Poll

What percentage of your children's education will you pay?

0% (no free loaders here)
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
90%
100% (I don't want my kids to struggle like I did)

Author Topic: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?  (Read 19692 times)

FIRE_at_45

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What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« on: October 02, 2016, 08:05:32 PM »
I'm curious to see what others are considering paying for their children's educations and why? 

Looking back my parent's paid about 25%.  It was a great help! I worked summers though from the time I was 12 and every summer during university (no PT jobs) so getting through debt free wasn't that difficult even living away from home. 

Where I live I don't think it is realistic that my kids will be working at 12, but maybe 16?  I fully expect them to work every summer during university.  So, I think my number is around 25% and that may be while supporting them at home.   

Reason for 25% - I want my children to have some 'skin' in the game.  They also have a mom who will likely contribute so the % may be more in the end.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2016, 09:14:44 PM by FIRE_at_45 »

Cranky

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2016, 09:08:40 AM »
We paid all of our EFC, which depended on how much of a scholarship they each got. We provided a little bit of spending money, but not much - they had summer jobs for that.

My youngest is still in college locally, and works part time because she doesn't want to live at home. (I would actually contribute to her living expenses, but she prefers to work.)

No loans.

TravelJunkyQC

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2016, 09:18:54 AM »
My parents paid 100% of my education, as in tuition, room and board. I paid everything else. That being said, I was taught the value of money from an early age, and also taught the value of my education. Had I or my sister been the type to squander to slack off at school, my parents never would have done this. There were very open lines of communication on that front. I hope to be able to do the same for my children.

Saskatchewstachian

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2016, 09:29:53 AM »
My parents had enough set aside to pay for 1 year of tuition. Room and board and all other costs were paid for myself with money from summer jobs.

I hear from many many people that "a summer job can't pay for university anymore" like it did in the good ol days. In my opinion though it really depends on what you are taking in school. In the summers I managed to get on with an engineering company doing basic surveying (no training required), this was $20/hr which was a good wage but not enough to live on for 8 months with only 4 months to earn. The big break came with the hours supplied by this job, either a 10-4 or 12-2 schedule which would lead to 70-90 hour weeks vs a normal 40, and all time over 40 hours was 1.5X pay.

I earned more in that summer working for $20/hr than my first job out of school making 80k/yr. Many friends also had similar opportunities though and turned them down because it required you to be on the road all summer and many long days, but with it I was able to pay for my own schooling and come out debt free. Well worth the work if you ask me!

erae

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2016, 09:35:00 AM »
We will likely handle college the same way my parents did, by letting our kid know they have X amount to set themselves up as adults. We were told if we didn't use all of X on our undergraduate degrees, mom and dad would hold on to the money and we could use it later for graduate school, down payment on a home, to start a business, etc. So it was earmarked, but could only be used on projects determined legitimate my our parents. I was the older sibling and was told that my little sibling would also have X amount and that my parents' retirement plans were not affected by their decision to set aside X*2 for these funds, which relieved me of any concern of taking more than my fair share of the family's resources.

At the time (early 2000's) X would have covered 60-70% of the sticker price of an Ivy League. I blew mine on a fancy undergraduate degree and a semester abroad and graduated with minimal debt (around 5k). My sibling took scholarships to the local public school and used the rest of his account to get himself set up in his 20's.

PharmaStache

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2016, 09:36:11 AM »
At minimum, 4 years of tuition and books. 

We're too far away from university for me to be sure.

KCM5

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2016, 09:37:19 AM »
My parents paid for a bit - they provided a car, car insurance, a cell phone, and gas to go home to visit. Maybe that was 10% of costs, if you consider those things to be college costs? We lived in a rural area with no public 4 year schools nearby, so we all but had to go away for school. And I took out loans and worked (a lot) for the rest.

My spouse's parents didn't expect a 4 year degree and it didn't occur to him to get one, so they didn't cover college costs. He went back for his degree after we married and we paid for all of it. (not that I would expect his parents to cover anything in that situation).

For my child, I'd like her to learn how to stretch a dollar like I did. It was a valuable life skill. But as long as she values her education, I plan on paying tuition and giving her a book allowance. I think that's a good balance and imparts the skills that can be honed in college regarding money without burdening her with loans. I suppose if she wanted to take out loans instead of work, as I expect, we may have a discussion about priorities. If she has good reasoning regarding loans and perhaps thinks they're a good investment in her time in school, I'm fine with that too.

Edited to add: when I say tuition I mean in state tuition or state school (9,000 pounds a year in the UK).

honeybbq

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2016, 09:51:09 AM »
I hope to pay for room and board and tuition for my child's education. I'll get them a reasonable, suitable car and insure it until they have an accident (or graduate college).

