Author Topic: College  (Read 14385 times)

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College
« on: December 12, 2013, 12:21:51 PM »
What are fellow mustachian parents planning for paying for college?

I have three kids. 

I've heard a lot of people say that they will limit their kids to state schools (or community colleges), but even that is a pretty big financial hit.

ex: Current cost for a year at University of Virginia (in state) is about $10,000.  For 12 years that's $120,000.  And who knows how much the cost will go up between now and then.

I've heard a lot of people say that they will let the kids pay for it.  But I'm pretty debt adverse (part of how I got here) and don't really want my kids to be saddled with huge debt to start their lives. 

Then there is the issue of what if one of them turns out to actually have the ability and drive for a top tier ivy league school.  Which could be $50,000 a year, or $200,000 total...just for one kid.

Even though our income may not be huge at that point, our total assets are likely to be large enough to render financial aid unlikely.

I'm really not sure how to handle this part of financial planning.  How do you plan for this?

Bigote

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Re: College
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2013, 12:49:32 PM »
We've had a few threads that touched on this, i've seen a range of opinions here.   I'm on one extreme, probably, in that I've fully funded a 529 account for 4+ years of Ivy-level expense for my child, and I did it while he was still a preschooler.   

My parents paid for me, my grandparents paid for them.  In fact, my grandfather (MIT, class of '28) had his university paid by older siblings.   I'm just paying it forward.

I know this is a bit of a controversial topic, like many are that have to do with children. 

Gray Matter

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Re: College
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2013, 12:53:09 PM »
We've also go three kids.  Our plan evolves over time as our priorities shift, but in a perfect world, we'd have enough saved and be able to pay enough as we go so they have to:
  • work 15 hours a week during the school year and full-time in the summer
  • be frugal
  • graduate with a little debt (no more than 10K)

I want my kids to have to work some, but not too much--I read awhile back that students who worked about 15 hours a week during the school year actually did better academically than those who didn't work at all and those who worked more than that.

I also want them to have a little debt, so they can learn the pain/pinch of having to pay off something--hopefully this will prevent them from making more expensive debt mistakes.

We are saving some in 529 plans, and some in Roth IRAs (which are more flexible and could be used for our retirement if we need them).  We're counting on state schools.  If a child has the ability/gumption to go to a more expensive private school, they'll have to get scholarships or fund the difference themselves.

Also, it's my understanding that financial aid does not take retirement assets into account--I could be wrong on that, though.


Cooperd0g

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Re: College
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2013, 01:06:45 PM »
I don't have kids, but I managed to pay my own way through school without drowning in debt like so many people tend to do nowadays. The problem is that it is a habit and everyone else is doing it so it must be normal/okay. I also came out with a decent job because I wasn't some 5-6 year wayward, I don't know what I'll major in so how about some non marketable liberal arts degree, kid.

So UVA costs $10,000 per year you say. Well, why can't they earn $10,000 in a year? There is no reason why they couldn't earn half of that over the 3 month summers. $5,000 over a summer is only $416 a week for three months. Then have a part time job during school to pay the other $5,000. How about getting straight As will get you a scholarship? How about encouraging them to not even bother to go to college until they know what they plan on working towards? To many kids use college as a way station, a time to do virtually nothing and let parents pay for it or just defer paying for it themselves. Then they cry about wanting student loan debt relief because the cost of their education has become such a burden.

Michread

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Re: College
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2013, 01:15:31 PM »
We're paying; one dc is in college the other will be in 2 yrs. Our parents didn't pay for us because they couldn't but college costs were significantly lower back then. 

We took a 15 year mortgage knowing we would probably be able to afford to pay for both of them because we would have no mortgage (our state doesn't offer 529). We are long time Vanguard investors too so in 2 years we will be able to afford 2 college tuitions (40K+/yr) because we have NO debt.

We are paying for a state school.  If ds chose a more expensive college, he would have had to take a loan. He's a smart kid and chose the state school. He may have to pay for his own grad. school (which he's planning to do).  We don't quality for financial aid but we get a faculty discount of $4700/yr.

If your dc get into Harvard, you'll most likely be paying LESS than at your top state school. 

Emilyngh

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Re: College
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2013, 06:10:24 PM »
What are fellow mustachian parents planning for paying for college?


ex: Current cost for a year at University of Virginia (in state) is about $10,000.  For 12 years that's $120,000.  And who knows how much the cost will go up between now and then.


Well, just as an FYI:  first year students at UVa are required to live on grounds.   Room and Board double your estimate to $20,000 for the first year (in theory I guess one could live at home for the latter 3 years if they lived close enough, but in my 7 years there I've never seen this occur).

As far as the question, it depends.    My stepson got a full everything academic scholarship (room, board, all), so that was easy.   My stepdaughter probably won't, but since her mother's income is low, she'll qualify for max financial aid.   At a state school (say less expensive than UVa, say $15k starting price for tuition and room and board), this means about $5k in a Pell grant, leaving $10k a year.   If we choose to pay, say $6k a year, we should be able to save $2500 on taxes by claiming the American Opportunity Tax Credit, and then about another $500 through another tax exemption for her, meaning we effectively pay $3k per year out of pocket (not bad at all).   She then could take subsidized federal loans for the last $4k/yr, hopefully working over the summer to pay off some of this and graduate with $10-$15k total in loans.   Not bad all the way around in my opinion (us putting in $12k total and her around the same for a 4-year degree).

I can't predict exactly how things with go with our daughter (only 2 now vs 16 year old stepdaughter), but since we plan to be retired and thus low-income by the time she's college aged-I'm imagine the situation will be similar as that described for my stepdaughter (with dollars adjusted for inflation).

