice sometimes to be the oldest, except he didn't have friends in his year that could go out with him for his 21st bday :p  But being the youngest isn't that bad.  Put your kid in school when they're ready for it, and things generally work out.

merula

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #56 on: February 10, 2016, 08:24:39 AM »
That's so funny! I'm from MN where we have that program, and I went to the University of MN for a few classes my junior year, and went to a private college full-time my senior year (moved into the dorms and all). It's a great program. Now I live in WA State where they have a much less impressive program called "Running Start" in which high school students can attend community colleges for free. The locals think it's amazing (and it really is better than nothing), but since I went to a private school for free, I'm not quite as impressed as the locals. I had never heard of another state that had the PSEO program - and to be honest, I don't really think it's a common program to have. I've never met someone from another state who had the program. Sometimes they'll think they have something similar (like WA's Running Start), but it's not really the same.

This also relates to the community college comments. That private college that I attended (and eventually graduated from) wouldn't accept most of my transfer credits from the University of Minnesota, so I'm confident they wouldn't take community college credits! I've always found it strange when people say they're going to start at a community college and then transfer somewhere else. It's not that easy. It is possible, but I think you need to have a four-year plan from the get-go - figure out if the college you hope to get your bachelor's degree at will accept your transfer credits before you even start at a community college. That being said, I commend all the students out there who do plan ahead and are able to save money by starting at a community college.

I'm also in MN. Do you mind sharing what private school you went to, and why they didn't accept U credits? I went to the U, granted, but most of the PSEO students I knew got their credits from the U and I've never heard of them not being accepted. (You could also PM me if you don't mind sharing but don't want to put it all out there.)

On a more general note, when I was looking at colleges they all had guides for what transfer credits they'd accept and from where. Does that not happen anymore?

Gin1984

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #57 on: February 10, 2016, 08:59:21 AM »
That's so funny! I'm from MN where we have that program, and I went to the University of MN for a few classes my junior year, and went to a private college full-time my senior year (moved into the dorms and all). It's a great program. Now I live in WA State where they have a much less impressive program called "Running Start" in which high school students can attend community colleges for free. The locals think it's amazing (and it really is better than nothing), but since I went to a private school for free, I'm not quite as impressed as the locals. I had never heard of another state that had the PSEO program - and to be honest, I don't really think it's a common program to have. I've never met someone from another state who had the program. Sometimes they'll think they have something similar (like WA's Running Start), but it's not really the same.

This also relates to the community college comments. That private college that I attended (and eventually graduated from) wouldn't accept most of my transfer credits from the University of Minnesota, so I'm confident they wouldn't take community college credits! I've always found it strange when people say they're going to start at a community college and then transfer somewhere else. It's not that easy. It is possible, but I think you need to have a four-year plan from the get-go - figure out if the college you hope to get your bachelor's degree at will accept your transfer credits before you even start at a community college. That being said, I commend all the students out there who do plan ahead and are able to save money by starting at a community college.

I'm also in MN. Do you mind sharing what private school you went to, and why they didn't accept U credits? I went to the U, granted, but most of the PSEO students I knew got their credits from the U and I've never heard of them not being accepted. (You could also PM me if you don't mind sharing but don't want to put it all out there.)

On a more general note, when I was looking at colleges they all had guides for what transfer credits they'd accept and from where. Does that not happen anymore?
They do, but the problem is WHAT they transfer in as and many school now top load their programs so finish my degree in four years my sophomore year I would need to take upper division course work.  I had classes that counted as electives but not requirements even if the classes were similar (or even identical, same professor, same book etc but the one at the CC was underdivision and the one at the university was upper).

GrOW

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #58 on: February 10, 2016, 09:11:08 AM »
My goal is about 50% of the expected cost on in-state tuition, room, and board. Saving vehicle is state based 529 which is a good option since it has low cost fund options.

While I feel an obligation to help my kids gain a college degree, I do want them to have some incentive to perform well when there (note - not perform perfectly). Their obligation can be met through any combination of scholarships, work study, side jobs, military service, student loans (I try hard to educate them fully about the downside of this option), etc.

I really loved the idea of another poster that their plan includes the child paying year #1. Genius idea. Thanks for sharing.

Side note - I do feel that the 'skills gap' the exists today between available jobs and available workers is partially due to the limited tools employers use to evaluate skills. It can be more of a perceived gap than a real gap. A college degree is not the only way to establish work ethic, commitment to finish something, ability to think critically, etc. There are many people that lack a college degree but have achieved industry certifications and licenses. It seems to me that college degree, or pick from other usual job skill requirements, are overused for their real value. I think that employers need to move behind the job criteria that was popular in the last 2-3 decades. Google, Yahoo, and others are starting down this path by offering college alternatives. I hope that we see more creative thinking in the future. $70-200k for college just doesn't seem like the answer to our needs in 2015 and going forward.

Jesstache

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #59 on: February 10, 2016, 09:38:36 AM »
Currently have about $6K saved for little one's future college. LO is currently 4. 12 more years of compounding interest at a conservative 5% with regular $100 a month contributions, equals about $30K(conservative interest rates means this should similar in value to $30K today).

Maybe it doesn't pay for everything, but it should pay enough to give our LO a head start in life.



Right where I'm at. Little man is 4.5 yrs old and around $5500 in the plan.  $50/paycheck automatically sent to UESP. I add a couple hundred bucks for birthday and Christmas, and grandma also contributes a $200-$300/year in gifts. Will do the same for the little girl when she arrives in May/June.

I will have an extra year to save for my son though. Since he was born in mid-July we won't be sending him to kindergarten until he's six.

If we ever get to the point where we can both max out all our tax advantaged retirement vehicles, we will definitely kick in more.
No childcare I guess?

I ask because my younger child is a July baby, and my goodness, the stress of all the other moms in my baby group about whether or not to hold their boys back a year so that they are six.  Because "I don't want him to be the  youngest".  Newsflash: someone has to be the youngest.

Considering that here, a year of preschool or daycare is $15k+, I'm better off putting my July baby in kinder at 5 and saving that money for college.

Note: in my town, a few of the elementary schools are requiring six year olds be in 1st grade (and kinder is optional). So some of the parents might be choosing to hold their kids back for kinder at six, but the school will force them to enroll in first grade.

July?

Here the cutoff is December 1.  I've got 3 that are on the younger side (late August, late September, October), and 2 on the older side (February and March).  After watching the October kid be bored silly when she entered school (until a wonderful teacher sent her up a grade for reading), we tried to get the March boy enrolled early.  School refused.  Same teacher sent him up a grade as well for reading.  I really dislike arbitrary cutoffs - kids should begin school when they are ready, not because of the time of year they were born.