They will have to make their own fun money.

little_brown_dog

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2016, 10:00:26 AM »
Our baby is under 1 so it is still really hard to tell just how much we can pay for college (who knows how insane even public in state tuition will be in 17 years). Right now, we have a savings goal of 5k per year for her college fund with the hopes that it will be enough to cover the majority of the costs. This goal is substantial enough to really help her out, but not so much that it detracts or derails our own financial goals. The plan is to continue to commit 5k per year per child until age 18.  If we come up short then we come up short and she'll have to make up the difference with part time work, scholarships, or loans.
We figured this was the least stressful way to save rather than attempting to predict how crazy tuition might be almost 2 decades from now.

englishteacheralex

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2016, 10:04:30 AM »
There are so many factors, it really depends. I went to a state school and had many scholarships, so my parents were able to fund 100% of my college expenses for four years with the savings they had put by over the years. I had to take out a loan for $5k for the fifth year (I had a lot of majors/minors in college and had to do student teaching).

Not having a large student loan was very important to my ability to move to Hawaii in 2003 and live here for 13 years on a teacher's salary. I'm thankful for that.

My mom was adamant at the time that they would not pay for school unless I had some kind of professional certification at the end. She didn't care what it was. She made me a list of things she had heard of (I remember EMT and RN being on the list, but there were other things I don't remember) but said I wasn't limited to those things. Every tuition payment was contingent upon me taking classes that would lead to something concrete and tangible that you could get a job with. I had to show her the classes I was registering for every semester and explain what each one was for and what they were leading to. I COULD take classes that were just for fun, but there had to be classes with a clear career path.

Control freak? Yes, my mom has issues. We had a lot of fights about it at the time. But it actually turned out to be pretty good sense on her part. In some ways. I wanted to be a writer and work in publishing, and she would only approve of that if I got a summer internship in some capacity in that field. So I did. And found out I didn't like office jobs or living in big cities. Student teaching, which I did the next semester (because she insisted; I really didn't want to) turned out to be the most fun I'd ever had. I'm a career educator and love my job 14 years later. So...mom was right. Hate it when that happens.

Anyway, with my own kids, who are toddlers, we are saving a small amount for college but are focusing on paying off our mortgage so that when they are college age we can cash flow their education. But we will probably make it very contingent on them having a plan for their career and being wise and mature about school/life. I also will not pay for my children's pocket money during that time--I worked throughout college to pay for my own expenses beyond room/board. Teenagers can be beasts in college when it comes to discretionary spending.

Money with no guidance can be very dangerous. The high school students I work with...I've seen so many horror stories after they leave high school. So much wasted money and time. There are some of them where it's so clear: DO NOT PAY FOR THIS KID TO GO TO COLLEGE! Just because he/she can get in doesn't mean he/she is ready!

I'm a red panda

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2016, 10:22:20 AM »
Hopefully all of it, however, we would expect the child to apply for scholarships.

If we don't have children (I'm currently 15 weeks pregnant, but it is looking more and more likely this will end like the last one did) we plan to offer significant contributions to our nieces and nephews who attend college.

My parents paid for all my non-scholarshipped college expenses and it really helped me start my adult life well.  I wasn't allowed to work my first two years of college, but the savings I have from the final two years was a real nice start once I left college.

Pigeon

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2016, 10:41:47 AM »
I'm not voting in your poll because it's not that straightforward.

We will pay for 4 years room, board and tuition at one of our state's excellent public colleges/universities.  If the kids choose to go to a more expensive institution or take longer than four years, we are not paying for the excess cost, although they could live home and finish up locally or online and just pay tuition.

It's not "100% because I don't want them to suffer like I did."  My parents paid for all six of their kids to go to a moderately priced college.  Dh's parents paid for all five of their kids to go anywhere they wanted (and paid for med school and grad school for most).  It was the greatest gift they could have given us, and we are grateful to them every single day for it.

We had summer jobs and our kids have summer jobs and that goes toward spending money and books.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2016, 11:46:49 AM by Pigeon »

dcozad999

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2016, 10:51:07 AM »
I'll pay whatever I can.  If it's 100% then I'll pay for it all. I'm not going to set back my retirement for it though.

I'm putting around $1600/year in their 529 plans. That's all I'm willing to invest right now. I'll cash flow what I can when they get there, but not sure how much extra that will be. I'll be 54 years-old when the first one gets to college.

They are almost 5 years apart, so it will at least be staggered. But I'm hoping to be retired by the time the second one goes in.