Also, I disagree that Ivy school would cost more.    Because of how they structure their own financial aid very generously, unless one is very high income, they will probably cost less.    Also, as far as assets keeping one from qualifying for financial aid, keep in mind that the fed doesn't include retirement accounts or housing (which is where most of our money will be). 
« Last Edit: December 12, 2013, 06:30:34 PM by Emilyngh »

bogart

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Re: College
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2013, 07:56:04 PM »
I hope/plan to pay for my son to go wherever he wants to go and can get in, assuming of course that he takes it seriously.  This is what my parents provided me and my brother and I (we) are grateful for it.  We did take on some debt, but not an absurd amount (I graduated with ~$10K debt in the early 1990s).

Obviously not every family can (or wants to) do that.  I would say that I don't think it's sensible (or frugal) to limit applications to schools based on tuition costs (assuming an appealing, i.e., qualified applicant).  There are considerable discrepancies between what schools "cost" (the sticker price/stated tuition + fees) and what different students actually pay.  My sense is it makes more sense to apply and then compare costs after one has full information about what the schools will, in fact, cost. 

MrsPete

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Re: College
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2013, 11:27:47 PM »
We saved aggressively from the moment we got married, and we thought the very same thing you're thinking: "College is so expensive.  How will we ever manage?  Will it eat into our retirement?" Now that we're actually paying college tuition, it hasn't been hard at all.  To tell the truth, we haven't even dipped into savings yet; we've been able to pay with current earnings.  We're watching our pennies at home, we're not taking any big trips, but we haven't made any major sacrifices.  This is only possible, of course, because we don't have any debt and because our salaries have grown over the years.  We will have to dip into savings once we have two in college at once.

We also have an ace-in-the-hole, something we talked about before our oldest started college:  Because we saved from a young age, we could stop (or reduce) our retirement savings, and it wouldn't really hurt us -- what we already have would continue to accrue.  We would never take money out of those accounts, but stopping new contributions would've been a way of "upping" our income. 

Here's what gets you when your child is a high school senior: You have to make decisions without all the information!  You're juggling so many facts and figures, and you can't know which schools might come through with offers of money, which schools might increase their tuition most sharply over the next few years, which towns have the most reasonable cost for student apartments . . . and which schools are actually best suited to your student in the long run.  It feels like you're making a decision with only 3/4 of the facts available to you. 

Yes, we are in the group that said, "Look at the state universities".  In my state, the average state school is considerably better academically than the average private school.  And although people talk about private schools giving more money, having worked with high school seniors for two decades, this is not really true all that often -- oh, yeah, it happens on occasion -- just often enough to keep what is largely an urban myth alive.  The reality is that for the vast number of students, the school with the highest price tag ends up being . . . the school with the highest price tag.  If your kid's in love with an expensive school, TRY to get a lower price.  Try because for someone that's going to work out.  But while you're trying for that unique situation, ALSO apply to a couple realistic schools -- schools you can actually afford if no one gives you a single dime. 

Random advice from the parent of a college student:

- Applying to college is more expensive than you expect.  $40-60 per school for application fee.  $55 to take the SAT (and you're going to buy that review book, which is another $20).  I know one family who told their twins they'd only pay for them to apply to two schools each; if they wanted to apply to more, they'd have to pay.  My own daughter got a little out-of-hand and said, "You know, I know I don't want to attend ___ (very prestigious school where most of her friends WANT to go), but I think I'll apply just to see whether I'd be accepted."  I refused to pay $60 to stoke her ego with an acceptance letter. 

- Freshman year you should apply for financial aid, but don't count on it. 

- Likewise, don't count on scholarships; even excellent students don't always get them. 

- Few scholarships are school-based; the majority can be used at any university.

- Once your kids are in high school, do investigate ways to "get a jump on" college classes -- AP classes, dual registration between high school /community college, online virtual classes.

- Once your kids are high school juniors, do visit lots of schools.  A huge percentage of my daughter's friends (maybe 40%?) have switched schools, and it's because they chose poorly in the first place (for a variety of reasons -- some academic, some social, some financial, one criminal).  I think kids today have been nurtured on the concept of "the perfect college experience", and if it falls short, they're uber-disappointed.  Switching schools is stressful for the student, and it almost guarantees that they'll need at least an extra semester to complete their degree.

- Once your kids are in college, realize that you don't have to spend-spend-spend on things other than their actual tuition, dorm and meal plan.  So many of my friends spent $$$$ to outfit their kids' dorms with new . . . well, everything.  I wanted to say, "What?  You really don't have any extra towels and lamps around your house?"  And then the very next year those parents were spending big -- again -- to outfit a college apartment because the kid didn't like living in the dorm.  Similarly, a car isn't really a necessity for a freshman on campus.  You might not be able to get any discounts on tuition, but you can absolutely tell your kid he's living the frugal life during college.  Obviously, if you've prepared him for this with a lifetime of frugal practice, you're more likely to be successful. 

- Just save, save, save and trust that it'll work out.  If it turns out you can't bankroll the whole thing, tell your kids up front what you can pay.  Even if you can pay tuition only, your kids will still be fortunate.

- Remember that financial help isn't the only help kids need in college.  They still need your guidance and support just as much as they need those tuition dollars. 


unpolloloco

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Re: College
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2013, 08:59:56 PM »
I think the big thing is to BE UPFRONT with your kids as to what you'll pay for college.  I've seen people switch schools because their parents never told them they wouldn't be able to pay for a more expensive school, but implied they would pay for it.

Tell your kids you have $X/year you'll pay for tuition/room/board for them (and what happens if cost is less than $X/year - do they get that money?).  Talk to them about debt and encourage them to take cost into consideration when choosing schools (but not to make it the sole deciding factor - but a big one, nonetheless).  This puts decisions into their court - where it should be in order for them to take ownership of their educations.