Sorry for the detour off topic - it's a pet peeve of mine.

This is a topic that I have discovered is hotly debated among parents and many have strong feelings against sending kids"early".  Our oldest is starting Kindergarten in the fall and many of my friends have kids of a similar age to ours.  Her birthday is in April with a Sept 1 cutoff so not a big deal for her but OH MAN, when people find out my son's birthday is Sept 9, people will go into long unsolicited rants and suggestions on how we should under no circumstances send him"early" and how much better it will be for him to wait, especially because he is a boy (?), when they don't have any idea what my thoughts are on the subject or what we plan to do.  Several people have expressed this opinion without even having met my son.  Many of them will also point out how great it'll be for him to be able to dominate in sports... Uh, yeah, because that's the goal.

My son is 2.5 so we are not even close to making a decision on this.  I figure I'll generally wait until he's, you know, 4, and then decide.  My gut feeling is that he will be more than ready, given he can count to 25, knows the days of the week, months of the year and all of his shapes and colors and his ABC's.  My husband and I were both the youngest in our classes (August bday with Sept cutoff for hubby, Oct bday with a Dec cutoff for me so I was also 4 when I started Kindergarten) and we were both Valedictorians of our high schools and graduated college as Aerospace Engineers (not the same one haha).  Genetically, he's likely got what it takes but again, we will see in 2 years.  My husband doesn't think there's any question that he will start school shortly before he turns 5.  He is extremely worried that he'll be bored like he was in school.


To answer the OP's question and not be completely off topic with my whole post, we have about $27k in I bonds and add $10k per year to that.  Each kid will have about $100k upon starting college.  I have a sneaking suspicion that their childless aunt has a fund going for them and also my husband's mother (FIL has passed away) will be turning 80 this year and (though I would never count on this at all) she likely also has something set up in her will for them as she has hinted in the past of such things.  If it turns out they need none of this money, they will receive it later in the form of house down payment assistance or another similar fashion.  Last year the college fund had about $60k in it but we used a good chunk to purchase an investment property.  We would consider selling it and using the proceeds to be an option for funding any shortages as well but that's not likely to be needed.  My husband wants to fund everything related to college expenses, including a monthly living expenses allowance as that's what his parents did and I think they should have to work for their fun money and day to day living expenses and would like to encourage them to live at home since room and board is more than half of the total estimated costs of attending college these days (12k at the local 4 year university, vs 9k for tuition and fees).  We have some time to figure out these details though.

Then again, it might not make financial sense to go to college in 14-16 years so we'll see. 

Goldielocks

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #60 on: February 10, 2016, 10:01:23 AM »
The cut off for my daughter to attend kindegarten was February 28th.  As she was born Feb 26th, this meant she started at 4 1/2.

Kindergarten in Canada is not like in California (where my son attended).  Here, it is about a minimum instruction - numbers, days of week, seasons, shapes, and the target is full alphabet.  It is centered around play activity centers and not study time.  The goal is to have kids love school, learn the class routines and sit in a circle together / interact, listen for instruction, line up when needed, and share.  With precursors to getting ready to learn to read.   

Yes, at least half the kids (not related to their age) are ready for reading, so most kindergatens start simple reading now in, but that is not the required cirriculum at all.   Many kids are already reading a bit by the time they enter, but some don't start until Gr. 1.

California, with all the "red shirting" turned out that Kindergaten had a lot of "sit in your seat for reading time / instruction".  At least an hour a day, often more.  Kids need to be able to sit and listen an work together before starting a program like that, and that should be the main measure, not age..

Even though DD was a year younger than everyone else (especially in California) there have not been any more problems..  It is all about how ready the kid is to enter school.

So, My DD is entering Grade 12 next year, and we are actually considering her taking Grade 12 over two years, and possibly adding a trade certificate program to the university level courses, and / or  other skills based and enjoyable classes, AP classes, university credits, etc.   We'll see.  We talk to the school later this month.  Even with this, she will be only 18 plus three months when she graduates to post secondary.   The extra year will reduce stress, build skills, and give her time to think about what post secondary training she wants.

dcozad999

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #61 on: February 10, 2016, 10:08:07 AM »
Currently have about $6K saved for little one's future college. LO is currently 4. 12 more years of compounding interest at a conservative 5% with regular $100 a month contributions, equals about $30K(conservative interest rates means this should similar in value to $30K today).

Maybe it doesn't pay for everything, but it should pay enough to give our LO a head start in life.



Right where I'm at. Little man is 4.5 yrs old and around $5500 in the plan.  $50/paycheck automatically sent to UESP. I add a couple hundred bucks for birthday and Christmas, and grandma also contributes a $200-$300/year in gifts. Will do the same for the little girl when she arrives in May/June.

I will have an extra year to save for my son though. Since he was born in mid-July we won't be sending him to kindergarten until he's six.

If we ever get to the point where we can both max out all our tax advantaged retirement vehicles, we will definitely kick in more.
No childcare I guess?

I ask because my younger child is a July baby, and my goodness, the stress of all the other moms in my baby group about whether or not to hold their boys back a year so that they are six.  Because "I don't want him to be the  youngest".  Newsflash: someone has to be the youngest.

Considering that here, a year of preschool or daycare is $15k+, I'm better off putting my July baby in kinder at 5 and saving that money for college.

Note: in my town, a few of the elementary schools are requiring six year olds be in 1st grade (and kinder is optional). So some of the parents might be choosing to hold their kids back for kinder at six, but the school will force them to enroll in first grade.


I'm willing to pay for an extra year of childcare/private kindergarten. We'd planned from the start to put him in at 6, but with his speech delay (he's getting better) we're pretty set on it. Private schools here aren't too expensive.

mm1970

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #62 on: February 10, 2016, 10:56:00 AM »
Currently have about $6K saved for little one's future college. LO is currently 4. 12 more years of compounding interest at a conservative 5% with regular $100 a month contributions, equals about $30K(conservative interest rates means this should similar in value to $30K today).

Maybe it doesn't pay for everything, but it should pay enough to give our LO a head start in life.



Right where I'm at. Little man is 4.5 yrs old and around $5500 in the plan.  $50/paycheck automatically sent to UESP. I add a couple hundred bucks for birthday and Christmas, and grandma also contributes a $200-$300/year in gifts. Will do the same for the little girl when she arrives in May/June.

I will have an extra year to save for my son though. Since he was born in mid-July we won't be sending him to kindergarten until he's six.

If we ever get to the point where we can both max out all our tax advantaged retirement vehicles, we will definitely kick in more.
No childcare I guess?

