Poll

How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?

Full tuition wherever they want to go
18 (14.4%)
Enough for a state school, but anything more is on them
56 (44.8%)
Nothing - I think they should pay their own way
5 (4%)
I live or plan to live outside the U.S. and this question is ridiculous to me
3 (2.4%)
Other?
23 (18.4%)
I plan to pay for some, but not all tuition
20 (16%)

Total Members Voted: 125

Voting closed: October 13, 2020, 06:41:03 AM

Author Topic: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?  (Read 2882 times)

Mrs Brightside

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How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« on: September 29, 2020, 06:41:03 AM »
I see a lot of varying opinions on this - I'm referring to undergraduate degree here. Just curious.

YttriumNitrate

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2020, 07:24:50 AM »
I'm planning on covering all costs for an in-state university, but we'll see about private universities. For the last two decades, the private school I went to has been raising their tuition 3-4% over the inflation rate. If that continues, the cost for my 2-year-old to attend that school would be over half a million dollars (in today's dollars), and that is likely far beyond what I'd be able to afford.

Laura33

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2020, 07:43:11 AM »
I am already paying full freight for one kid (private) and plan to for the other as well.  It was a goal I set for personal reasons many years ago, and I am very happy to be able to offer it to my kid.  YMMV.

I know you didn't ask, but grad school is on them.  My kids are science nerds, which means they are in the world where if they don't pay you to go to grad school, you probably shouldn't go.  And if they do some sort of professional school (medical, law, business), I'd expect them to use loans that would be paid back out of future earnings.   Of course, if my kids choose a cheaper undergrad to save some of their 529s for grad school, I'd totally support that as well. 

JustK

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2020, 08:04:45 AM »
We did pre-paid plans for both kids when they were in kindergarten (DS is 17, DD is 8). We also live in a state that offers free in-state tuition if you meet certain academic criteria and complete a set number of volunteer hours. DS easily met those criteria, in addition to earning a scholarship from the state university, but DD is a lot less... focused, so I am not sure she will have the same success (or if the state will be able to afford to keep the program going long enough for her to benefit.) I recently opened a 529 plan for her, as I suspect she will need more help from the Bank of Mom when the time comes. I will help as much as I can, within reason.

My goal is for my kids to make it through college without student loans. I was a first generation college grad in my family, and I made all the wrong choices along the way, and it has taken a very long time to undo that damage.

StacheDash

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2020, 08:10:54 AM »
Iím operating on a defined contribution model right now. My children are young, and Iím saving a set amount per month. Iím aiming to have enough to pay for four years of public school assuming costs increase at the same rate as inflation and the investments return 5% on average. Those assumptions wonít match reality, but they seem like a good place to start.

Iím trying to maintain mental flexibility with this plan, too. My youngest wonít be in college for 18 more years. I have no idea what higher education will look like then, if my kids will choose to attend college, or anything else for that matter. I may use the money to get another (fun) degree myself if neither of my children need it.

Cranky

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2020, 09:09:09 AM »
We paid our required family contribution. One kid went to a lovely expensive elite private college and two went to state university. One out of state school offered in state rates. One kid had an enormous scholarship. One kid worked and went to school part time. All got 4 year degrees with 0 debt.

We had no college savings, so we just squeezed it out of the budget.

DadJokes

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2020, 09:21:46 AM »
The poll needs another option

I plan to pay for some, not all. I expect him to have some skin in the game.

chemistk

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2020, 09:29:31 AM »
The poll needs another option

I plan to pay for some, not all. I expect him to have some skin in the game.

I second this notion. We are casually contributing to 529's for each of them, but the amount is not high and I expect that each may have low-5 figures by the time they get to College-age.

When school does come around, we do intend to help/fully fund room/board/off campus housing and other costs that come up but they will likely all need to take some form of loan.

Thing is, our oldest is only 5, so who knows what the cost of education will look like in 12-13 years.

Paper Chaser

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2020, 09:48:43 AM »
Goal is to have $500/month invested for each kid (only 1 at the moment). By the time they get to college age that should be into 6 figures, but that savings bucket is last on the priority list each month so if something like a job loss or extensive illness occurs that gets cut first. It's a long way off and a lot can change between now and then.

I also like the idea of making the funds available for loan repayment upon graduation, rather than simply paying outright each semester which can provide some incentive for kiddo to actually complete the schooling rather than potentially funding a drop out situation. If the funds aren't needed for education for some reason, they can be used to provide a stipend or perhaps a downpayment for a house, go toward their retirement, etc. If they need more than that, they're probably on their own unless I can cash flow it by working a bit longer (FIRE date and kiddo's high school graduation are pretty close).
« Last Edit: September 29, 2020, 09:54:00 AM by Paper Chaser »

StarBright

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2020, 09:56:48 AM »
It depends on the child and their capabilities/work ethic.

If they don't excel academically we will send them to our free option (if it is still free in a decade) through DH's job.

If they are academic rockstars who get into an Ivy or equivalent we will do what we can to make that happen (because it opens all the doors).

Everything else in the middle will be decided on combination of school/child/and ROI (for them - not us :) ).

We plan to cashflow college expenses w/ a backup of using our Roths if we need to.

DH and I were both majority scholarship kids. He paid his balance with loans, my parents generously paid my tuition that wasn't covered, and I always paid my living expenses. All grad degrees were self funded.

simonsez

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2020, 10:13:25 AM »
The poll needs another option

I plan to pay for some, not all. I expect him to have some skin in the game.
Same, selected 'Other'.