MrsPete

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Re: College
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2013, 03:27:19 PM »
I think the big thing is to BE UPFRONT with your kids as to what you'll pay for college.  I've seen people switch schools because their parents never told them they wouldn't be able to pay for a more expensive school, but implied they would pay for it.

Tell your kids you have $X/year you'll pay for tuition/room/board for them (and what happens if cost is less than $X/year - do they get that money?).  Talk to them about debt and encourage them to take cost into consideration when choosing schools (but not to make it the sole deciding factor - but a big one, nonetheless).  This puts decisions into their court - where it should be in order for them to take ownership of their educations.
So true!  And I'd add this:  Put some real thought into what you can and can't pay, and -- genuine emergencies aside -- stick to what you say.  It's tough enough for 18-year olds, with their lack of experience with money, to make financial choices that will affect the rest of their lives without their parents changing their minds halfway through!

As I say that, I'm thinking of a dear friend of my daughter's.  Her parents had NOTHING saved for her education, but she fell in love with a moderately priced university 4 hours from home, and her mother told her that if she'd take out a student-loan and she'd take out a parent-loan each year, between them, they could swing it. After one year, her mom realized that this was an expensive choice (especially since a younger sibling is only two years behind), and she told the girl that she could no longer do the parent-loans, which left the girl with two bad choices:

1. Leave the school she loved, where she'd had a successful freshman year and move home to attend a closer university.
2. Borrow twice what she'd thought she'd borrow. 

She chose #1, but instead of coming home she moved in with a guy she barely knows and isn't speaking to her mom.  The girl'd be so much better off if mom had said up front, "I can't offer you your choice of anything in the world, but this is the small amount I can do for you.  Let's make a choice with that in mind."   

And I'm thinking of another student whose parents I know pretty well.  She really, really wanted to attend a relatively expensive out-of-state school.  Very good school, but they don't offer anything you couldn't get here in state.  Her parents wanted her to stay in state at a more reasonably priced school, but they weren't willing to say no -- they told her that if she really wanted it, they'd figure out a way to make the out-of-state school happen.  So the kid thought, "Good, I can have this."  Her mom actually went back to work so the kid could have the school she wanted.  I could've found the words, 'Hey, it's a great school, but it's just out of the budget" in my vocabulary.   

Bikes in a dress

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Re: College
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2014, 10:45:49 PM »
I graduated from a top law school fairly recently (3 years ago) and went to a low-ranked state university for undergrad, so I have some perspective on the Ivy League vs. state school thing. One of the most important pieces of advice that my parents ever gave me was that where you went to undergrad doesn't matter.  There are exceptions in certain fields, of course (e.g., engineering at MIT), but generally, this is one thing my parents were right about. 

I went to law school with students with undergrad degrees from Harvard, Yale, etc, and I had no trouble graduating in the top third of my class. 

I had far less debt, and I also had the enriching experience of going to college with kids who put themselves through.  Where I went to college, it would have been downright embarrasing to rely on my parents for food/housing/spending money.  I had friends who worked multiple jobs to fund school, travel, and help their parents pay their parent loans.  Going to college with other young adults who were independent, worked, were frugal, and still had a lot of (cheap) fun was an important experience, and  your kids won't likely get that at an Ivy League school.  They'll be surrounded by spoiled kids with money who rely on mommy and daddy.

Also, almost everyone I know, including myself, finished college with a different major than they started. It's an age where young adults are still trying to figure out what they want to do.  A large state school is awesome because if you change your mind, you have options.  Also, that way you aren't stuck with Expensive School that's great for engineering when your kid decides to change his/her major to psychology.

Finally, I second being up front with the amount of money you have, and telling them if they want to go someplace pricier, it's on them.  My parents did that with me, and it was really helpful in being able to make a good decision about where to go.

Also, UVA is a great school.  If that's your best in-state option, it's not worth paying for anything more expensive.

grantmeaname

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Re: College
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2014, 02:33:55 PM »
I graduated from a top law school fairly recently (3 years ago) and went to a low-ranked state university for undergrad, so I have some perspective on the Ivy League vs. state school thing. One of the most important pieces of advice that my parents ever gave me was that where you went to undergrad doesn't matter.  There are exceptions in certain fields, of course (e.g., engineering at MIT), but generally, this is one thing my parents were right about.
Unless you want to actually work in your field and your undergraduate degree may be your final degree? I get the argument for attorneys and dentists, but what about accountants, authors, and engineers?

mamagoose

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Re: College
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2014, 06:39:01 AM »
We aren't. We want to teach our daughter that it's an investment in her future and to invest wisely (pick a good major at a good school).

Maybe we'll be in the fortunate position of being low-income early retirees and qualify for free tuition at certain top schools - Stanford gives free tuition if your household income is <100k, and that's our alma mater so fingers crossed :)

Undecided

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Re: College
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2014, 08:27:55 AM »
We aren't. We want to teach our daughter that it's an investment in her future and to invest wisely (pick a good major at a good school).

Maybe we'll be in the fortunate position of being low-income early retirees and qualify for free tuition at certain top schools - Stanford gives free tuition if your household income is <100k, and that's our alma mater so fingers crossed :)

As a graduate of another school with a similar policy, while I have considered that something like that could work out for us, I am pretty sure it's not what Princeton expected or intended when it kicked off the full-need revolution.

galliver

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Re: College
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2014, 09:58:35 AM »
No one ever mentions this, but...consider *lending* your child money, or part of it, if it's an option for you. My parents helped me through a combination of taking out loans (at good interest rates available to them due to good long credit history), family savings, etc. Now none of it is in loans/debt anymore. But I'm expected to pay all $20k-ish of it back.

Which meant I had support and didn't have to worry about getting the money for school, but I also had skin in the game and I made decisions accordingly--knew that I had to focus in school to have any chance at scholarships (I got one!), worked summers as soon as I could (~$5k each of 2 years, went straight into room & board/fees), worked during the year to provide for living expenses/incidentals. Parents helped me out if my earnings ran out, but then I was pretty reasonable about it, i.e. didn't blow paycheck on going out and then ask for grocery money.