BTDretire

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2016, 11:00:28 AM »
I voted, but it's more complicated than a simple percentage.
Both my kids earned a scholarship with good grades. (Florida Bright Futures)
It was 100% when my daughter was in college, 75% for my son.
 My daughter graduated and worked three years, her company merged with another,
this caused many changes. She decided to go back to college and become an Orthodontist. My wife told her if she would go back to school she would pay for it.
Asian mother wants a doctor in the family. Looks like she promised my money too! So, we are looking at $42k to $50k a year to pay for 5 years of dental school.
  My son dropped out for a year, he's back in school now but lost the Bright Futures scholarship. We are paying for his classes as long as he has decent grades.

nobody123

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2016, 11:04:58 AM »
I voted 100%, but not because I "suffered".  Based on some research I've done recently, it's unrealistic (in my opinion) to expect my kids to earn enough from part time jobs to cash-flow college unless they are very lucky with significant scholarships.  I consider it my responsibility to make sure my offspring aren't ignorant assholes who are leeches on society.  Since college is pretty much a prerequisite for any decent-paying job, I will be paying for it if I am financially able to.  Obviously, I won't be paying for spring break trips, study abroad, etc., and I'm going to make sure they pick a degree that is at least somewhat marketable.  They'll also be required to have part time jobs over the summer.  Frankly, I'm also fine with paying for trade school and a good set of starter tools if they choose to become an electrician or plumber.

mm1970

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2016, 11:26:20 AM »
I have no idea.

But I put 90%.

I figure they will have to at least work and save for some of it.

If I'm lucky they'll get scholarships.

Liralen

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2016, 11:32:31 AM »
100% of undergrad at an in-state public school. My parents did that for me and I'm very appreciative.
If our children opt for private schools, we'll pay what public would have cost and possibly more if we're able.

I also took advantage of scholarships for college so my parents didn't foot the whole bill. When I went to graduate school they wanted to pay and covered whatever my work didn't reimburse. So in that case, they payed 5-10% of graduate school.

acroy

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2016, 11:40:34 AM »
I assume this is for 'college' education.

We are of course paying 100% for grade school education. Twice; since we homeschool.

We will pay 0% towards secondary education. It would be enormously irresponsible to deprive my own offspring of the invaluable experience of working & paying for their collegiate education.

Spiffy

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2016, 11:51:10 AM »
Not sure yet. My husband and I work at an expensive private university, so we get free tuition (yea!) So if they live at home (saving the whopping 12,500 per year room and board fee) we won't be paying much except books and fees. But fees are $4500 per year. By the time the kids go, who knows how high it will be. But they also have the option of choosing a school on the list of universities with reciprocal tuition. So we would have to pay for room and board if they move away. We are just waiting to see what each child ends up doing, knowing that it doesn't have to cost much if we make the right choices.

teen persuasion

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2016, 12:34:27 PM »
Kids one and two are done with college, 3 and 4 are in college now, 5 is waiting in the wings (6th grade).

Every kid is different, every college is different (one and two did privates, 3 and 4 are at states), every year the FAFSA rules and scholarships available are different.

So far we've kicked in roughly $1k or so per kid to fill gaps.  They've all taken fed loans out, and had WS.  Some were/are more gung-ho about summer jobs.  Lots of grants (fed, state, school) and scholarships, some merit, some need. 

The relatively large family size helps on the FAFSA, and by selectively saving where it is advantageous for FA (HSA, 401k, not 529) I've tried to net the kids the max aid that I can.  It's getting trickier - most changes to the FAFSA are not positive (retroactively moving the auto EFC=0 cutoff AGI from $32k to $23k, for example), and our family stats keep changing as each kid leaves college and later turns 24.  DS5 will effectively be viewed as an only child when he goes to college, at a time when we are trying to make up for low savings rates while raising the gang.  I've been running projections, but the inflation adjustments to each year's charts are unpredictable (asset protection amounts shrank a few years back, and are currently 50% lower than I remember from 2008).

It looks like we might be ready to FIRE right around the time we first file a FAFSA for DS5.  Trying to minimize his EFC will be less than optimal for optimizing retirement income and taxes.  The Roth conversion ladder, in particular, is something we really could benefit from, but hurts FA (conversions increase AGI, and Roth contribution withdrawals are added to income on the FAFSA, effectively double counted).  Timing will be everything.  We've got a window of no FAFSAs from 2018-2020, but we will still be working, I hope, so not good for conversions.  Then 4 years with limited conversions (to stay under auto EFC=0 cutoff for AGI (so withdrawals are invisible, if rules stay the same)).

I really don't know if DS5 will get the aid that the older kids have gotten.  Even the loans are worse.  When DD1 started, they were all subsidized.  Now only a portion is subsidized, and the grace periods are evaporating.  Some of the "grants" convert to unsub loans (with retroactive interest) if the student doesn't meet job quotas later.  Scary.