FindingFI

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2020, 10:51:09 AM »
The poll needs another option

I plan to pay for some, not all. I expect him to have some skin in the game.

We plan to pay for the first 2 years wherever they want to go.  Everything after that is on them.  The intention is to provide some help so student loan balances are manageable after graduation, but also make them accountable for choices and provide a crash course in personal finance for adults with bills (compared to the much simpler life of a high school student) while still in school.

Want to go to the expensive private school? Here's what you are looking at in monthly student loan payments when you graduate at that private school and the state university and what your salary might be given your selected major. Fancy apartments are great, but here's how much rent, groceries and utilities cost a month. Is it worth it? Skipping class is a lot harder when you know how much you are paying for it.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2020, 11:02:22 AM »
Similar to others, will certainly have enough for state universities for both (they are currently 13 & 14). We will expect them to have "skin in the game", and will vary that based on college readiness, capability, etc but will likely look like them saving a percentage of their paychecks from high school through college. That money will be used for living expenses, books, etc. Unlikely room & board.

We are also open to covering grad school and/or other expenses, but it will very case by case & not guaranteed. If a kid is busting their butt, working hard, we would be open to the potential of covering part of grad school. We would also encourage them to consider employer based coverage (how I paid for part of my MBA).

honeybbq

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2020, 12:54:18 PM »
I plan to have around ~$100k in their 529 when I think I will FIRE. It may be more or less than that. So whatever that buys. If do plan on covering more out of other vehicles if necessary.  So an all/other blend in the choices listed.

secondcor521

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2020, 01:54:00 PM »
I have a DS25, DS20, and DD18.  DS25 is in his last semester at an in state public university getting a degree in Supply Chain and IT Management.  DS20 is on a break but is approximately a sophomore at an out of state private university getting a degree in Mechanical Engineering.  DD18 is in their first semester at an in state public university getting a degree in Music Education.

After scholarships and financial aid, I pay for 100% of required expenses, which include tuition, room, board, fees, books, supplies (computers, musical instruments), and travel to and from school.  They're responsible for all optional expenses (pizza, alcohol, dates) and all personal expenses (clothes, cell phone, car expenses).

They are generally required to have a plan to get a marketable degree that leads to a first job - plans are worthless, planning is essential, so the plan can change but there must be one.  As you can see, they're all doing that.

I can require that they make reasonable efforts to reduce the cost of college.  For example, I can require that the fill out the FAFSA, or make sure their AP scores are sent to the university, etc.

If their grades are not decent, that indicates to me that there is a problem that needs to be addressed, and my support for them remaining in college may be suspended while the problem gets resolved.

I discourage loans and will not help my kids obtain them, which includes not cosigning loans.

If they go to school nearby, they can live and eat at home for free.

...

My expectation is that my kids are self sufficient.  I am agnostic as to whether this meant going into the military and/or military academy, going to college, getting a job, or starting a business.  Although in the case of my kids, they all rejected the military and getting a job; all three chose the college route, although one may yet start a business at some point.

...

Currently there appears to be a surplus of money in their college accounts.  I plan to distribute this to them as they graduate, in proportions that are inverted from the amount that I spent out of pocket on their education.

...

It's really hard to predict how kids' college situations will work out.  It'd be nice if they all picked the right school the first time, go through in 4 years, never change majors, etc.  But that rarely, if ever, happens.  Personally, I changed majors four times, transferred schools, took a year and a half off to work, spent an extra semester (mostly due to transferring), and got married.  My oldest has lost a full ride scholarship at his first school, changed schools, stopped out to work, and has changed majors four times.  My middle has stopped out due to COVID, and may take some classes at a second local school to keep up with his classmates at his primary school.  My youngest is not 100% certain on their major and is already considering changing schools.  All three got AP or IB credit and scholarships and financial aid.

My point is even with them all of college age, I continuously am having to remain flexible and update my plan every few months as things change.  Fortunately, the 529s and ESAs are there and will provide most if not all of the costs.  Also, as they go through, the amount of uncertainty narrows.  I'm trying to drain the college accounts at the right speed, but if I'm off one way or the other I have workable contingency plans.

MasterStache

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2020, 01:59:54 PM »
Not really an option for us. We are going to encourage our kids to look at cheaper 2 year schools with the option to transfer to a 4 year school. Our help will come in the form of living rent free. Basically our children will just need to pay associated expenses for their car and anything school related.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2020, 02:01:21 PM »
Controversial opinion: I feel Mustachian parents should absolutely pay for an undergraduate education for their kid, as long as itís not abused. Why? Because Mustachian parents hate debt, so why would they consciously saddle debt in their kids who have no viable way to escape it (without scholarships)? Also, it is a foreseeable expense, so it can be planned, budgeted and accommodated. There isnít much anyone can do with a high school only degree, so they will need additional education for a career. If the job of a parent is to prepare children for adult life, that job isnít done until they can functionally work. Just as kids shouldnít abuse this gift, neither should the parents. No need to be a controlling ass about it. Iíd say, hereís the money for a 4 year undergraduate degree and room and board. You make your adult decisions where you want to go and what you want to study. Spending money is on you. Anything beyond 4 years is on you. Fail out and itís over. Want to take a year sabbatical to find yourself, thatís on you. Otherwise I trust you to smart sound decisions because thatís how I raised you. Youíll make mistakes, and youíll learn from them. Try to avoid the mistakes that will land you in jail, almost everything else is recoverable. Now, enjoy the best 4 years of your life where you will have the most freedom and least responsibility that you will ever experience.

clarkfan1979

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2020, 02:13:31 PM »
I teach within the community college system of Colorado. My son will qualify for free tuition at 13 different community colleges across the state. Some schools have dorms and 4-year degrees.