Large student loans are a huge risk if something goes wrong--bad economy/can't find a job, health issues, can't finish college for any other reason (unlikely for "mini mustaches" but things happen). Not being able to make those payments can trash credit and cause a lot of stress (I've seen it). Parents are much more forgiving lenders, typically.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: College
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2014, 10:25:34 AM »
No one ever mentions this, but...consider *lending* your child money, or part of it, if it's an option for you. My parents helped me through a combination of taking out loans (at good interest rates available to them due to good long credit history), family savings, etc. Now none of it is in loans/debt anymore. But I'm expected to pay all $20k-ish of it back.

Which meant I had support and didn't have to worry about getting the money for school, but I also had skin in the game and I made decisions accordingly--knew that I had to focus in school to have any chance at scholarships (I got one!), worked summers as soon as I could (~$5k each of 2 years, went straight into room & board/fees), worked during the year to provide for living expenses/incidentals. Parents helped me out if my earnings ran out, but then I was pretty reasonable about it, i.e. didn't blow paycheck on going out and then ask for grocery money.

Large student loans are a huge risk if something goes wrong--bad economy/can't find a job, health issues, can't finish college for any other reason (unlikely for "mini mustaches" but things happen). Not being able to make those payments can trash credit and cause a lot of stress (I've seen it). Parents are much more forgiving lenders, typically.

I always thought this seemed like a good idea. I had a temporary roommate when I first started my job whose mom basically bought her debt after college. It was a win/win... mom gets a low risk return on her money (my roommate was a petroleum engineer), gets to instill some sense of reponsibility in her offspring but in a more gentle manner, and my roommate got a good interest rate and a forgiving lender. My parents couldn't afford to do this for me but I like the idea.

I made a dumb choice and went to a mediocre private school. I would not go back and change it if I could, because I had an amazing college experience, great professors and ended up with a major I WOULD NOT have had otherwise, which led to a great job. But if I had not gotten a great job, I would be pretty screwed. My college expenses were primarily paid through federal loans in my name and Parent PLUS loans (which I am now paying off), with my parents paying some while I was in school and me working part-time jobs on campus... by the time I got out of grad school (which was free) I had $70k to pay off. It is working out fine for me but I definitely will not recommend it to my children :)

Carrie

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Re: College
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2014, 11:13:14 AM »
My hope is to gift each of our children (2 here, one on the way) with about enough cash to cover in-state tuition.  We will encourage part time jobs for them to cover living costs.  If they are frugal, a part time job during the year and full time in summer should be enough to live on if tuition/books are covered.  If any or all of them land scholarships, we will still gift them some cash, to use towards living expenses or whatever they need.  I think we will be happy to contribute some, both from savings & cash flow, but not all of their expenses, and we are not planning on funding private/ivy.  We will not encourage debt and will absolutely not sign for any.

We are contributing $150/mo. per child currently (one is into an ESA through Vanguard, the other is with our state's 529 plan), and may increase those numbers when our house is paid off in 4-5 years.  Right now our 7 yo has $11,500 and our 2 yo has $4250 set aside.  It's not much, but there's still time to save and it's a decent start.

In the meantime, we are going to encourage majors that will yield good returns, and encourage a strong direction.  If a child isn't sure of major/has no strong direction/desires, we will push for community college while living at home.  No point in paying good money (especially our money) to aimlessly wander through years of college.

grantmeaname

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Re: College
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2014, 11:50:04 AM »
Is it unreasonable to expect their level of intelligence (and ability to get at least some tuition covered) similar to their parents?
A little. IQ is only somewhat heritable so children of smart people tend to be somewhere between smart and average. Scholarships are about lots of things other than IQ, though - extracurriculars, work ethic, school achievement, social skill.

But it never hurts to plan for the worst case and possibly end up with a windfall - better than planning for the best case and possibly being caught unprepared.

Carrie

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Re: College
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2014, 12:38:48 PM »
Our state schools offer generous transfer scholarships (provided GPA is high enough), making starting at CC a nice option.  There are also some small amounts available for simply being a state resident, going to a state school and having a high school gpa over 3.0. 

grantmeaname

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Re: College
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2014, 01:26:54 PM »
At my state schools, if you make x amount on ACT and have a decent GPA, you are guaranteed a scholarship of y amount. My kiddos that are literate seem to be on track to do alright. ;)
Yeah, but isn't that amount like 20% of tuition? That's how it works around here.

AlmostIndependent

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Re: College
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2014, 09:32:28 PM »
I've heard a lot of people say that they will let the kids pay for it.  But I'm pretty debt adverse (part of how I got here) and don't really want my kids to be saddled with huge debt to start their lives. 

My parents made me pay for most of my college education (they had about $15k saved.) Starting my adult life with some real financial responsibility is a big part of the reason I am where I am today. When you give your kids newly minted adults the responsibility to pay for their education it will help prepare them for their financial futures and help them think about what money means to them. There should be some lessons on the perils of excessive debt and so on, but as the children of a MMM follower I'm sure they will have heard about that long before college :)

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Re: College
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2014, 07:09:47 AM »
At my state schools, if you make x amount on ACT and have a decent GPA, you are guaranteed a scholarship of y amount. My kiddos that are literate seem to be on track to do alright. ;)
Yeah, but isn't that amount like 20% of tuition? That's how it works around here.

I don't think it is thathard here. I got full tuition w/o trying on ACT. So, I think they can get something. Plus, we get a discount because their dad is in academia.

What state is it that you get full tuition just for a certain ACT score?