Laserjet3051

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2016, 12:53:32 PM »
My parents paid for <5% of my total educational costs which include both undergrad and grad school. While, I have stated that "I dont want my kids to live a life of indentured servitude to bloated bank loans," and I would want to pay the lionshare of my kids undergrad costs, it is highly unlikely I will be able to shoulder that total cost. Oldest is a freshman in highschool, youngest in elementary school. If they go to excellent, but expensive, UC (state) schools, I estimate I will be able to pay 50% using both 529 and cashflow mechanisms. They will shoulder the other 50%, through college work/study programs (or work), scholarships, and as a last resort, loans.

soccerluvof4

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2016, 02:22:37 PM »
I put 80% only because I am not sure how it will all work out BUT like others I will help out as much as I can but not give up retirement to do it.

With 4 kids and having saved in 529s things are already changing as the Oldest is going to College Next year with a partial athletic Scholarship, the next year the Second Oldest received 100% athletic scholarship so their 529 will roll down to the younger 2. The third if stays health is way ahead of the other 2 and should get something as well but you never know. So 50-100% averaging all 4 so I am guessing as of today 80%.

hops

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2016, 02:42:12 PM »
We're going to do what my future in-laws did, which is not a comment I make often. They told my partner from the time she was 13 or so that they would only pay 50% of her undergraduate expenses and nothing beyond that. This compelled her to work her ass off during high school because she knew that she wanted to attend a very expensive university, followed by medical school. To afford med school on her own, she had to keep her undergrad expenses as low as possible. Between scholarships (some of them large, but she also applied for all kinds of obscure, meager ones) and saving what she earned babysitting and working summer jobs, she covered her half and her parents ended up paying less than they feared.

It's doubtful that our future kids will be as highly motivated as she was (which is fine), and they'll probably tire of hearing tales of her badassity, but she looks back on the way she busted her hump to be able to afford something seemingly out of reach and says it taught her invaluable lessons.

Cassie

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2016, 02:52:15 PM »
I did what my parents did for me and that was to offer them to stay home for free, feed them, buy their clothes, etc. Before my divorce my H & I were also paying tuition/books but afterwards with it just being me I could not afford to do that.

Cwadda

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2016, 03:02:51 PM »
50% and they won't be going to a $50k/yr private institution for undergraduate studies unless they get scholarship funds for it.

Rionoskae

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2016, 12:25:28 PM »
I have to be honest here, after reading the initial question I was expecting a totally different answer from the community.

But perhaps I am a bit biased... My parents co-signed my loans and that was it. (IE 0%)

Your kids are lucky to have such responsible and forward thinking parents :)

catccc

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #26 on: October 04, 2016, 01:24:17 PM »
I didn't respond to the poll, because we will cover what we can, and I'm not sure what that will be.  Kids are 5 & 7 and we have about 50K put away in 529s between the two at this point.

Voting for Hillary (for a multitude of reasons) and hoping this free tuition for families making under $125K/year by 2021 will be a reality.

Both my sister and I had scholarships that covered about 1/2 of the bill.  Of the remainder, my parents footed 100% of my sister's bill.  But she also handed every single one of her checks from part time work in high school and college directly over to them.  Of my 5.5 years of undergrad that were not covered by scholarships, my parents covered the 1st year.  I paid tuition and room/board for years 2-4, and tuition for years 5-5.5.  They let me live at home for the last 1.5 years, so I didn't need to pay room and board.  And they covered a vehicle and insurance on said vehicle for all the years. 

Just pointing out that your kids might plan differently than you do, and that could be okay.  Even though college coverage really varied for my sister and I, I think everyone feels pretty positive about the whole experience.  Zero hard feelings for anyone. 

sol

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #27 on: October 04, 2016, 01:42:34 PM »
We would like to provide half, for three kids, but it's a soft goal.  If the market tanks and my SWR is in danger, they will get less.  It is after all my money, not theirs.  I consider our flexible college spending to be part of our retirement savings safety margin.

Any money that we contribute to college will be more than my parents provided to me, so I feel no obligation to impoverish myself any further on behalf of my kids.  We'll both be long since retired by then, so it will be an easier decision than most couples face.  It's probably harder to say no when you're still working.

Radagast

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #28 on: October 04, 2016, 01:59:03 PM »
My thought is that once they are old enough to work part time jobs, we will match all income reported on tax returns up to a lifetime inflation adjusted maximum of 120k, whatever course they decide to take. This solves both the entitlement problem and the school-is-too-expensive problem. It also allows them to go to school, or graduate school, or not, and still be treated the same. Especially if we have two or more.