I'm not offering anything for undergrad. They can go to school for free. They can get a part-time job to fund their living expenses.

I'm willing to provide 50% for tuition of grad school, including medical school. If med school costs 500K, I'm willing to contribute 250K.

jamesbond007

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2020, 02:14:23 PM »
I plan to pay 100% wherever they want to go.

couponvan

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2020, 02:23:43 PM »
Each child has $20K in a regular college fund. We havenít tapped any of that money yet. We also have $400K in Rothís over 5 years old that we planned as college money.

Oldest is 20, and will graduate (COVID fingers crossed) in three years from an out-of-state school that has averaged $35,000/year including travel, fun, housing, food and school. Second is 18 and a senior in HS-he will not get the scholarships and doesnít have any AP classes. He is looking for in state schools that should be $25,000-$28,000 per year all in.

If DS20 graduates early (3yr), we will give him the $20K. If he adds a 4th year, he will end up with loans of $35K because we are on to the next kid who needs college $. (Yes, there is a 20K incentive for him to graduate early vs putzing around).

Our plan was always for about $100K per kid. Each of them knows their number allowed.

DD15 is a sophomore and extremely academically driven. So if she finds something free for college, Iím pretty sure we will be giving her a $100K-$125K down payment on a house.

DadJokes

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2020, 02:35:41 PM »
Controversial opinion: I feel Mustachian parents should absolutely pay for an undergraduate education for their kid, as long as itís not abused. Why? Because Mustachian parents hate debt, so why would they consciously saddle debt in their kids who have no viable way to escape it (without scholarships)?

I'm not saddling my child with debt. I'm forcing him to be creative and find a way to finish college with little to no debt, like his parents did.

I graduated debt free in 2017, and my wife finished her degree with $10k or so in debt in 2014. It's certainly possible.

Jouer

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2020, 03:13:49 PM »
I don't have kids but my plan before making that decision was to do what my wife's parents did for her.

They started out by paying for everything in Y1 but removed some funding / added personal responsibility each year. By year 4 they only paid for tuition and housing - everything else was paid by her with her part time job.

Mrs Brightside

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #22 on: September 29, 2020, 05:50:29 PM »
Thanks for all the responses! I added a new option "I plan to pay for some, but not all tuition" - don't know how I missed that one. If you want to change your vote you can.

seemsright

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #23 on: September 29, 2020, 06:02:09 PM »
Meh....how much is in her 529. She is going to be just fine. She will end up with her grandparents estate most likely before she goes to college. Because the grandfather is trying to make up for not paying child support during his childhood.. And grandfather is in poor poor health and I do not see him living for more than 5 years. We saved in a 529 for about 5 years. And I know the grandfather is saving in a 529 for her too. She will be just fine. And depending on when hubby decides to FIRE (he kinda likes his gig) we may cash flow a bit as she goes if needed. We will figure out the money when she gets there. It is about what bucket it is in not how to pay for college.

FINate

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2020, 06:09:43 PM »
Another "other" vote here.

We've set aside $X in 529s for each kid. By the time the oldest is ready for college her account should be about $1.8X.

Whatever's in the account, that's how much we'll fund. There are some parameters, but generally they will be allowed to chose how and when to spend it. Should be more than enough for 4 years of in-state public university. However, we're encouraging them to live at home and attend a community college then transfer to the local university, thereby saving most of their funds for graduate school, where it matters most. But if they want to blow it all in undergrad at a fancy pants university then fine, but it's up to them to figure out how to fund the rest on their own -- we refuse to co-sign any loans. We've made it clear to them that mom and dad are going to spend whatever's left in the accounts on their 30th birthdays.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2020, 07:29:24 PM »
Nothing.

My parents didn't pay for my education. Everything was paid by myself or paid via scholarships, from primary school through to university.

I don't believe in giving children direct financial assistance - I think it creates a sense of entitlement, or at least a sense that parents can be a financial "plan B" (and I don't want to foster that). I am happy to help my children via:
- Reading lots to them as children
- Buying mind-opening things (mainly books, but also trips to the museum and field trips) as children
- Creating a healthy learning environment
- Tutoring them myself, if they want it, or if they are not getting stimulated in class
- Helping them via providing guidance on any aspect of their education
- Teaching them how to network
- If required, using my own professional networks to help with their job search or to help them get into a school (but they'll have to pay for tuition themselves)

I don't believe in paying school fees though or university fees - that's the kids' problem, if they can't get a scholarship.

I don't want to make life too easy for my children, basically. I want to help their attributes and character, but not their wallet.

Freedomin5

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #26 on: September 30, 2020, 01:57:11 AM »
Grandma already has a fund set up for the grandkids. Weíre not telling DD about it though. If she is academically driven, we will encourage her to get scholarships. If she is not, we will encourage her to get a part-time/summer job. We will then cover the outstanding amount.