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: College
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2014, 07:46:40 AM »
At my state schools, if you make x amount on ACT and have a decent GPA, you are guaranteed a scholarship of y amount. My kiddos that are literate seem to be on track to do alright. ;)
Yeah, but isn't that amount like 20% of tuition? That's how it works around here.

I don't think it is thathard here. I got full tuition w/o trying on ACT. So, I think they can get something. Plus, we get a discount because their dad is in academia.

What state is it that you get full tuition just for a certain ACT score?

Here's a link from my state (Utah)

http://www.usu.edu/admissions/scholarships/res-freshmen.cfm

Our strategy varies by kid. I have one that got an athletic scholarship. She can't have a job during school, so we help on occasion, probably $1000-$1500/yr.  She also took concurrent enrollment and AP classes in high school, so she graduated HS with a year of college done.

Our next kid didn't take HS very seriously (not dumb, just liked sports more). No college credits in HS and dubious study skills. If he wants to live at home and get a job, I'll help him pay for a couple years at CC. If he turns it around and transfers to a state Univ, I'll help him there too. But it will be on him to show maturity. The last thing I would want is to hand that kid a 200K 529 plan. He's not ready yet.

The next two are straight A honors/gifted program kids (we gave up on pushing sports after kid #2). They'll both be able to graduate HS with an associates degree and will have scholarships that will pay for bachelors and beyond and excellent state univ.  #3 wants to go to med school, so that will be on him, but I don't think borrowing money for that is an evil.

Kids #5 and #6 are pretty young still. Both very bright, so I expect they'll do well. I've been a SAHM, so another part of the plan is that I will be working in my career by then. My dh makes a very good six figure salary (he's a liberal arts major for the guy that took a dig at that), so my income can go to kids school, family trips, whatever.

grantmeaname

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Re: College
« Reply #23 on: January 17, 2014, 09:03:29 AM »
Here's a link from my state (Utah)

http://www.usu.edu/admissions/scholarships/res-freshmen.cfm
Full tuition to people who have a 4.0 GPA and score at the 97th percentile, a 3.9 and the 98th percentile, or at least a 3.5 at the 99th percentile. That's not "easy" or "almost everyone".

Undecided

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Re: College
« Reply #24 on: January 17, 2014, 09:09:14 AM »

Our next kid didn't take HS very seriously (not dumb, just liked sports more). No college credits in HS and dubious study skills. If he wants to live at home and get a job, I'll help him pay for a couple years at CC. If he turns it around and transfers to a state Univ, I'll help him there too. But it will be on him to show maturity. The last thing I would want is to hand that kid a 200K 529 plan. He's not ready yet.

Just to clarify for others who might form a mistaken impression of how a 529 plan operates, but you don't need to "hand that kid" a 529 plan; rather the owner of the plan decides who the beneficiaries are, and can remove beneficiaries or add related beneficiaries, and the owner decides to release funds from the plan to pay for the appropriate expenses for beneficiaries.

AlmostIndependent

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Re: College
« Reply #25 on: January 17, 2014, 09:22:38 AM »

Our next kid didn't take HS very seriously (not dumb, just liked sports more). No college credits in HS and dubious study skills. If he wants to live at home and get a job, I'll help him pay for a couple years at CC. If he turns it around and transfers to a state Univ, I'll help him there too. But it will be on him to show maturity. The last thing I would want is to hand that kid a 200K 529 plan. He's not ready yet.

Just to clarify for others who might form a mistaken impression of how a 529 plan operates, but you don't need to "hand that kid" a 529 plan; rather the owner of the plan decides who the beneficiaries are, and can remove beneficiaries or add related beneficiaries, and the owner decides to release funds from the plan to pay for the appropriate expenses for beneficiaries.

Exactly. I have a 529 plan that I'm saving into. Maybe I'll help my kids, maybe I'll want to go back to school. I am the current beneficiary (since my kids don't actually exist yet) but I can change that whenever I want.

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: College
« Reply #26 on: January 17, 2014, 09:23:04 AM »

Our next kid didn't take HS very seriously (not dumb, just liked sports more). No college credits in HS and dubious study skills. If he wants to live at home and get a job, I'll help him pay for a couple years at CC. If he turns it around and transfers to a state Univ, I'll help him there too. But it will be on him to show maturity. The last thing I would want is to hand that kid a 200K 529 plan. He's not ready yet.

Just to clarify for others who might form a mistaken impression of how a 529 plan operates, but you don't need to "hand that kid" a 529 plan; rather the owner of the plan decides who the beneficiaries are, and can remove beneficiaries or add related beneficiaries, and the owner decides to release funds from the plan to pay for the appropriate expenses for beneficiaries.

Thanks for clarifying that. I just meant he is not ready to live on his own and have mom and dad pay for him to sleep through his classes. Of course, I have other children who could use the fund. Some people have one or two kids, and if they were anything like my son, I don't think giving him everything will teach him anything.

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: College
« Reply #27 on: January 17, 2014, 09:26:00 AM »
Here's a link from my state (Utah)

http://www.usu.edu/admissions/scholarships/res-freshmen.cfm
Full tuition to people who have a 4.0 GPA and score at the 97th percentile, a 3.9 and the 98th percentile, or at least a 3.5 at the 99th percentile. That's not "easy" or "almost everyone".

I never claimed it was easy, but it is there. And it's not the only option our state offers. If you graduate HS with your associates degree (again, not easy, but possible) the state pays for your next two years tuition at any state univ.

grantmeaname

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Re: College
« Reply #28 on: January 17, 2014, 09:54:25 AM »
Even if you're at the 97th percentile it's unsafe to bet that your kid will also be at the 97th percentile (and a diligent worker who doesn't suffer from test anxiety). My point is that while it does happen, it is exactly "that hard". Giving classes to students for free is not the business model of universities.