So I voted 0% :). Of course it may be 50%, or 110%, or infinity% depending on what they decide to do with their lives.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2016, 02:05:10 PM by Radagast »

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #29 on: October 04, 2016, 02:05:35 PM »
100%, but not 'because I don't want my kids to struggle like I did', more the opposite.  My parents paid 100% for us 3 kids and it allowed me, the youngest of the bunch, to concentrate on school and the opportunities afforded to me with the free time.  I can't imagine a better thing I could do with my savings than provide the same for my kids.  And if everything goes to hell in a handbasket, they at least have a leg up to earn money and might even feel indebted to keep their dear parents from starving...  JK, we've been saving in excess of FI for several years, just don't feel the need to ER yet (but it looks like my wife is going back into ER after this school year).  I'll do all the usual optimizing and ensuring good value for our educational dollar, but this is a blessing to both early retire ourselves and set our kids on a path to early, self-achieved FI.

tonysemail

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #30 on: October 04, 2016, 02:24:26 PM »
i put 90%.  my parents paid 75% of undergrad and my company paid 25% of grad.
I'd lean towards 50% because I think it was well worth paying for my own education.
But my wife is staunchly for 100%, so we'll have to compromise...

nobody123

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #31 on: October 04, 2016, 02:31:14 PM »
100%, but not 'because I don't want my kids to struggle like I did', more the opposite.  My parents paid 100% for us 3 kids and it allowed me, the youngest of the bunch, to concentrate on school and the opportunities afforded to me with the free time.  I can't imagine a better thing I could do with my savings than provide the same for my kids.  And if everything goes to hell in a handbasket, they at least have a leg up to earn money and might even feel indebted to keep their dear parents from starving...  JK, we've been saving in excess of FI for several years, just don't feel the need to ER yet (but it looks like my wife is going back into ER after this school year).  I'll do all the usual optimizing and ensuring good value for our educational dollar, but this is a blessing to both early retire ourselves and set our kids on a path to early, self-achieved FI.

+1.  Barring some sort of unforeseen tragedy, I should be set for retirement by the time the first one heads off to college.  I can't think of a better gift to give my kids than a debt-free degree to begin adulthood.  I would feel like a jerk if I had the means to provide them that and chose not to so I could stare at a bigger pile of money that they will eventually inherit anyway.  I can appreciate the views of others that think providing 100% of the cost is irresponsible, and I am not going to put myself in the poor house or work 10 extra years to make it happen, but if it's an extra year or two at a job that I can tolerate, it's worth it to me.

MDM

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #32 on: October 04, 2016, 03:00:26 PM »
We have been fortunate that the combination of our children's
- partial scholarships (mostly merit-based)
- choosing not to attend the most expensive schools to which they were accepted
- summer and part-time jobs
- taking the maximum (i.e., several $K/yr) undergraduate student loans
has allowed us to cover all remaining expenses for undergraduate degrees.  The % we covered varies from one to another but we never tracked that number.

Those who did graduate work covered the vast majority of their own expenses with stipends, loans, and summer and part-time work.

All have or will graduate with manageable student loan debt to income ratios (some have already repaid all the SL debt).

v8rx7guy

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #33 on: October 04, 2016, 03:24:09 PM »
I am setting aside $2K/yr, I hope that will be enough by the time he is 18.  At minimum, I want to pay for half, so that was my vote... he has to have 'skin in the game'.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #34 on: October 04, 2016, 03:32:23 PM »
My parents paid for two aspects of my college career:
1) a plane ticket to get there, and
2) a phone card to call home each week (woohoo $0.10/minute!  Remember all those 5- or 7-digit prefixes like "10-10-321" we all used to use?)

I was highly motivated to do well in high school and get scholarships, and it really paid off.  Also motivated me to choose a less expensive school.

Lanthiriel

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #35 on: October 04, 2016, 04:40:52 PM »
My parents paid for 100% of undergrad for which I will be forever grateful. I had to foot the bill for grad school, which seemed totally fair. My dad is straight up cheap, so he did a good job of talking to me about making sure I was getting as much value out of his money as I could. For example, it was the same price for me to take anywhere from 12-18 credits, so I took 16 to 18 every quarter. I wanted to do summer school, and we sat down to do the spreadsheet to figure out whether six weeks of summer school at a higher price per credit was more or less expensive than a full semester once we factored in living costs. Even though I didn't pay for undergrad, I definitely felt like I had skin in the game and learned the value of a dollar.

Part of the reason my husband and I aren't having kids is because I don't want to have to save for college after paying off $20k of my grad school loans and $60k of my husband's undergrad loans (don't get me started on the cost after interest...). I feel like I've spent enough money on school for a lifetime, but I would feel terrible leaving my hypothetical kid to navigate higher education without support. Obviously that's about reason 873 out of 10,000, but it's definitely a factor.

sol

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #36 on: October 04, 2016, 04:54:35 PM »
All of these people suggesting they feel duty bound to pay 100% are really surprising to me.  I wouldn't pay more than half even if we were billionaires.

dividendman

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #37 on: October 04, 2016, 05:05:29 PM »
Yeah, my parents didn't pay for any of mine, but they did offer to help and I refused. I didn't want to feel beholden to them (more than I already was for feeding, clothing and sheltering me for 18 years). I didn't want them to be able to ask me what my grades are or bother me about what I wanted to study.