I ask because my younger child is a July baby, and my goodness, the stress of all the other moms in my baby group about whether or not to hold their boys back a year so that they are six.  Because "I don't want him to be the  youngest".  Newsflash: someone has to be the youngest.

Considering that here, a year of preschool or daycare is $15k+, I'm better off putting my July baby in kinder at 5 and saving that money for college.

Note: in my town, a few of the elementary schools are requiring six year olds be in 1st grade (and kinder is optional). So some of the parents might be choosing to hold their kids back for kinder at six, but the school will force them to enroll in first grade.

July?

Here the cutoff is December 1.  I've got 3 that are on the younger side (late August, late September, October), and 2 on the older side (February and March).  After watching the October kid be bored silly when she entered school (until a wonderful teacher sent her up a grade for reading), we tried to get the March boy enrolled early.  School refused.  Same teacher sent him up a grade as well for reading.  I really dislike arbitrary cutoffs - kids should begin school when they are ready, not because of the time of year they were born.

Sorry for the detour off topic - it's a pet peeve of mine.
Our cutoff used to be December 2, but 3 years ago they changed it.  They did 2 things:
1.  Started TK (transitional kindergarten), for children born before the cutoff
2.  Changed the cutoff

They did it over 3 years.  So year 1, Nov 1 to Dec 1 was TK, After Dec 1 you had to wait, before Nov 1 and you were in K.
Year 2, Oct 1
Year 3 and beyond, Sept 1.

So, if you are born before Sept 1, you are in Kinder
Sept 1 to Dec 1, TK (then a year of Kinder after that)

There's always some flexibility.  When my older son was in 1st grade, there was a kindergartener who was moved into 1st after a week.  And she was #1 in reading and #2 in math in that class.

Some TK kids go directly to first, and some do kinder.  I assume some kinder kids repeat kinder (my neighbor's daughter is a former foster child and late July baby, and she's thinking of having her repeat kinder.  Her older former foster child is also a July baby, but she's in her normal grade).

mm1970

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #63 on: February 10, 2016, 10:59:05 AM »
Quote
This also relates to the community college comments. That private college that I attended (and eventually graduated from) wouldn't accept most of my transfer credits from the University of Minnesota, so I'm confident they wouldn't take community college credits! I've always found it strange when people say they're going to start at a community college and then transfer somewhere else. It's not that easy. It is possible, but I think you need to have a four-year plan from the get-go - figure out if the college you hope to get your bachelor's degree at will accept your transfer credits before you even start at a community college. That being said, I commend all the students out there who do plan ahead and are able to save money by starting at a community college.

I'd imagine this varies by state.  Here in CA, there are actual well-established programs for transferring.  Several community colleges have understandings with state universities.  Example: SBCC students transfer easily into UCSB.  A former engineer of mine went to a CC in NorCal, and transferred to UCSB.  In my home town in rural PA, the local college had science and engineering transfer programs with Penn State and CMU.

In many cases, however, these are "3-2" programs (3 years CC, 2 years Uni), which can, of course, still be cheaper.  For sure 3 years at my rural PA college was cheaper than 2 at CMU.  (Still didn't do that though).

MrsPete

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #64 on: February 10, 2016, 04:03:58 PM »
I figure that there is no way to plan for what the costs / rules / laws will be 10+ years from now, or what schools my kids might want to attend, so making up some arbitrary number as a goal is silly ...  My big concern is figuring out how to keep it "equal" between the two kids.

True, you can't know what's going to happen in the world of higher education in the next decade or more, but you're not likely to be disappointed at simply saving money.  As I said earlier, we over-saved.  Not a problem at all.  We still have the extra money, and it's not going to go to waste. 

I worried about treating the kids equally, but in the end they made very different decisions for themselves, and it's worked out fine. 
What is the breakdown on this?
Current prices per year for my daughters' school -- we are in a low cost of living state, and they chose one of the less expensive of our 16 state universities:

Tuition and fees:  7, 116
Standard dorm room:  4225
Standard meal option:  2560
Textbooks:  0, rental is included in tuition
TOTAL: 13, 901

This, of course, is in-state tuition.

As I said earlier in this thread, we set out early to save 10,000/child/year, figuring that with that amount set aside it'd be easy to pay the rest with current salaries -- and it has, especially since both our girls are on excellent scholarships.  The reality has been that we've paid only a fraction of the above prices. 

More and more high quality colleges (they tend to be private colleges) are limiting the transfer credit they accept from CCs. Perhaps even more important is that some graduate and professional programs are limiting the credit they accept from an applicant when they completed specific courses at community colleges or through AP programs.
It's super easy to check on this using this website:  http://www.collegetransfer.net/Search/SearchforCourseEquivalencies/tabid/100/Default.aspx

Enter the school you're attending ... enter the school you plan to attend ... and you'll see a looooong list of exactly what will transfer and what'll come in only as elective credit.  If you plan, you shouldn't lose any credits.

Incidentally, I'm always surprised to see that people consider private schools to be better.  In our state, we have a couple EXCELLENT private schools that're prestigious and VERY expensive (as in one year costs as much as a whole education at my daughters' state school).  The others target students who didn't do well in high school but come from well-to-do families who would never consider NOT sending their kids to college; admission is non-competative, but the prices run about 45K per year.

Thank you for the alternate thinking on Community Colleges.  Definitely not something I had considered.
We have absolutely found our younger child's community college experience to be second-rate in several ways.  While it was her choice, and she really wasn't ready to leave home straight out of high school, I'm glad she'll be moving to a full-fledged university next year as a sophomore. 

DebtFreeBy25

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #65 on: February 10, 2016, 06:21:27 PM »
That's so funny! I'm from MN where we have that program, and I went to the University of MN for a few classes my junior year, and went to a private college full-time my senior year (moved into the dorms and all).

That's an awesome deal! My state covers courses taken at any public institution and provides partial tuition for some private colleges. I don't believe it's possible to move in the dorms, but students can attend college full-time.

FYI- The program name is changing in my state and will no longer be PSEO. The new name in Ohio is "College Credit Plus".

https://www.ohiohighered.org/content/college_credit_plus_info_students_families


tobitonic

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #66 on: February 10, 2016, 06:46:35 PM »
3.) We love our children and don't want them to have a large amount of debt hanging over them when they're starting out.

So the implication is people who don't pay for all college costs don't love their children?  :P

Oh, and something to keep in mind for us is that we'd rather work until 65 and have our kids fully funded through college than retire a day earlier and leave them with loans. This isn't how most folks on this forum think, and that's okay, but this is one of the many things we find more important than the RE part of FIRE. Our kids earned their college funds (to the extent we'll be able to provide them) by being born.