BTDretire

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #27 on: September 30, 2020, 10:15:02 AM »
I didn't vote as our funding became whatever was required.
 We didn't set up any funding for college, we just saved as much money as we could and also got a nice double from 2011 to 2017, this made funding their university expenses a no brainer for us.
Both my kids earned state tuition with grades. My daughter got 100%, by the time when my son got there, the state had reduced it to 75%, so we paid the difference. My daughter breezed through, but my son dropped out during his second year. He took a year off and then went back and got a chemistry degree. We paid for his tuition and rent. My daughter got  a great job, but after 3 years the company merged with another and many things changed for the worst, sales commision, bonuses, micro management, etc. She decided she wanted to go back to school and become a dentist. We are footing the bill. Only 1-1/2 years to go. :-)

socaso

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #28 on: September 30, 2020, 10:44:47 AM »
We are contributing to a 529 and plan to turn that over to kiddo when he's ready for college and he will have to manage that amount and get as much out of it as he can. He's a bit young for it now, but when he gets older we are going to discuss ALL the options to make that go as far as possible. I want him to be well informed and I think there are a lot of strategies to get a college education for less, such as living at home for a couple of years, attending community college for a year or two and transferring, taking college credit classes in HS, etc.

I would like to offer perspective as someone whose parents paid for my entire undergrad degree. It was a state university in the 90's and a hell of a lot cheaper than it is now but I still felt guilty that I had a privilege that other friends didn't have. In the decades since I've graduated I've seen friends struggle with college debt and I feel bad about their various situations. Some have paid off the debt and some have told me they think they will probably die without paying it. I've mostly kept quiet about my situation out of guilt. So I don't think that having your college paid by your parents necessarily creates a sense of entitlement, it depends on the person and other factors about how they were raised. I'm very grateful to my parents and every time I think about the enormous gift they gave me, both the education and the lack of debt, I get emotional.

redhead84

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #29 on: September 30, 2020, 11:01:29 AM »
No kids - yet or ever (still not 100% decided). I graduated college with about $7K of debt with expenses paid by a combination of parental contribution, savings from high school and summer jobs, savings bonds and direct gifts from my grandparents. I was also lucky to share a lot of text books and discretionary spending with my boyfriend (now husband). I got out with little debt, but I wish I would have had a little more fun and adventure during that time.

My husband's family paid for 100% of his tuition, books, rent, and a set amount for everything else. DH also had a job during our last 2 years of college to pay for some extras.

If we have children, we will have them save a set % of any non-designated gifts (ex. not specifically for college fund) and any money they make working. We will contribute the rest for a 4 year under-graduate degree.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #30 on: September 30, 2020, 12:11:50 PM »
Controversial opinion: I feel Mustachian parents should absolutely pay for an undergraduate education for their kid, as long as itís not abused. Why? Because Mustachian parents hate debt, so why would they consciously saddle debt in their kids who have no viable way to escape it (without scholarships)?

I'm not saddling my child with debt. I'm forcing him to be creative and find a way to finish college with little to no debt, like his parents did.

I graduated debt free in 2017, and my wife finished her degree with $10k or so in debt in 2014. It's certainly possible.

Iím guess that college is a lot more expensive for kids now than when their parents went to school. Weíre asking financial creativity for costs approaching $200k now from 18 year olds that barely know anything about the world or finances and who rarely have jobs that earn more than poverty level. Címon people. Apply that thinking to them buying their own home or sports car, not education. They donít need a dollar of debt for education. Yes, they can and should do whatever they can to get the best educational deal, while parents need to finish the job. The job is finished when the kid has the qualifications that will lead to a career (which most have the potential for within 4 years post high school provided they have financial means or support.)

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #31 on: September 30, 2020, 12:24:31 PM »
Nothing.

My parents didn't pay for my education. Everything was paid by myself or paid via scholarships, from primary school through to university.

I don't believe in giving children direct financial assistance - I think it creates a sense of entitlement, or at least a sense that parents can be a financial "plan B" (and I don't want to foster that). I am happy to help my children via:
- Reading lots to them as children
- Buying mind-opening things (mainly books, but also trips to the museum and field trips) as children
- Creating a healthy learning environment
- Tutoring them myself, if they want it, or if they are not getting stimulated in class
- Helping them via providing guidance on any aspect of their education
- Teaching them how to network
- If required, using my own professional networks to help with their job search or to help them get into a school (but they'll have to pay for tuition themselves)

I don't believe in paying school fees though or university fees - that's the kids' problem, if they can't get a scholarship.

I don't want to make life too easy for my children, basically. I want to help their attributes and character, but not their wallet.

Itís different in Australia. Australia has this weird system of private schools for primary and secondary school where people pay $20-35k a year for 12 years. Yes, there are free public schools that get generally shunned by anyone with a well paying job. Although the tuition of university schools is growing, it doesnít approach anything like the US, and thereís a government loan scheme that makes it relatively easy and cheap for Australians to complete university. In Australia itís not the kids that go into debt because of education, itís definitely the parents.

DadJokes

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #32 on: September 30, 2020, 01:41:47 PM »
Controversial opinion: I feel Mustachian parents should absolutely pay for an undergraduate education for their kid, as long as itís not abused. Why? Because Mustachian parents hate debt, so why would they consciously saddle debt in their kids who have no viable way to escape it (without scholarships)?

I'm not saddling my child with debt. I'm forcing him to be creative and find a way to finish college with little to no debt, like his parents did.

I graduated debt free in 2017, and my wife finished her degree with $10k or so in debt in 2014. It's certainly possible.

Iím guess that college is a lot more expensive for kids now than when their parents went to school. Weíre asking financial creativity for costs approaching $200k now from 18 year olds that barely know anything about the world or finances and who rarely have jobs that earn more than poverty level. Címon people. Apply that thinking to them buying their own home or sports car, not education. They donít need a dollar of debt for education. Yes, they can and should do whatever they can to get the best educational deal, while parents need to finish the job. The job is finished when the kid has the qualifications that will lead to a career (which most have the potential for within 4 years post high school provided they have financial means or support.)