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: College
« Reply #29 on: January 17, 2014, 10:51:01 AM »
Even if you're at the 97th percentile it's unsafe to bet that your kid will also be at the 97th percentile (and a diligent worker who doesn't suffer from test anxiety). My point is that while it does happen, it is exactly "that hard". Giving classes to students for free is not the business model of universities.

You're absolutely right. I don't think you can gaze into your newborn's eyes and say "this kid will be in the 97%. But watching how they do through elementary and junior high will give you an idea of their talents and drive. By the time they're 7-8th grade you can usually tell how they're doing in school. And all that tells you is their potential. They have to reach for the next level themselves. And I have enough kids to tell you that a parent can only do so much. But if they work hard, with talent, they can get scholarships that will take them to a good state school.  And if you're smart, talented, and work hard, a state Univ will get you most places you want to go. My dad (Stanford PhD) always told us to go to a good state univ for our under grad. I think it's a great option in my state where the education and opportunities are there and the COL is low.

RugosaB

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Re: College
« Reply #30 on: January 19, 2014, 05:00:53 PM »
When our 3 children (who are now 28, 26, 25 so this is OLD info) were born, Ohio had a program called Tuition Trust that we were able to buy college credits at that year's prices, and would be good for the same number of credits when used. The program lost money, so was done away with, but they still honored those who bought in. Our plan was to buy each kid a years worth of credits at a state school, and let them take it from there. All 3 grew up knowing they would be responsible for the rest.

Worked out that around here, if a kid had a certain gpa in high school, the local comm college gave them 2 years free, which our oldest 2 did. Then, our oldest got scholarships to finish so he was taken care of. We could transfer the credits, so that was 2 years for our daughter, who also took advantage of the free 2 years

Then, our youngest son.  As we discovered when he was little, he was different than the other 2. No 2 free years for him, he joined the Navy. His test scores let him be in the nuclear propulsion dept. His schooling for that was sort of 'college on speed' the way they ran it, and he ended up in a rank that he came away with a degree in something - nuclear related? So he gave his tuition trust money to our daughter too. His training, and the disciplined learned, was the reason he was accepted, at his young age, to the operator class at the local refinery. In fact. the refinery and the local nuclear power plant offered him jobs the same day. To a mom who didn't know what we were going to do with this kid, I got to breathe a big sigh of relief.

Our daughter got her RN, with enough money left for another year, so she's now working as an RN, not full time of course, and taking classes to satisfy the requirements needed to apply to med school. She's paying for whatever bill she owes herself.

All this with not very much money from Mom  and Dad. The RN knows that we have always felt our job as parents was to fund the RN degree, something she could use to support herself, anything beyond that is her doings. So far she has a 4.0 average in college.

When our first was born, we decided I would stay at home. Our kids went to public school, the same I went to, in fact my Dad was in the first graduating class, and though we didn't have that as our goal, it seems that the money we gave up by me not working was more than made up for with the education the kids received that allowed them to do what they did. We live in a  rural area, maybe 600 per graduating class (it was 800 when I graduated)

Oh, just remembered (had a TBI 5 years ago, sometimes things come to me slowly) When our oldest was a jr in high school. he went out to the local vocational school, and the state let him go to another comm college, right across the road. Free for Mom and Dad. He graduated high school with 37 college credits, and that way he could still be on the hs golf team

quilter

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Re: College
« Reply #31 on: January 19, 2014, 07:03:01 PM »
I took weekend call when my kids were in college in addition to my regular job, we only did what was matched with 401, our kids had jobs and took some small loans. These huge amounts of debt I hear about make my hair stand on end.

Now I have three grandchildren. For each birthday and Christmas we give them a small homemade present ( think handmade doll dress, or wooden truck) and I put money in each 529 account. We have had no debt for years and and I can't imagine a better sharing of the good fortune we have had. The parents know we will only do this as long as it does not affect our lifestyle (a miserly one at that) and they also make some contribution to each account each month.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2014, 08:03:54 PM by quilter »

greaper007

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Re: College
« Reply #32 on: January 24, 2014, 10:48:25 PM »
I did a year at a community college before moving on to the university.   It was very cheap, I think $1200, but there were several credits that didn't transfer because one school was on quarters and the other was on semesters, and the normal credit transfecting shenanigans.    It really sucked living at home but it made me realize that I wanted to be as far away from my family as possible.   For that, I'm eternally grateful.

Otherwise, I'm not sure what I'll do with my kids.   Colorado state schools aren't bad, and my wife got her undergrad from U of M so in state tuition there might be a possibility.   Honestly, we're more concerned about our own finances right now.   I have a 2 and a 5 year old so there's still time.   But I figure if our retirement funds are fat at that point we could just keep working and use our salary to pay for school.

MrsPete

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Re: College
« Reply #33 on: January 26, 2014, 08:01:22 AM »
I graduated from a top law school fairly recently (3 years ago) and went to a low-ranked state university for undergrad, so I have some perspective on the Ivy League vs. state school thing. One of the most important pieces of advice that my parents ever gave me was that where you went to undergrad doesn't matter.  There are exceptions in certain fields, of course (e.g., engineering at MIT), but generally, this is one thing my parents were right about.
Unless you want to actually work in your field and your undergraduate degree may be your final degree? I get the argument for attorneys and dentists, but what about accountants, authors, and engineers?
Yeah, it seems that ALL my high school seniors have big plans for advanced degrees, yet the last time I looked at the Census stats, something like 25-30% of all Americans over age 25 have a bachelor's degree and a scant 8% have a masters.  (Now, if you wanted to argue that those figures will increase as today's generation grows up, I wouldn't disagree, but we'd still be a long way from advanced degrees being "commonplace".)