JustTrying

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #67 on: February 10, 2016, 07:39:12 PM »
That's so funny! I'm from MN where we have that program, and I went to the University of MN for a few classes my junior year, and went to a private college full-time my senior year (moved into the dorms and all). It's a great program. Now I live in WA State where they have a much less impressive program called "Running Start" in which high school students can attend community colleges for free. The locals think it's amazing (and it really is better than nothing), but since I went to a private school for free, I'm not quite as impressed as the locals. I had never heard of another state that had the PSEO program - and to be honest, I don't really think it's a common program to have. I've never met someone from another state who had the program. Sometimes they'll think they have something similar (like WA's Running Start), but it's not really the same.

This also relates to the community college comments. That private college that I attended (and eventually graduated from) wouldn't accept most of my transfer credits from the University of Minnesota, so I'm confident they wouldn't take community college credits! I've always found it strange when people say they're going to start at a community college and then transfer somewhere else. It's not that easy. It is possible, but I think you need to have a four-year plan from the get-go - figure out if the college you hope to get your bachelor's degree at will accept your transfer credits before you even start at a community college. That being said, I commend all the students out there who do plan ahead and are able to save money by starting at a community college.

I'm also in MN. Do you mind sharing what private school you went to, and why they didn't accept U credits? I went to the U, granted, but most of the PSEO students I knew got their credits from the U and I've never heard of them not being accepted. (You could also PM me if you don't mind sharing but don't want to put it all out there.)

On a more general note, when I was looking at colleges they all had guides for what transfer credits they'd accept and from where. Does that not happen anymore?

Sent you a private message, Merula!

JustTrying

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #68 on: February 10, 2016, 07:41:42 PM »
Quote
This also relates to the community college comments. That private college that I attended (and eventually graduated from) wouldn't accept most of my transfer credits from the University of Minnesota, so I'm confident they wouldn't take community college credits! I've always found it strange when people say they're going to start at a community college and then transfer somewhere else. It's not that easy. It is possible, but I think you need to have a four-year plan from the get-go - figure out if the college you hope to get your bachelor's degree at will accept your transfer credits before you even start at a community college. That being said, I commend all the students out there who do plan ahead and are able to save money by starting at a community college.

I'd imagine this varies by state.  Here in CA, there are actual well-established programs for transferring.  Several community colleges have understandings with state universities.  Example: SBCC students transfer easily into UCSB.  A former engineer of mine went to a CC in NorCal, and transferred to UCSB.  In my home town in rural PA, the local college had science and engineering transfer programs with Penn State and CMU.

In many cases, however, these are "3-2" programs (3 years CC, 2 years Uni), which can, of course, still be cheaper.  For sure 3 years at my rural PA college was cheaper than 2 at CMU.  (Still didn't do that though).

Yes, I agree, I lived in LA for awhile and it did seem like it was relatively easy for people to transfer community college credits. Also, community college was so cheap that I couldn't figure out why everyone didn't at least have an associates degree!

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #69 on: February 11, 2016, 11:28:06 AM »
We have three children, ages 6, 8, and 10 (currently in 1st, 3rd, and 4th grades), so we'll have three kids in college at the same time.  This is a second marriage, so all of the kids have other parents too.  Our goal is to pay for tuition and fees for all three of them at an in-state public university.

I priced the cost of tuition and fees at my alma mater (a well-respected state university a few hours away) and the local state university (30 minutes away), did a bit of accounting for inflation, and settled on $50k per kid.  That ought to just about cover tuition and fees for 8 semesters.

If tuition and fees for an in-state public university is more than this, we'll cash-flow the rest.   If they choose to go out of state or to a private university, they are responsible for the difference.

For housing, the kids can either get scholarships, work part time to pay for it themselves, live at home, or ask their other parents for help (2 of the children have a parent who is also saving for them, at a smaller rate; the 3rd's other parent is actively discouraging child from pursuing higher education.  Sigh.).

We're putting in a smaller amount annually now, and as soon as each child ages out of day care, those payments will be diverted into the 529s.

My husband went back to college last year.  We are cash flowing that.  He is finishing his basics at the local community college with a plan to transfer to another college for the last two years.  He meets with an adviser at the second school every semester to make sure that the classes he is taking now will transfer.

Gin1984

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #70 on: February 11, 2016, 12:06:21 PM »
Quote
This also relates to the community college comments. That private college that I attended (and eventually graduated from) wouldn't accept most of my transfer credits from the University of Minnesota, so I'm confident they wouldn't take community college credits! I've always found it strange when people say they're going to start at a community college and then transfer somewhere else. It's not that easy. It is possible, but I think you need to have a four-year plan from the get-go - figure out if the college you hope to get your bachelor's degree at will accept your transfer credits before you even start at a community college. That being said, I commend all the students out there who do plan ahead and are able to save money by starting at a community college.

I'd imagine this varies by state.  Here in CA, there are actual well-established programs for transferring.  Several community colleges have understandings with state universities.  Example: SBCC students transfer easily into UCSB.  A former engineer of mine went to a CC in NorCal, and transferred to UCSB.  In my home town in rural PA, the local college had science and engineering transfer programs with Penn State and CMU.

In many cases, however, these are "3-2" programs (3 years CC, 2 years Uni), which can, of course, still be cheaper.  For sure 3 years at my rural PA college was cheaper than 2 at CMU.  (Still didn't do that though).

Yes, I agree, I lived in LA for awhile and it did seem like it was relatively easy for people to transfer community college credits. Also, community college was so cheap that I couldn't figure out why everyone didn't at least have an associates degree!
But I was in Ca, and still had a problem with my credits, not transferring but transfer enough to cut my degree down to only two years at the state school.  They transferred but most of the departments were upper division heavy.

partgypsy

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #71 on: February 11, 2016, 01:06:42 PM »
Currently have about $6K saved for little one's future college. LO is currently 4. 12 more years of compounding interest at a conservative 5% with regular $100 a month contributions, equals about $30K(conservative interest rates means this should similar in value to $30K today).

Maybe it doesn't pay for everything, but it should pay enough to give our LO a head start in life.



Right where I'm at. Little man is 4.5 yrs old and around $5500 in the plan.  $50/paycheck automatically sent to UESP. I add a couple hundred bucks for birthday and Christmas, and grandma also contributes a $200-$300/year in gifts. Will do the same for the little girl when she arrives in May/June.

I will have an extra year to save for my son though. Since he was born in mid-July we won't be sending him to kindergarten until he's six.

If we ever get to the point where we can both max out all our tax advantaged retirement vehicles, we will definitely kick in more.
No childcare I guess?