College has more than doubled in price in the last 3 years?

If they barely know anything about finances, wouldn't that be your fault for not teaching finances to your child?
« Last Edit: September 30, 2020, 01:55:44 PM by DadJokes »

daymare

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #33 on: September 30, 2020, 01:58:18 PM »
I would like to offer perspective as someone whose parents paid for my entire undergrad degree. It was a state university in the 90's and a hell of a lot cheaper than it is now but I still felt guilty that I had a privilege that other friends didn't have. In the decades since I've graduated I've seen friends struggle with college debt and I feel bad about their various situations. Some have paid off the debt and some have told me they think they will probably die without paying it. I've mostly kept quiet about my situation out of guilt. So I don't think that having your college paid by your parents necessarily creates a sense of entitlement, it depends on the person and other factors about how they were raised. I'm very grateful to my parents and every time I think about the enormous gift they gave me, both the education and the lack of debt, I get emotional.
I'll echo this ... my parents paid for all of my undergrad college expenses (tuition, room & board / rent, textbooks, food) and I feel incredibly grateful for it. Far from feeling entitled and complacent, I felt a responsibility for capitalizing on the opportunity and doing well in life. I literally could not have had the same first job out of undergrad (in strategy consulting) if I had gone to a lower-ranked and less expensive school that gave me a scholarship, as I would probably have done if I had to pay for school. And I've done just fine getting more education without spending on it - enrolled in a PhD and ultimately left with a master's (that I thus was paid to get), now attending law school in the evenings, while working full-time, with a full ride.

I think how you raise your kids up until age 18 is a bigger factor in whether they're resourceful or entitled, than whether you pay for college.

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #34 on: September 30, 2020, 04:37:22 PM »
Nothing.

My parents didn't pay for my education. Everything was paid by myself or paid via scholarships, from primary school through to university.

I don't believe in giving children direct financial assistance - I think it creates a sense of entitlement, or at least a sense that parents can be a financial "plan B" (and I don't want to foster that). I am happy to help my children via:
- Reading lots to them as children
- Buying mind-opening things (mainly books, but also trips to the museum and field trips) as children
- Creating a healthy learning environment
- Tutoring them myself, if they want it, or if they are not getting stimulated in class
- Helping them via providing guidance on any aspect of their education
- Teaching them how to network
- If required, using my own professional networks to help with their job search or to help them get into a school (but they'll have to pay for tuition themselves)

I don't believe in paying school fees though or university fees - that's the kids' problem, if they can't get a scholarship.

I don't want to make life too easy for my children, basically. I want to help their attributes and character, but not their wallet.

Itís different in Australia. Australia has this weird system of private schools for primary and secondary school where people pay $20-35k a year for 12 years. Yes, there are free public schools that get generally shunned by anyone with a well paying job. Although the tuition of university schools is growing, it doesnít approach anything like the US, and thereís a government loan scheme that makes it relatively easy and cheap for Australians to complete university. In Australia itís not the kids that go into debt because of education, itís definitely the parents.

Yeah, I disagree with private schools in principle. Numerous studies have shown that any academic advantage (in university entrance scores) conferred by going to a private school (1) arises from the cohort effect, not from better teaching and (2) dissipates in relative terms after going to university. So it's basically just a way of paying lots of money on a worthless product to signal to others that you have a tremendous amount of money to burn. It's not something I want to be part of. My kids will be going to a public school and I'll use the money saved on something useful and beneficial, like a Ferrari.

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #35 on: September 30, 2020, 06:14:56 PM »
We set up 529s when our kids were young. At some point when they were in middle school, we figured out we could pay for them to go to our state school. We always told them weíd make sure they got thru undergrad debt free with no loans for any of us.

Both kids are academically inclined and always have been. Weíve never needed to tap their 529s for college. Oldest got a full ride at an OOS public and he graduated last spring with a bachelorís in Mechanical engineering. Heís at a private school for grad school (PhD program), for which they cover everything and pay him $2500 a month after taxes. Year round for 5 years.

Youngest will graduate next spring from a different OOS public with a bachelorís in Mechanical engineering. He had a scholarship that covered tuition, fees and a bit of a kickback each term. Weíve paid his rent out of pocket. He lives in a house with several others and cooks his own food. Works at a restaurant just because he wants to, and right now heís getting massive tips (I think folks that go to restaurants in his town feel sorry for the college kids right now).

We will hand over their 529s to them at some point. They can hold them for their kids or whatever they want.

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #36 on: September 30, 2020, 06:52:48 PM »
These responses have given me a lot to think about. You mustachians surprised me, I thought you all left your kids to fend for themselves!

I want to do better for my kids than what was available to me. My parents worked hard but were just keeping their heads above water. I always knew they would not be able to help me with college. I didn't know anyone who had gone to college. I was a very driven student and they encouraged me to go wherever I wanted -- which ended up being one of the best schools in the country. Of course, it was very expensive. I could have gone to a lesser school where they were offering more scholarships, but... signing up for tens of thousands of dollars in loans is like playing with monopoly money to a 17 year old with no financial education. Even with work study and summer internships I didn't come close to covering expenses.

I can't say I regret the schooling I got, and I later got paid to pursue my PhD, but I didn't appreciate at the time how much and how long that debt would affect my life. I would like my kids to get through undergrad without the burden of debt, but I knew plenty of kids with mommy/daddy's tuition money at Fancy Private School that couldn't have cared less about working hard in school. Guess it really depends on the kid's personality and upbringing. And parents who are more college savvy can help their kids make the best decision. Looking back I'm a little surprised how much my parents cosigned for me...more money than they've ever had. Of course I paid it all but wow, I don't know if I could trust a kid like that.