For my kids (if I have any :) ), I wouldn't pay for any of it. I think I will be wealthy enough to pay for it so that's not the issue. I would want them to work for it on their own.

I was considering, after they successfully graduated/completed etc. on their own, to "gift" them enough money to cover outstanding loans or a house down payment or something, but I wouldn't advertise this in advance. I would want them to feel the independence I felt by making it on my own rather than relying on me.

I guess the do it yourself mantra of the Mustachians stops at repairing your own bike!

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #38 on: October 04, 2016, 06:51:47 PM »
All of these people suggesting they feel duty bound to pay 100% are really surprising to me.  I wouldn't pay more than half even if we were billionaires.

I didn't get the impression people feel 'duty bound', more that by starting with a clean slate and getting a good education sets a young person up for success.  I saw plenty of anecdotal peers succumb to worrying about paying bills and the stress of debt piling up which they had little control over.  Sword of Damocles and all that - they wanted to get a good education but each thousand of debt was slowly killing them (and their ability to concentrate on their studies).  Some of them 'just took a year off to catch up'...

Also, you shoot yourself in the foot if deeply indebted kids have to boomerang back to the nest.  But Sol, I can see you being the first billionaire to ever make their kids pay for college :)  While I might struggle to justify the value proposition once I get the slate of schools and majors, I personally think that it is shortsighted to plan for paying anything less than 50%. 

sol

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #39 on: October 04, 2016, 07:05:10 PM »
I didn't get the impression people feel 'duty bound', more that by starting with a clean slate and getting a good education sets a young person up for success.

I absolutely agree that a good education is a valuable thing to have in your experience bank.  Another thing that I think is valuable to have in there is the sense of accomplishment and self-sufficiency derived from contributing to that experience.  It means less if someone just hands it to you on a silver platter.  Part of the college experience is learning to be an adult, and part of becoming an adult is learning to deal with stress and bills and deadlines and conflicts. 

I know too many college grads who are basically still high school kids.  If mommy and daddy do everything for you, how are you ever supposed to grow up?  I would never handicap my kids by paying for 100% of their college experience.

Radagast

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #40 on: October 04, 2016, 07:12:07 PM »
So, just match whatever money they earn up to a fixed amount, say 100k, like I said earlier. Then they have a head start whatever they do, in proportion to how hard they try. Let them make their own decisions about whether or how they go to college.

englishteacheralex

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #41 on: October 04, 2016, 07:26:55 PM »
Interesting discussion.

I wouldn't say I feel "duty bound" to provide a college education for my kids. More that philosophically, my long-range plan is that my children grow into productive adults who contribute to their community to the best of their innate resources. They were born into overwhelming privilege relative to the rest of the world, and I want them to be raised with a sense of awe at that, and a sense of responsibility.

My paying for college is contingent upon them having a plan to use the college education provided to contribute to their community in some way. I have a pretty flexible idea as to what that way might be--it depends on their desires, talents, character, and temperament--but in the end, I can see no better use for my husband's and my money than to aid our children into developing their full potential for the benefit of society.

I have friends who paid their own way through college due to their parents not being able to help. There was a great deal of character benefit to this, undoubtedly, but it was a tough road for them and I do not envy their position. Personally, I did not have to shoulder the burden of my undergraduate education. I worked very hard in order to obtain a degree that has served me and my community well, and I was able to do so quickly because of my parents' financial contributions. I worked for all my spending money and never felt entitled to my college money, because my parents were very clear that my education was contingent on a plan to use my degree to benefit my community and to be self-sufficient (which I have been since the day I graduated).

I think it's possible to be a person of strong, virtuous character even without having had to pay for college. A parent has 18 years to teach those lessons before they start writing tuition checks.

Pigeon

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #42 on: October 04, 2016, 08:11:59 PM »
I absolutely feel duty bound to provide my kids with 4 years of college (or support them through a trade school if they prefer).  We have sufficient incomes to afford it. I'm perfectly happy to work a few more years to give this to my kids and it is a sacrifice I'm willing to make. I can't really think of a better way to spend the money--it is what I value.

Jaguar Paw

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #43 on: October 04, 2016, 08:16:53 PM »
We have one infant and plan on having one more. My parents paid for around 90% of my education and my wife parents paid for 0% as she knew she had to get scholarships if she wanted to make it out of the hood. By the time  our kid(s) are in college, we should both be retired and should both be getting nice pensions. Because of this we should be able to put 40K plus towards their college by drawing from our 436B (I think those numbers are right). The reason we've picked 40K or so is because we should have over 1Mil in there by then so will draw 4% and put it right towards their schooling. If both are in school at the same time...20K each.