I ask because my younger child is a July baby, and my goodness, the stress of all the other moms in my baby group about whether or not to hold their boys back a year so that they are six.  Because "I don't want him to be the  youngest".  Newsflash: someone has to be the youngest.

Considering that here, a year of preschool or daycare is $15k+, I'm better off putting my July baby in kinder at 5 and saving that money for college.

Note: in my town, a few of the elementary schools are requiring six year olds be in 1st grade (and kinder is optional). So some of the parents might be choosing to hold their kids back for kinder at six, but the school will force them to enroll in first grade.

July?

Here the cutoff is December 1.  I've got 3 that are on the younger side (late August, late September, October), and 2 on the older side (February and March).  After watching the October kid be bored silly when she entered school (until a wonderful teacher sent her up a grade for reading), we tried to get the March boy enrolled early.  School refused.  Same teacher sent him up a grade as well for reading.  I really dislike arbitrary cutoffs - kids should begin school when they are ready, not because of the time of year they were born.

Sorry for the detour off topic - it's a pet peeve of mine.
It is arbitrary and can be annoying. Our daughter wanted to start school with her best friend at the time who was was born in July, while DD was born in December, after the October cut off.  We asked showing she already knew all the kindergarten stuff, but no said it was not an option. The following year they did testing, and let us know she is at least a grade ahead in all areas. So I said what next, do we move her up a grade? No. Instead she is enrolled in their academic/intellectually gifted tracks. They used to move people up a grade, my sister and I started early and both my Mom and nephew were skipped grades by their teachers. But now the school acts like it is not an option. In some ways it was a blessing in disguise. Sad to say sometimes the AIG programs covers the material in a more interesting or different way than the regular grade material.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2016, 01:15:51 PM by partgypsy »

muckety_muck

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #72 on: February 11, 2016, 06:29:41 PM »
We plan to pay for it all, at an in-state 4-year university. Possibly also grad school if we have the means. As long as they keep their grades up, take at least one class each summer to keep their brains in the game, and take a part-time summer job that's fun and relaxing.

We anticipate some scholarships to come their way (we both had full scholarships plus some based on our academic success in HS), and have planned accordingly to pay for rent, food, etc. when the time comes. We hope to raise them to be appreciative of this, although they are toddlers right now so it will be a while before we have a serious college talk. Kindergarten is their next big milestone!

We graduated with NO student loan debt, and it's one of the greatest gifts our parents ever provided. They paid our rent, food, books, etc and our scholarship covered tuition and computers and other miscellaneous fees. However, they would have paid our tuition as well, if we hadn't received academic scholarships.

We'll probably have somewhere between $50-80k per kid saved by the time they head off to college. We will cash-flow anything else, like a semester abroad, etc if what we set aside turns out to be not enough.

MrsPete

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #73 on: February 12, 2016, 11:15:41 AM »
That's so funny! I'm from MN where we have that program, and I went to the University of MN for a few classes my junior year, and went to a private college full-time my senior year (moved into the dorms and all). It's a great program. Now I live in WA State where they have a much less impressive program called "Running Start" in which high school students can attend community colleges for free. The locals think it's amazing (and it really is better than nothing), but since I went to a private school for free, I'm not quite as impressed as the locals. I had never heard of another state that had the PSEO program - and to be honest, I don't really think it's a common program to have. I've never met someone from another state who had the program. Sometimes they'll think they have something similar (like WA's Running Start), but it's not really the same.

This also relates to the community college comments. That private college that I attended (and eventually graduated from) wouldn't accept most of my transfer credits from the University of Minnesota, so I'm confident they wouldn't take community college credits! I've always found it strange when people say they're going to start at a community college and then transfer somewhere else. It's not that easy. It is possible, but I think you need to have a four-year plan from the get-go - figure out if the college you hope to get your bachelor's degree at will accept your transfer credits before you even start at a community college. That being said, I commend all the students out there who do plan ahead and are able to save money by starting at a community college.

I'm also in MN. Do you mind sharing what private school you went to, and why they didn't accept U credits? I went to the U, granted, but most of the PSEO students I knew got their credits from the U and I've never heard of them not being accepted. (You could also PM me if you don't mind sharing but don't want to put it all out there.)

On a more general note, when I was looking at colleges they all had guides for what transfer credits they'd accept and from where. Does that not happen anymore?
They do, but the problem is WHAT they transfer in as and many school now top load their programs so finish my degree in four years my sophomore year I would need to take upper division course work.  I had classes that counted as electives but not requirements even if the classes were similar (or even identical, same professor, same book etc but the one at the CC was underdivision and the one at the university was upper).
Again, you can check this online before you enroll in the classes.  Try that website I posted earlier on this thread.

CanuckExpat

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #74 on: February 12, 2016, 03:34:09 PM »
Interesting thread, I see people have approaches all over the place. We have a one year old, we are taking a mixed approach. We have no specific plans regards paying for his college, but do have some money set aside in a 529, because we didn't want to pass up on tax advantaged savings room.

My views are probably colored by going to school in Canada, but I paid my own way, and graduated with student loan debt. It wasn't the end of the world, I hold no grudge against my parents nor do I think I would have been spectacularly thankful had they paid my way; from my perspective at the time, I just thought it was rich kids whose parents paid for their school, everyone else worked or took student loans.

So we have money in a 529 that we lump-summed in, if we lived in a state with tax deductions, we'd probably contribute the maximum each year to get the tax deduction, but if we decided to later, I'd also have no problem raiding the 529 for some other purpose (and paying the tax penalty).

SomedayStache

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #75 on: February 13, 2016, 10:37:28 AM »
With 3 kids (7,4,2) I think about this topic a lot.  I started 529 plans for our two older children when they were born.  However, we were woefully underfunding our retirement and once I started down the personal finance rabbit hole we stopped the 529 contributions.

I think the current skyrocketing college costs and insane debt levels for college grads are unsustainable and at some point the whole system must undergo a radical change.  Will this happen before my children are in college?  Who knows.  But in any case my family currently doesn't have enough $ to live wisely AND save for college.

My plan is to live frugally and teach my children about money by example.  Hopefully they will have a better understanding of finances than I did at 18.  My goals are to
1. max out my 401k (not even in the ballpark yet).
2. Once step one is achieved start saving in Roth IRAs as this money could be withdrawn for college costs if necessary.
3. Pay close attention to FAFSA and EFC rules in the next few decades.  I want to think outside the box and be ready for extreme action such as taking  leave without pay or going part-time if the payoff would get multiple children free tuition.