I would draw the line at paying for professional schooling. Sure, maybe if I end up with an extra big pile of money I'll help them out, but I can't imagine working longer for that purpose. Once the kid is established with an undergrad education, it's their adult decision to get a professional or advanced degree and they can figure out how to support that. If it's not going to pay for itself then they should reconsider whether it's worth doing.

OtherJen

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #37 on: September 30, 2020, 07:29:12 PM »
As I approach my mid-40s, it looks increasingly likely that I will not have children. If I did, though, I would do everything in my power to pay for whatever fraction of their undergrad tuition that werenít covered by scholarships. Thatís what my parents did for me, and I am still so grateful 20 years later. I didnít squander it because I didnít have ďskin in the gameĒ óin fact, I graduated magna cum laude with a biochem degree. I knew how hard they worked and what their sacrifice meant. The lack of debt allowed me to take a relatively low-paying job for good experience right out of college, and to buy a small house with my husband a few years later. My parents didnít pay a penny for grad school; the good job straight out of undergrad followed by a second good job, a 3.7 undergrad GPA, and good GRE scores got me a full scholarship, living stipend, and health insurance for the duration of my PhD studies, and I was able to accept and enjoy all of that free and clear because of the lack of undergrad debt.

Thanks for the reminder to thank my Mom and Dad again.

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #38 on: October 01, 2020, 07:16:39 AM »
snip . . .If I did, though, I would do everything in my power to pay for whatever fraction of their undergrad tuition that werenít covered by scholarships. Thatís what my parents did for me, and I am still so grateful 20 years later. I didnít squander it because I didnít have ďskin in the gameĒ óin fact, I graduated magna cum laude with a biochem degree. I knew how hard they worked and what their sacrifice meant. The lack of debt allowed me to take a relatively low-paying job for good experience right out of college, and to buy a small house with my husband a few years later.

 . . .
Thanks for the reminder to thank my Mom and Dad again.

I would like my kids to get through undergrad without the burden of debt, but I knew plenty of kids with mommy/daddy's tuition money at Fancy Private School that couldn't have cared less about working hard in school. Guess it really depends on the kid's personality and upbringing.


I wonder if there is a way to raise your child to be like a scholarship kid. Of my small scholarship cohort from my undergrad, the members are insanely successful and productive, and good humans to boot! I am basically astonished by the accomplishments of some of my friends. They are out there winning awards and being big bosses and also building platforms to effect change. I am by far the least outwardly successful (partly because I decided to have children) and I'm doing just fine.

But the drive I see in my scholarship friends is insane and I want my kids to be like them.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #39 on: October 01, 2020, 07:48:06 AM »
It's partly nature and partly nurture, and I think the best way to increase the odds of having a "scholarship kid" is to have two scholarship parents. Not that I think a scholarship is a huge or instrumental thing of itself, but it probably correlates with various positive outcomes.

Laura33

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #40 on: October 01, 2020, 09:03:54 AM »
I think how you raise your kids up until age 18 is a bigger factor in whether they're resourceful or entitled, than whether you pay for college.

This.  I have to admit, I was firmly of the "don't want to spoil them" mindset; I was a scholarship kid and resented the other kids who had everything handed to them.  I also watched my brothers take full advantage of the Bank of Dad to screw their way through extra years of (private!) school.  So I thought skin in the game would be good -- not a lot of debt, but maybe a couple grand a year in loans, plus earning all her own living expenses. 

But then I met DH, who was full-pay, and who was the opposite of spoiled; he had double-majored and gone on for his MS and Ph.D.  But the shift really started in my brain when I watched DD grow.  She busted her ass in HS taking a very difficult schedule and got into very good colleges.  She got over the phase of asking me to pony up for everything and expects -- wants -- to earn her own money and support herself.  She went from being an entitled twit at 14 to a kid desperate to be independent and self-supporting at 18. 

The irony is that we ended up being the ones pushing her away from earning her own money.  Once she hit AP classes, it was apparent that it was much more cost-effective for her to spend her time doing schoolwork that would get her college credit (not even considering scholarship options) than it would for her to make $8/hr at McDonald's.  And then once she went to college and was excited to get a job freshman year doing research with a professor, the professor gave her the option to do the work for credit instead of pay.  We did the math, and the credit would cost 2x what she'd make if she got paid, so we told her to do it for credit.  The end result of all this is that I am providing much more financial support for my DD than I ever envisioned, both because it makes financial sense in the big picture, and because my kid frankly earned it by being more responsible than I ever dreamed even a few years ago.

So all I can say is:  be flexible.  Your views may well change with your experience and your kids. 

And that's why I am also a fan of over-saving.  Because once I really saw the kind of resposible almost-adult I had somehow ended up with, I lost all concern over "spoiling" her, and my concern shifted instead to how can I help her position herself to have the best chance of achieving what she wants to be in life?  And I am very, very glad that our savings put us in a position to be able to make that shift.

researcher1

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #41 on: October 01, 2020, 09:48:10 AM »
Weíre asking financial creativity for costs approaching $200k now from 18 year olds that barely know anything about the world or finances and who rarely have jobs that earn more than poverty level. Címon people.
$200K?