This sounds good until college costs a bajillion dollars in 18 years.

Vagabond76

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #44 on: October 04, 2016, 09:15:23 PM »
30% because I rounded down from 1/3.

Uncle Sam (i.e. all of you) will pay the other 2/3s. Thanks!

FIRE_at_45

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #45 on: October 04, 2016, 09:48:17 PM »
I didn't get the impression people feel 'duty bound', more that by starting with a clean slate and getting a good education sets a young person up for success.

I absolutely agree that a good education is a valuable thing to have in your experience bank.  Another thing that I think is valuable to have in there is the sense of accomplishment and self-sufficiency derived from contributing to that experience.  It means less if someone just hands it to you on a silver platter.  Part of the college experience is learning to be an adult, and part of becoming an adult is learning to deal with stress and bills and deadlines and conflicts. 

I know too many college grads who are basically still high school kids.  If mommy and daddy do everything for you, how are you ever supposed to grow up?  I would never handicap my kids by paying for 100% of their college experience.

A lot of great discussion and different view points.  I figured this is a topic where people would be completely divided.  Personally, I lean more towards what Sol is saying here. 

This topic got me thinking about my kids a lot.  Right now they are very grateful for what they are given.  Somehow, through years of work they thank me for every meal.  So, I'm not worried about them feeling like things will be handed to them because they won't. 

I also agree with some of the comments above that you don't want your children to be debt ridden either.  However, just thinking about the economics of it how can it be that a child today couldn't raise the same funds working in the summer as we did?  If I recall I could not cover the entire cost of a year of school when I worked in the summers.  Generally, at that time I could make $8,000 a summer and school was $10,000 - $11,000/year.  So, the rest had to come from savings before university, scholarships or help from my parents.

I just went on to a local university's site to see what the estimated costs are today.  If you are interested in the calculator, here is the link:

https://www.sfu.ca/students/financialaid/costs/canadian-2015-16.html

Basically, $9000 per term to live on campus with a meal plan which is the most expensive way to go.  So, that's $18,000 per year assuming they do two terms.  If there are 640 hours to work (40 hours @ 16 weeks) in the summer they would need to earn $28/hr which is not realistic.  However, I think that $15/hr is realistic which means they can earn 50% fairly easily.  I am a bit surprised by this number but remembering this is the most expensive option.  They can live at home at attend a College for 2 years and then transfer to a university for their last 2 years to get the degree.  Looking at it that way they could easily cover their costs (tuition, books, commute) by working through the summers. 

I still remember hearing a classmate gripe about how the government was not doing enough for us in school.  Total bullshit.  Here in Canada schooling is subsidized to the tune of 70% for tuition.  So, we have it great...and with a little hard work from both sides we can make it work and have them debt free and educated with hopefully a leg up.  I do agree that they absolutely must have some direction through school with an eye on getting a job at the end. 

zolotiyeruki

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #46 on: October 05, 2016, 07:59:14 AM »
I was considering, after they successfully graduated/completed etc. on their own, to "gift" them enough money to cover outstanding loans or a house down payment or something, but I wouldn't advertise this in advance. I would want them to feel the independence I felt by making it on my own rather than relying on me.
I remember hearing a story years ago about a billionaire who gave each of his kids $10 million or $40 million or some really large sum, but before they could get it, they had to meet certain criteria: complete college, hold a job for 5 years, spend two years overseas, be married to the same person for 10 years, volunteer for a couple years, and a few other things.  Basically, "prove you've got your head on straight before you get an inheritance."

I've searched several times for documentation of it, but always came up empty handed, so I'm going to file it away as "apocryphal."
I absolutely agree that a good education is a valuable thing to have in your experience bank.  Another thing that I think is valuable to have in there is the sense of accomplishment and self-sufficiency derived from contributing to that experience.  It means less if someone just hands it to you on a silver platter.  Part of the college experience is learning to be an adult, and part of becoming an adult is learning to deal with stress and bills and deadlines and conflicts. 

I know too many college grads who are basically still high school kids.  If mommy and daddy do everything for you, how are you ever supposed to grow up?  I would never handicap my kids by paying for 100% of their college experience.
When DW and I were still in college, she worked at the Financial Aid office.  Every day, she fielded calls from parents who were trying to take care of things for their (adult, college-enrolled) kids, who were unable or unwilling to handle things themselves.  It drove her nuts that these kids still had Mommy and Daddy helicoptering over them.