I think skin in the game is important and saw many fellow students waste their time and their parent's money.  It was all on me to pay for my engineering degree and I got out of there with highest honors while holding down an almost full-time job and accruing minimal debt....BUT I absolutely do not want my children to be in the situation I was in.  Some of the highlights of my college time involve getting shingles from stress and lack of sleep, stealing toilet paper from the university stalls because I couldn't afford to buy it, and living next door to meth heads.  If it is possible for us to help our children we will, but to what level remains to be determined.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2016, 10:39:11 AM by SomedayStache »

PathToFI

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #76 on: February 14, 2016, 07:42:46 AM »
I appreciate the original question because I spend time trying to figure this out for myself without solid results.

Our two children are 2 and 4 years old. 
I've looked at many college savings calculator web sites and the one at American Funds seems pretty user friendly.  That calculator defaults it's "annual college inflation rate" to 6% and lets you adjust it.   I really hope the college cost inflation is not going to average 6% but it is this unknown that makes it tough. 

This particular calculator shows the average 2015 in-state cost including everything of $22,879.  At the defaulted 6% college cost inflation it shows a total cost of $226K if starting in 14 years and $254K if starting in 16Years.  Adjusting the cost inflation down to 4% results in $168K & $182K.

1. If it looks like these inflation rates are going to happen, I hope to have at least $150K per child by the time they start.
2.  I hate debt and hope to be able to give my children the gift of a debt free education by covering nearly everything. 

I owed double my initial annual income when I graduated and I don't believe this skin in the game made the experience that much more valuable to me.  Some people grow up appreciative and grateful others just piss things away no matter what the source is.  Hopefully I can raise my kids to be appreciative of everything people do for them, otherwise the plan may change.

We started a little late having children so I will be 58 when my youngest starts college.   Our early retirement planning has changed substantially since the kids came along.  I still hope to be able to retire before the kids start college but I will be delaying retirement to fund our kids education.  After financial independence is achieved I don't see a better use for my efforts than hopefully helping my children develop happy, full and free of debt lives.

MrsPete

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #77 on: February 20, 2016, 09:23:25 AM »
I think skin in the game is important and saw many fellow students waste their time and their parent's money.  It was all on me to pay for my engineering degree and I got out of there with highest honors while holding down an almost full-time job and accruing minimal debt....BUT I absolutely do not want my children to be in the situation I was in.  Some of the highlights of my college time involve getting shingles from stress and lack of sleep, stealing toilet paper from the university stalls because I couldn't afford to buy it, and living next door to meth heads.  If it is possible for us to help our children we will, but to what level remains to be determined.
I disagree with the skin in the game concept; rather, I buy into the idea of know thine own child.  If your teenager has blown through money like it's nothing during his high school years, yeah, he probably does need to work and put his own money towards tuition so it'll seem real.  However, I started working with my kids on making frugal choices from around the time they started school, about the time they were able to grasp the concept of money.  By the time they were ready for college, they'd proven that they understood that money doesn't grow on trees, and they fully understood that their college money was a result of many small sacrifices over the years, and they were ready to honor those sacrifices by working hard.  They've done their part solidly, and we've had no problems on that front. 

However, I can totally relate to your comment about working too hard in college /it having a negative effect on your health /taking chances with your safety.  Especially the safety thing:  I lived in some horrible places, and I'm sure the only reason I wasn't robbed was that the drug-dealer neighbors could tell I didn't own anything worth stealing.  That I wasn't raped or murdered was nothing short of God's grace.  And, oh, yes, I clearly remember taking bunches of napkins from the school cafeteria to use as toilet paper ... sneaking into various receptions in the student center because they'd have snacks ... being unable to afford the textbook ... working all night, then going straight to class ... literally having holes in my shoes ... getting sick and being unable to go to the doctor.  It was much more than was good for me, and -- looking back -- I don't even know how I did it.  And I didn't manage it in four years, which means I had to do it for a longer period of time.

And today's college tuition is higher, so it's even harder today.  In contrast, my husband and I together enough that paying for college just isn't a hardship. 

mxt0133

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #78 on: February 20, 2016, 09:45:50 PM »
However, I can totally relate to your comment about working too hard in college /it having a negative effect on your health /taking chances with your safety.  Especially the safety thing:  I lived in some horrible places, and I'm sure the only reason I wasn't robbed was that the drug-dealer neighbors could tell I didn't own anything worth stealing.  That I wasn't raped or murdered was nothing short of God's grace.  And, oh, yes, I clearly remember taking bunches of napkins from the school cafeteria to use as toilet paper ... sneaking into various receptions in the student center because they'd have snacks ... being unable to afford the textbook ... working all night, then going straight to class ... literally having holes in my shoes ... getting sick and being unable to go to the doctor.  It was much more than was good for me, and -- looking back -- I don't even know how I did it.  And I didn't manage it in four years, which means I had to do it for a longer period of time.

Curious if you feel pride that you were able to get through that ordeal all by yourself or do you feel resentment that your parents did not help you out more?




MrsPete

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #79 on: February 21, 2016, 11:52:33 AM »
Curious if you feel pride that you were able to get through that ordeal all by yourself or do you feel resentment that your parents did not help you out more?
Truth be told, some of both. 

On the one hand, I fully understand that they were living paycheck to paycheck and didn't have money to give me.  I have no resentment over that at all. 

What I resent is that they knew I needed that FAFSA paperwork filled out, and they knew I couldn't do it without their tax information.  Yet year after year I'd call them 2-3 times a week begging them to hurry up and do it, and year after year they refused to do their taxes until the week before they were due.  They would not hear that more money was available if the FAFSA was turned in earlier (our state had a limited amount of money that was paid out first-come, first-serve at that point -- I don't think that's true any longer).  And one year they wouldn't do it for me at all.  I am still resentful that they wouldn't support me in that way. 

And I am resentful that they made it clear I could not live at home during college.  They made it sound as if they were doing me a great favor by allowing me to remain on their insurance (even though they had four younger children who were still on their insurance, and covering me too cost not one penny more than covering the others who were still minors).  I was allowed to come home for short breaks but not for summer.  They felt that providing housing for an adult child would inhibit independence. 

I am resentful that they provided me with no guidance in choosing a college, a major, and so forth.  The truth is, they didn't want me to go.  My mom had gone to college straight out of high school and had promptly flunked out; however, they never looked at the fact that my mom was always a lackluster high school student.  I was ready for college and was successful. 

Having said that, yes, I'm proud of my accomplishment. 

Prairie Stash

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #80 on: February 21, 2016, 03:48:26 PM »
Hello! We'll be having our first child this summer. I've been thinking about college savings, and I'm wondering:

1. How much (in a dollar amount) do you hope to have saved for your child's college?
2. What are you hoping this will cover? (E.g. just tuition, tuition + books, tuition + books + living costs, etc.)
3. How did you arrive at that particular number?