I live in a fairly sizeable Midwestern city.
Annual tuition at the local state school is $11K.
Students can attend 1 of 2 satellite schools for the first two years for $6K.

elaine amj

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #42 on: October 01, 2020, 09:55:59 AM »
Long before I had kids I always said I wanted to do what my parents did for me - tuition paid while I covered living expenses. They could have easily paid it all but it was a point of pride for me to pay for myself.

We are in Canada and tuition is a whole lot cheaper here. 4 year undergrad is just a bit over $7k/year. But with fees, let's say $8k. So $32k for 4 years. For safety, I budgeted and saved $40k each.

My DD19 has a small part time job. She gets about $5k/yr in scholarships and I returned all that money to her because I figure she earned it. She moved out for her second year and is responsible for all her living expenses and textbooks. Between her scholarships, her job and her savings from her job this past year, she should have no problems affording her lifestyle with an extra year's buffer from prior savings. 

I am actually surprised at the number of Mustachians who also pay living expenses. I see no reason why my kids can't cover their own living expenses with a part time job (and my kids don't get a lot of hours!).Ok - a part time job may not be enough to cover DD living on her own, but combined with savings from previous years and extra hours in the summer (she has not yet been able to get a fulltime job sadly), she has plenty for a frugal lifestyle.

She earns about $400-500/mo working about 8hrs a week (super part time IMO and way less than most of her friends make). I'd be horrified if she spent $500 a month for "play". Sure some would go to clothes, toiletries, transportation, etc. But IMO, that would be a very inflated lifestyle.

Then again, if it came to a conflict between part time job and extra credits at school or mental health and ability to study like @Laura33 brought up, I'd have no issues changing my tune and putting out more cash. I definitely do not want my children feeling extreme pressure to balance work and study.

I am a bit conflicted what to do with the leftover money. DS is in college (like community college in the US I guess?) so his fees are half of what DDs cost. I never planned to evenly split the money - just to pay tuition for each kid for whatever they choose and then pocket the rest. But with their choosing such different paths, the $$ difference is greater. I don't know about giving them some of the excess savings though. In my mind, this is my money, not their money and I'm ok with padding my FIRE stash a bit more.

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« Last Edit: October 01, 2020, 10:55:19 AM by elaine amj »

Steeze

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #43 on: October 01, 2020, 10:12:04 AM »
Son due March 2021. Will put 10k/yr in a 529 for 4 years and let it grow until he needs it. If we have a second kid they will split it. If I overshoot my FI goals then I will do more.

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #44 on: October 01, 2020, 10:39:51 AM »

I am actually surprised at the number of Mustachians who also pay living expenses. I see no reason why my kids can't cover their own living expenses with a part time job (and my kids don't get a lot of hours!).Ok - a part time job may not be enough to cover DD living on her own, but combined with savings from previous years and fulltime work in the summer, she has plenty for a frugal lifestyle.


I'd guess because wages in the US aren't great?

I've been out of school for 15 years but in undergrad could barely afford to cover my living expenses in a HCOL city working 30 hours a week. I had to work two jobs every summer and I also worked a seasonal gig just to make it work.  I was only student poor (not like real poverty) but I hated the insecurity of it and never want to feel like that again. I can definitely see wanting to spare my children some of that stress if they end up in a similar situation.


elaine amj

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #45 on: October 01, 2020, 11:06:13 AM »

I am actually surprised at the number of Mustachians who also pay living expenses. I see no reason why my kids can't cover their own living expenses with a part time job (and my kids don't get a lot of hours!).Ok - a part time job may not be enough to cover DD living on her own, but combined with savings from previous years and fulltime work in the summer, she has plenty for a frugal lifestyle.


I'd guess because wages in the US aren't great?

I've been out of school for 15 years but in undergrad could barely afford to cover my living expenses in a HCOL city working 30 hours a week. I had to work two jobs every summer and I also worked a seasonal gig just to make it work.  I was only student poor (not like real poverty) but I hated the insecurity of it and never want to feel like that again. I can definitely see wanting to spare my children some of that stress if they end up in a similar situation.
I definitely would not want my kids to be under that level of stress. IMO about 10 hours a week at a part time job is very reasonable. And fulltime in the summer to save up.

Most of my kids' friends work 10-15hr/week and have since they were 15/16. My kids tried but didn't find a part time job until 17/18 so didn't have as much savings from high school. When they did find work, it was a measly 6-10 hrs a week. I know their friends get everything subsidized so not sure what they spent all their part time job money on.

Anyway it works out that we are in a LCOL city so DD19 only pays $400/mo in rent/utils/internet for a shared room off campus. Frugal living would cost another $400/mo. Extravagance will cost her an extra $200/mo. Her 8hrs/week part time job covers half of this and she has more than enough savings from the past year of earning peanuts to cover the other half (she also has scholarships for buffer).


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Laura33

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #46 on: October 01, 2020, 11:27:09 AM »

I am actually surprised at the number of Mustachians who also pay living expenses. I see no reason why my kids can't cover their own living expenses with a part time job (and my kids don't get a lot of hours!).Ok - a part time job may not be enough to cover DD living on her own, but combined with savings from previous years and fulltime work in the summer, she has plenty for a frugal lifestyle.


I'd guess because wages in the US aren't great?

I've been out of school for 15 years but in undergrad could barely afford to cover my living expenses in a HCOL city working 30 hours a week. I had to work two jobs every summer and I also worked a seasonal gig just to make it work.  I was only student poor (not like real poverty) but I hated the insecurity of it and never want to feel like that again. I can definitely see wanting to spare my children some of that stress if they end up in a similar situation.