I consider it part of my parental responsibility to teach my kids how to handle all these things before they leave the house.  How to handle paperwork, how to read contracts, how to operate a bank account, and how to advocate for themselves.

MayDay

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #47 on: October 05, 2016, 08:05:53 AM »
I had a full ride scholarship, and H had loans but his grandparents paid them off.

I would like my kids to also be debt free, while having skin in the game.

We have already been talking to them (ages 6 and 9) about college costing money, some being more expensive than others, and scholarships.  They already know we will help with some costs, but they will contribute as well.  They save gift money in their 529's regularly. 

I picked 50% on the poll.  I think that would be our minimum contribution *if they are working hard and applying themselves!*.  We would consider contributing up to maybe 80% depending on circumstances (or eldest has autism, for example, and may need considerably more support).  We would definitely work an extra year to set aside money for college.  We may also inherit a large chunk of money to set aside for college.  But if the markets tank or we lose jobs, we are fine with a more minimal contribution too.

GuitarStv

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #48 on: October 05, 2016, 08:15:59 AM »
I'd like to cover the costs of tuition for schooling, and leave the other costs (food, shelter, transportation, books) to my child.  This way he'll have less incentive to waste money on fancy clothing and booze, but he also shouldn't have a miserable time pinching pennies and holding down a job while attending.

nobody123

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Re: What percentage of your children's education will you pay?
« Reply #49 on: October 05, 2016, 08:47:57 AM »
Part of the reason I have a sense of duty to pay for (or at least make a best effort to pay for all) is that in the US financial aid is at least partially based on parental income and assets.  I make a good living which will probably limit any FA offers to unsubsidized loans.  I am not going to RE and manipulate my income to appear poor just to increase the quality of their aid package.  I'm not going to kick them out or force them to get married / join the military to become independent in the eyes of the government either.  For better or worse, the government has determined that people with means are expected to contribute to their adult children's education.  I might personally disagree with that stance (why aren't all 18 year old high school graduates treated exactly the same), I don't see the point in making it worse for my own child just because I think the way we fund education in this country is a joke.

I also disagree with the "50% max so they have skin in the game" argument.  Do you make your kid pay for half of their braces?  What about a family vacation?  I would hope not.  As parents we provide all sorts of "non-essentials" above and beyond food / clothing / shelter in the hopes that our children appreciate them and it adds to the quality of their lives.  Why is college some magical line in the sand?  Hopefully we've taught them the value of a dollar from birth and they have a responsible attitude towards money, as well as a track record of making logical financial decisions, long before it's time for college.  We will discuss the family plan for funding their college when they get ready to enter high school, and they will be expected to contribute money towards that effort, so I guess they will technically have some skin in the game, albeit a tiny percentage. 

My goal is that they are aware of their privilege and appreciate it to the extent that their life experience allows them to.  I'm in my late 30s and the older I get I appreciate the sacrifices my parents made for me more and more.  I am sure I won't realize the true value of the scholarships I had for college until it comes time to pay for my own children's educations.  I could understand the math of the decision to choose a school based on an aid package back when I was 18, but I couldn't appreciate the real-life ramifications of being debt free until I was much older.  I have no expectations that my child at 17 or 18 is going to be as mature than I am in my mid-40s.  Should I only give them 30% of the available money if I think they have a 30% appreciation of a 40 year old?  When they are 40, should I expect them to have a different appreciation for my sacrifice if I only gave them 50% instead of 100%?  Hopefully my wife and I will raise two fine, self-sufficient humans who will behave responsibly regardless of how much money we are able to give them towards college.

Would I be super-proud of my kids if they both said, "No, Dad, you and Mom keep your money for retirement, I want to pay for college on my own."?  Of course!  But I am totally fine with "Dad, I want to attend XYZ University to get a degree in ABC.  I plan to do DEF with that degree once I graduate in 4 years.  Here's my plan to graduate on time and have a job lined up at least a semester before I graduate.  Can you help me out with the $GHI that I am short?".

I would not be fine with "I have no idea what I want to do, but I know college is important, so can you pay for me to go to take some classes and figure out what I want to do for a living?".  In that scenario I would have them pay their way for a few semesters of community college and let them know that once they come up with a long-term plan, Mom and Dad will be there to help them finish their 4 year degree.

And of course any parental aid would come with strings attached.  I would expect nothing less than a 3.5 GPA, no individual grade lower than a B, internships to get real-world experience, summer work, etc.  They would need to fund a fraternity, spring break trips, etc. themselves.  If they blow all of their free money and time during the school year drinking and playing golf on the university course (like I did) but keep their grades up and graduate on time, good for them.  They should also have a contingency plan in the case I have to turn the money faucet off due to a job loss, death, medical issue, etc.  So, I wouldn't categorize what my wife and I are going to offer them a pile of money on a silver platter.