No one ever mentions this, but...consider *lending* your child money, or part of it, if it's an option for you. My parents helped me through a combination of taking out loans (at good interest rates available to them due to good long credit history), family savings, etc. Now none of it is in loans/debt anymore. But I'm expected to pay all $20k-ish of it back.
Another option:  I know one family who had the money saved for their only child to attend college . . . but they had him take out student loans for the entire cost, with this deal -- If you graduate on time in four years, we will immediately pay off 100% of your student loans.  If you graduate in five years, we will pay off 80% of your loans, leaving you with a moderate amount to pay.  If you goof off, don't go to class, don't progress towards graduation, the loans are in your name. 

I don't think this is a bad plan for the kid who's cruised through high school with little motivation; that is, the student who might need a kick in the pants to do what should be done.

Is it unreasonable to expect their level of intelligence (and ability to get at least some tuition covered) similar to their parents?
A little. IQ is only somewhat heritable so children of smart people tend to be somewhere between smart and average. Scholarships are about lots of things other than IQ, though - extracurriculars, work ethic, school achievement, social skill.

But it never hurts to plan for the worst case and possibly end up with a windfall - better than planning for the best case and possibly being caught unprepared.
Yes, I know plenty of kids who graduate with better than a 4.0, AP classes under their belts, extracurriculars, good recommendations . . . yet they don't get scholarships anyway. 

At my state schools, if you make x amount on ACT and have a decent GPA, you are guaranteed a scholarship of y amount. My kiddos that are literate seem to be on track to do alright. ;)
Yeah, but isn't that amount like 20% of tuition? That's how it works around here.

I don't think it is thathard here. I got full tuition w/o trying on ACT. So, I think they can get something. Plus, we get a discount because their dad is in academia.
Yes, getting those nice deals is very difficult.  Work towards it, push your kids academically, but at the same time save money.  The chances of all five kids getting this very unique deal is minute. 


soccerluvof4

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Re: College
« Reply #34 on: January 28, 2014, 11:00:48 AM »
We have 4 kids... 15,13,9 and 8. They are very active in sports right now which costs us an arm and a leg with all the traveling so we turn that into mini-vacations even though they all seem to be in different locations and My wife and I have to split up a lot. We remind them everyday how much we love them playing Soccer and the education there getting and lack of insecurities so many other kids get BUT they have to have great NOT good grades or they dont play. In addition , we started late but put money in 529s as well. They will have at least one year of college paid for but we make them aware already that one to play soccer they have to understand alot of college money is going to this and 2 we keep them informed as to what will be available for them so they can start working toward other sources as well. Though there very good in there sport we dont want them to assume or even ourselves that they will get sport scholorships because kids change and the worry of Injuries. Has to be about the grades first and becoming responsible young people. We feel comfortable with the fact that we are doing what we can and they will have responsibilities as well. Were not going to give up our retirement for something they should have some responsibility in. At the end of the day they still will have it better than so many others.  This is another one of those pressures from society that depending where you live its like a contest as to what your doing for your kid.  We love ours and the know it thats the most important thing in my honest opinion.

DB

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Re: College
« Reply #35 on: January 29, 2014, 03:39:48 PM »
I'm surprised most folks are talking about state schools as the main "cheap" options for their kids... only a few mentioned community colleges, what gives? Doing the first two years at a community college to get freshman and sophomore required classes out of the way, then transferring to a state school = the CHEAPEST way to go by far.

My experience was going to an expensive private school for two years, got a fair amount of aid, didn't know what I wanted to do, floundered around for a while, moved back home when I realized that on track to graduate with crappy grades and no real idea of what major I wanted. Luckily only 10K debt from that experiment, could have been worse.

10 years later I was older, smarter, and ready to go back to school - went to a community college while working and got a 4.0, transferred to a great state school, graduated, got a great job, now I'm making 75K a year (more than I ever thought I'd make after working in coffee shops for 10 yrs)! I'm so happy and I wish I had gone this route the first time around.

I feel like, at 18 yrs old, most kids are trying to figure out what they want to do. It seems really expensive to conduct such experiments at even the state school level when much cheaper classes can be tried out at the community college level. Also, I want to help my kids some, but not much. That's what I got when I went to college. My husband doesn't want to give them any money, helping them try to pick the cheapest options and letting them take the loans. That's what he got from his parents.


Here's my question: do most parents plan on 4yr colleges because they want their kids to have a "college experience" for the first 2 years (like they did)? Or are the kids unwilling to choose community college most of the time? I'm genuinely curious... it's a long way off for me (pregnant now!) but I love to think about these things as early as possible.

MrsPete

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Re: College
« Reply #36 on: January 29, 2014, 04:06:33 PM »
I'm surprised most folks are talking about state schools as the main "cheap" options for their kids... only a few mentioned community colleges, what gives? 
Thing is, kids are complicated, and there's no one blanket statement about what's best. 

Our oldest went straight to a 4-year university.  She has known since she was very small that she was very attracted to the medical field, and in high school we pushed her towards experiences to verify that her perceptions were realistic (and they were).  Going straight into a university provides her with the best opportunities for the things she wants to do, it's what she wants, and it's in our budget.  She's doing exceptionally well, and I think we helped her to make great choices.

Our youngest is less sure of what she wants, and she lacks somewhat in confidence.  She is, at this point, considering all her options, and one of those is community college -- she's just as smart as her sister, but she isn't sure at all that she's ready to go out into the big, bad world just yet.  We have several college visits lined up over the next few months (including one to a community college), and -- like her older sister -- we're encouraging her towards experiences to help her "test" out the things that interest her for a career, though she isn't as certain as her sister was.  Because she's waivering between the choice of a 2-year or a 4-year school, we are also investigating the transfer programs at the 4-year schools.  I am sure that she's the student who, if she transfers, would benefit from some support in making the switch between schools.  I know that her sister's college, for example, has a dorm floor where they house all the transfer students together, and I'm thinking that would be good -- you know, being placed with other students who are more like 19-20 instead of straight out of high school. 