I'd like to have a particular dollar amount in mind to work towards, but it seems difficult to determine a dollar amount to save when I don't know how much college will cost in 18 years (or which college my child will prefer). I'd love to hear what others are doing?
Canada - live in a city with a nice university.
1) $50K in future value 
2) Tuition and e-books. E-textbooks are much cheaper and more portable, since they all fit onto a tablet. My university already offers alumni access to e-textbooks. Living expenses will be covered by living at home.
3) Extrapolated tuition amounts with a plan to adjust when the kid is 14. I started by doubling my tuition bills. 

I also figure minimum wage will be $15/hour by then, there's 640 working hours/summer for students to earn some cash to cover clothes, cars, fun. Work experience is a valuable part of education, I don't think its ad to expect kids to chip in. Its conceivable for kids to earn $30,000 in the future throughout 3 summers employment plus a little saved from high school. In my day I earned $20K+ (over multiple summers/high school), I'm guessing most people here earned a little in their summers.

BetsyS

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #81 on: February 21, 2016, 08:41:13 PM »
Really interesting thread. but the 'how much should I save' is only part of the question.

here's three things I think are MORE important:

1. preparing your child to think critically and frugally about money
2. preparing your kid to succeed in college
3. between now and then, put the money in the most flexible-but-beneficial account possible.

1. seems obvious. 2., it's interesting to read what those involved in education have said. As someone who works in higher ed I know it is sooo important that students are prepared when they arrive at university - mainly scholastically, but emotional maturity too. US colleges and universities are doing a better job at filling the gap if kids are unprepared for college-level work, but you probably need to do a lot of homework in advance to know which places are going to do this well. Also, if your kid is prepared to succeed, then the chances of dropping out are much lower - increasing the value of investment in a college education regardless of who is making the investment.

3., just scan over all the different options that everyone has discussed on this board about the different payment/savings options, and all the different college/university/credit choices. Add that together with the high variability of how good an education is at different colleges and universities, and the complexity now is immense. And it's only going to get more complex - start adding in MOOCs or international credit transfers and whatever else we'll invent in the next 20 years. higher ed is really churning right now. The more flexible the account you have the money in, the more likely you can use it as needed if you think it's possible you'll oversave.

MrsPete

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #82 on: February 21, 2016, 08:48:23 PM »
Really interesting thread. but the 'how much should I save' is only part of the question.

here's three things I think are MORE important:

1. preparing your child to think critically and frugally about money
2. preparing your kid to succeed in college
3. between now and then, put the money in the most flexible-but-beneficial account possible.
Best comments on this thread.  Possibly the smartest sum-up I've ever read about college savings.

mxt0133

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #83 on: February 21, 2016, 09:07:55 PM »
Curious if you feel pride that you were able to get through that ordeal all by yourself or do you feel resentment that your parents did not help you out more?
Truth be told, some of both. 

On the one hand, I fully understand that they were living paycheck to paycheck and didn't have money to give me.  I have no resentment over that at all. 

What I resent is that they knew I needed that FAFSA paperwork filled out, and they knew I couldn't do it without their tax information.  Yet year after year I'd call them 2-3 times a week begging them to hurry up and do it, and year after year they refused to do their taxes until the week before they were due.  They would not hear that more money was available if the FAFSA was turned in earlier (our state had a limited amount of money that was paid out first-come, first-serve at that point -- I don't think that's true any longer).  And one year they wouldn't do it for me at all.  I am still resentful that they wouldn't support me in that way. 

And I am resentful that they made it clear I could not live at home during college.  They made it sound as if they were doing me a great favor by allowing me to remain on their insurance (even though they had four younger children who were still on their insurance, and covering me too cost not one penny more than covering the others who were still minors).  I was allowed to come home for short breaks but not for summer.  They felt that providing housing for an adult child would inhibit independence. 

I am resentful that they provided me with no guidance in choosing a college, a major, and so forth.  The truth is, they didn't want me to go.  My mom had gone to college straight out of high school and had promptly flunked out; however, they never looked at the fact that my mom was always a lackluster high school student.  I was ready for college and was successful. 

Having said that, yes, I'm proud of my accomplishment.

Sorry to hear that your parents were not very supportive during your college years.  My experience with my parents was much better, which I am grateful for.  Even though they did not have money saved for our college tuition, they let us live at home, free room and board, and even helped us out buying used cars that would get us back and forth from college.  Extra spending money was on us.  The only thing we did not get from our parents was guidance and advice on navigating our way before and during college.  Which I really can't blame them as we were first generation immigrants and had no clue how to navigate college admissions or financing.  Fortunately for my brother and I, we both received full tuition scholarships and managed to get out of college debt free. 

My parents had the attitude that no matter what you have to go to college, and even though it worked out for us, I have seen too many kids that just go to college because they were pressured/forced to even tough they struggled throughout high school.  They were basically set up for failure and then chastised that they weren't appreciative of their parents financial support when they eventually flunked out.

I completely agree with you on the 'know thine own child'.  I think that you have to be honest with what your children's strengths and weakness are.  If they don't do well in the traditional lecture model, then they are going to have a hard time at a traditional college, where it's all mostly lecture based instruction.  No matter how much skin they have in the game, it won't change the fact that they will struggle and probably make it worse.  It doesn't mean that they won't eventually do well in that environment but learning additional learning and study skills along with a bit more maturity will increase their chances for success.

For me the 'skin in the game' strategy is more of a learning experience, just enough pressure that they think twice about partying all weekend vs just Friday night and hunkering down the rest of the weekend to prepare for the mid-term or final.  I plan to be there to guide them through college if they ask but they won't get a dime from me if they don't put in the work themselves.


desertadapted

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #84 on: February 22, 2016, 07:59:51 AM »
Hello! We'll be having our first child this summer. I've been thinking about college savings, and I'm wondering:

1. How much (in a dollar amount) do you hope to have saved for your child's college?
2. What are you hoping this will cover? (E.g. just tuition, tuition + books, tuition + books + living costs, etc.)
3. How did you arrive at that particular number?

I'd like to have a particular dollar amount in mind to work towards, but it seems difficult to determine a dollar amount to save when I don't know how much college will cost in 18 years (or which college my child will prefer). I'd love to hear what others are doing?