For us, DD is at a residential college, so room and board is part of the mandatory package for at least 3 years.  She is in a place with a kitchen now, so I gave her an incentive to choose a very minimal dining plan and cook for herself. 

Plan for her spending money was that that was all on her, and in fact freshman year she budgeted I think $150/mo. from her summer earnings for things like going out with friends.  Then she refused to spend almost all of that (because it's in savings, and savings goes in, not out!!  I've never been more proud.  ;-)).  This summer, though, all the job options went poof because COVID, and now she's doing the research for credit instead of pay at our request, so I'm letting her have the money she saved us on the dining package for her living/cooking/going out expenses. 

I will take a similar approach for internships.  I expect her to pursue opportunities and work hard.  However, if the best internship options don't pay much (or anything), I'll cover her living costs.  Again, I'd rather give her the opportunity to get a head start on figuring out areas of future study or career options than emphasize "working for pay" when we don't need her to.  I mean, that's supposedly part of the advantage of the school she chose (lots of research and startups in the area), so given what we're already paying for that school, it seems penny-wise and pound-foolish to insist that she work as an office temp (like I did) because the pay is better.

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #47 on: October 01, 2020, 12:16:33 PM »
My oldest is a senior. Filling out the Fasfa, as I am divorced and the primary parent, they only asked for my information, it spit out what my expected contribution is and I told her I would cover that (10K). That will not cover even a state university fees. As far as the ex, he has always said he would pay his share of college costs (and educational costs are listed in the divorce papers as being split 50/50). However given that he doesn't work a high paying job, has a high mortgage (also has been unemployed most of this year) I really don't know how that is going to go.  What is kind of too bad, when we were both together and working, we did spend quite a bit of money on our youngest for private school for her learning difficulties (over 35K). That did put us behind to save up for eldest college.   
« Last Edit: October 01, 2020, 12:58:09 PM by partgypsy »

partgypsy

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #48 on: October 01, 2020, 12:33:30 PM »
I think how you raise your kids up until age 18 is a bigger factor in whether they're resourceful or entitled, than whether you pay for college.

This.  I have to admit, I was firmly of the "don't want to spoil them" mindset; I was a scholarship kid and resented the other kids who had everything handed to them.  I also watched my brothers take full advantage of the Bank of Dad to screw their way through extra years of (private!) school.  So I thought skin in the game would be good -- not a lot of debt, but maybe a couple grand a year in loans, plus earning all her own living expenses. 

But then I met DH, who was full-pay, and who was the opposite of spoiled; he had double-majored and gone on for his MS and Ph.D.  But the shift really started in my brain when I watched DD grow.  She busted her ass in HS taking a very difficult schedule and got into very good colleges.  She got over the phase of asking me to pony up for everything and expects -- wants -- to earn her own money and support herself.  She went from being an entitled twit at 14 to a kid desperate to be independent and self-supporting at 18. 

The irony is that we ended up being the ones pushing her away from earning her own money.  Once she hit AP classes, it was apparent that it was much more cost-effective for her to spend her time doing schoolwork that would get her college credit (not even considering scholarship options) than it would for her to make $8/hr at McDonald's.  And then once she went to college and was excited to get a job freshman year doing research with a professor, the professor gave her the option to do the work for credit instead of pay.  We did the math, and the credit would cost 2x what she'd make if she got paid, so we told her to do it for credit.  The end result of all this is that I am providing much more financial support for my DD than I ever envisioned, both because it makes financial sense in the big picture, and because my kid frankly earned it by being more responsible than I ever dreamed even a few years ago.

So all I can say is:  be flexible.  Your views may well change with your experience and your kids. 

And that's why I am also a fan of over-saving.  Because once I really saw the kind of resposible almost-adult I had somehow ended up with, I lost all concern over "spoiling" her, and my concern shifted instead to how can I help her position herself to have the best chance of achieving what she wants to be in life?  And I am very, very glad that our savings put us in a position to be able to make that shift.

I totally agree with this approach. My parents paid for my tuition (what wasn't covered by my scholarship) and they gave me 1 K a year for all other living expenses (food, lodging, books etc. Except for freshman year I lived off campus, in part because it was less expensive). I couldn't work more than a minimal amount due to the terms of my scholarship, so I tutored during the school year and worked during the summer. I LOVED college and had a great experience, but because I was so firmly against borrowing money (I didn't even see it as an option), it was a little too tight. In addition to missing a lot of events friends would participate in because I couldn't afford it, remembering days I would eat oatmeal or cereal for dinner (though I did get pretty good at frequent school events that might involve free food or drink or scoring leftovers people didn't want). In retrospect if my kid is in the same situation AND I could afford it, I would provide extra cushion.
 
In the same way my oldest daughter is very responsible. She has been her entire life. She hasn't worked much but what she has, has directed to her savings account or her college account.  I trust her to be responsible, and would prefer the majority of what she is doing in college is learning, not spending a lot of time worrying about money issues. 
« Last Edit: October 01, 2020, 12:55:31 PM by partgypsy »

elaine amj

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Re: How much do you plan to fund your child's college/university?
« Reply #49 on: October 01, 2020, 12:43:25 PM »
It makes sense @Laura33 . DH has been thinking DS should look for a better paying /more hours job. But now he is college fulltime and I want him to focus and not have too heavy a workload (since new jobs can be unknowns). If his hours drop even more (which is entirely possible with covid), that's not entirely bad. Like I told DH, DS earned enough in the summer to cover his living expenses for quite some time. And if necessary, I would reduce his rent (geared to income!). I dropped rent to $0 for DD when she stopped working due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

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