1.  $60,000 per kid in a 529 (Ohio has nice Vanguard funds, and you don't have to live there to participate or, in my State, to get a deduction).  We have assumed that the remainder would come from our standard savings and investment accounts to preserve flexibility not afforded by the 529's.  If the kids turn out to be scholarship machines, bully for us, and the 529 can apply to grad school.
2.  The whole shebang.  Our assumption is that we would encourage some work, but not much.  Our view is that the principal job of a university student is academic excellence.  Some can balance work and excellence, but we're not prepared to count on it.  I was given a debt free start and freedom to do well in school, and it helped.  Now if I'd been partying non-stop . . .  We have time to be flexible about what we'll require if they aren't using the free school opportunity appropriately.
3.   We've estimated $150,000 per kid.  A variety of state schools have online cost estimators for the current school year.  Ours estimates a bit over $30,000 soup to nuts (including literally everything, not just tuition/room/board).  Assuming continued inflation and being conservative about scholarships (we won't earn need based), we arrived at the $150K.  It's more of a thought exercise than anything, since $180K of the total we plan to have in our regular accounts.  If the kids don't need it, great!  If they do, we're prepared (hopefully).   
4.  We're toying with providing an incentive for academic and related scholarships by offering a 10-20% cash credit to the recipient (on the theory that we're paying them to save us money).  Still playing with the idea, but we're aware that there are tons of small scholarships out there through private companies/non-profits that can be obtained for the price of a little academic elbow grease (e.g., a well-written essay or similar). We have to think it through and work on the parameters so that they don't chase a weak school for scholarship money.   

Gin1984

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #85 on: February 22, 2016, 08:06:21 AM »
Hello! We'll be having our first child this summer. I've been thinking about college savings, and I'm wondering:

1. How much (in a dollar amount) do you hope to have saved for your child's college?
2. What are you hoping this will cover? (E.g. just tuition, tuition + books, tuition + books + living costs, etc.)
3. How did you arrive at that particular number?

I'd like to have a particular dollar amount in mind to work towards, but it seems difficult to determine a dollar amount to save when I don't know how much college will cost in 18 years (or which college my child will prefer). I'd love to hear what others are doing?

1.  $60,000 per kid in a 529 (Ohio has nice Vanguard funds, and you don't have to live there to participate or, in my State, to get a deduction).  We have assumed that the remainder would come from our standard savings and investment accounts to preserve flexibility not afforded by the 529's.  If the kids turn out to be scholarship machines, bully for us, and the 529 can apply to grad school.
2.  The whole shebang.  Our assumption is that we would encourage some work, but not much.  Our view is that the principal job of a university student is academic excellence.  Some can balance work and excellence, but we're not prepared to count on it.  I was given a debt free start and freedom to do well in school, and it helped.  Now if I'd been partying non-stop . . .  We have time to be flexible about what we'll require if they aren't using the free school opportunity appropriately.
3.   We've estimated $150,000 per kid.  A variety of state schools have online cost estimators for the current school year.  Ours estimates a bit over $30,000 soup to nuts (including literally everything, not just tuition/room/board).  Assuming continued inflation and being conservative about scholarships (we won't earn need based), we arrived at the $150K.  It's more of a thought exercise than anything, since $180K of the total we plan to have in our regular accounts.  If the kids don't need it, great!  If they do, we're prepared (hopefully).   
4.  We're toying with providing an incentive for academic and related scholarships by offering a 10-20% cash credit to the recipient (on the theory that we're paying them to save us money).  Still playing with the idea, but we're aware that there are tons of small scholarships out there through private companies/non-profits that can be obtained for the price of a little academic elbow grease (e.g., a well-written essay or similar). We have to think it through and work on the parameters so that they don't chase a weak school for scholarship money.
One thing a friend's parent did was offer half of any savings the kid found for example the parents would pay used prices at the university book store (unless used was not possible) but if the kid would go online or find other students to buy from, she got half the money as her's.  It was to continue helping her learn to be frugal. 

Gin1984

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #86 on: February 22, 2016, 08:09:32 AM »
That's so funny! I'm from MN where we have that program, and I went to the University of MN for a few classes my junior year, and went to a private college full-time my senior year (moved into the dorms and all). It's a great program. Now I live in WA State where they have a much less impressive program called "Running Start" in which high school students can attend community colleges for free. The locals think it's amazing (and it really is better than nothing), but since I went to a private school for free, I'm not quite as impressed as the locals. I had never heard of another state that had the PSEO program - and to be honest, I don't really think it's a common program to have. I've never met someone from another state who had the program. Sometimes they'll think they have something similar (like WA's Running Start), but it's not really the same.

This also relates to the community college comments. That private college that I attended (and eventually graduated from) wouldn't accept most of my transfer credits from the University of Minnesota, so I'm confident they wouldn't take community college credits! I've always found it strange when people say they're going to start at a community college and then transfer somewhere else. It's not that easy. It is possible, but I think you need to have a four-year plan from the get-go - figure out if the college you hope to get your bachelor's degree at will accept your transfer credits before you even start at a community college. That being said, I commend all the students out there who do plan ahead and are able to save money by starting at a community college.

I'm also in MN. Do you mind sharing what private school you went to, and why they didn't accept U credits? I went to the U, granted, but most of the PSEO students I knew got their credits from the U and I've never heard of them not being accepted. (You could also PM me if you don't mind sharing but don't want to put it all out there.)

On a more general note, when I was looking at colleges they all had guides for what transfer credits they'd accept and from where. Does that not happen anymore?
They do, but the problem is WHAT they transfer in as and many school now top load their programs so finish my degree in four years my sophomore year I would need to take upper division course work.  I had classes that counted as electives but not requirements even if the classes were similar (or even identical, same professor, same book etc but the one at the CC was underdivision and the one at the university was upper).
Again, you can check this online before you enroll in the classes.  Try that website I posted earlier on this thread.
Yes, I know but you missed the first part of the post.  Many majors are upper division loaded/top loaded (meaning to graduate in four years I needed to take upper division classes in sophomore year) as I said, taking classes at community college may not make sense.  Two years in a community college and three years in a university make little sense instead of four years in university. 

MrsPete

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Re: College Savings: How much and why??
« Reply #87 on: February 22, 2016, 11:04:44 AM »
One thing a friend's parent did was offer half of any savings the kid found for example the parents would pay used prices at the university book store (unless used was not possible) but if the kid would go online or find other students to buy from, she got half the money as her's.  It was to continue helping her learn to be frugal.
Yeah, I have a friend whose "house rule" is that whatever scholarship money you earn -- meaning money Mom and Dad don't have to pay -- 50% of that amount goes into an account for after college.  Could be for a new car, work wardrobe, moving expenses for a job in a new city.  Her kids didn't exactly clean up in terms of scholarships, but I thought it was a concrete way to motivate kids.

Another friend has only one child, and he wasn't strongly motivated ... so she had him take out 100% of his college costs in student loans.  The deal they made with him was intended to motivate him:  If he graduated, they'd immediately pay off the whole amount.  If he quit, the loans would become his responsibility.