Finally, community college doesn't always mean 2 years of community college + 2 years of university = degree.  My husband, for example, started at community college, then needed 3 years of university to complete his 4-year degree.  Things don't always transfer nicely.  You can "up your odds" by keeping contact with the school you eventually plan to attend, but IF they change the requirements, well, you're screwed.  This could still be the best option, but don't assume that graduation in 4 years is a given. 

Okay, I said finally, but I realize I have more to say . . . things in the world of education are changing rapidly these days, and it's impossible to say what'll be available for your as-yet unborn baby.  One thing that's popping up in many high schools is an "Early College option".  This means that the students are enrolled in high school for 4 years . . . but they leave with a high school diploma AND an Associate's degree.  It essentially means they've taken their basic English 101, Math 101, etc. and are ready to head into a university as a junior.  However, in my area they only take 50 kids per year, and preference goes to kids whose parents are not college grads.  Also, these kids don't get to choose any electives -- so my oldest would've missed out on the Health Occupations class that allowed her to spend 50% of her school day as a senior in the hospital, and both of my girls would've missed out on some fun things like art, which they really enjoyed.  My oldest wouldn't have earned a CNA, which is providing her with a good part-time job during college, and she wouldn't have the certainty that she's in the right major.  And they don't have the chance to take part in school sports and other social events.  My friend whose daughter just graduated from this program last year DID enter college as a junior . . . but she's mapped out her coursework, and she will need three years of university to finish her degree.  I'm not entirely sold on this program, and I don't think you should choose this based solely upon financial reasons.  The student for whom it's a good fit is the kid who is academically capable but doesn't value the high school social scene.  It would be a nightmare for the kids who hope to win a sports scholarship, or for the kids whose life IS band or theater. 

The opportunity for AP classes and early college classes has blossomed through the fairly new Virtual Public Schools system; and many high school students take part in dual-enrollment programs, which means they might take math and history at the high school 1st and 2nd period, then travel to the community college in the afternoon to take college courses.  My youngest is going to do this next year, and it's a great deal -- she'll probably take 4 community college classes next year when she's a senior, and because she's doing it "though the high school" we won't pay a penny for tuition or books. 

So, in closing for real, I have two big points:

- What works for one child may not work for another.  Every child needs and deserves his parents' time in helping him work through the options available for his specific needs and opportunities. 
- College options are changing.  When the time comes for your child, what I've just said about my children may not be relevant in the least. 

galliver

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Re: College
« Reply #37 on: January 29, 2014, 06:18:36 PM »
I think the first year or two of college is important for the connections you can make, that make the last two years go as they do...it's not all about classes. I don't mean partying, either. A friend from my dorm floor recommended me for a tutoring job. Another dragged me to my first career fair. We read each other's resumes and grad school application essays. My classmates now work for major tech companies across the map... it's a valuable social-professional network. Is that worth the tuition difference? Probably depends on the situation.

Michread

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Re: College
« Reply #38 on: January 30, 2014, 10:30:24 AM »
I'm surprised most folks are talking about state schools as the main "cheap" options for their kids... only a few mentioned community colleges, what gives? Doing the first two years at a community college to get freshman and sophomore required classes out of the way, then transferring to a state school = the CHEAPEST way to go by far.



Here's my question: do most parents plan on 4yr colleges because they want their kids to have a "college experience" for the first 2 years (like they did)? Or are the kids unwilling to choose community college most of the time? I'm genuinely curious... it's a long way off for me (pregnant now!) but I love to think about these things as early as possible.

This is nice, but doesn't always work.  It would not work for my son's major.  Major classes are cumulative and must be taken at his college so a transfer student would not be able to complete the degree in 4 yrs (not even an internal transfer).  It's the same for many degrees.   
« Last Edit: February 02, 2014, 08:32:52 AM by Michread »

wordygirl

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Re: College
« Reply #39 on: February 16, 2014, 08:51:18 PM »
After spending almost 12 years at University, coming away with 3 degrees, I've come to the conclusion that, for most people, it's a waste of time and money.

Don't get me wrong, I loved my time at university. I loved the work I did there as a grad student (I was in research). And I loved my career (before I left it to be a stay home mum).

But I taught for a while and saw that the 'new' generation of students weren't the same. We went because we wanted to be there, not because we wanted a job. Nowadays every Tom, Dick, and Sally is told their kids need to go to college or they will be FAILURES. Most kids in the classes I taught didn't seem to know why there were there, other than it was expected of them. Their hearts clearly weren't in it. All they cared about was knowing what would be on the test. It was truly tragic.

To top it off, with so many kids graduating with degrees they are becoming diluted to the point where they are more or less worthless.

I still think there is value in a university education, but I don't think every kid should go there, and I don't think it should be considered a means to a job.

And I definitely don't think I should be pushed, pressured, and suckered into believing that this is the only route to success for kids and therefore I am irresponsible if they don't have college funds.

soccerluvof4

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Re: College
« Reply #40 on: March 03, 2014, 10:23:43 AM »
After spending almost 12 years at University, coming away with 3 degrees, I've come to the conclusion that, for most people, it's a waste of time and money.

Don't get me wrong, I loved my time at university. I loved the work I did there as a grad student (I was in research). And I loved my career (before I left it to be a stay home mum).

But I taught for a while and saw that the 'new' generation of students weren't the same. We went because we wanted to be there, not because we wanted a job. Nowadays every Tom, Dick, and Sally is told their kids need to go to college or they will be FAILURES. Most kids in the classes I taught didn't seem to know why there were there, other than it was expected of them. Their hearts clearly weren't in it. All they cared about was knowing what would be on the test. It was truly tragic.

To top it off, with so many kids graduating with degrees they are becoming diluted to the point where they are more or less worthless.

I still think there is value in a university education, but I don't think every kid should go there, and I don't think it should be considered a means to a job.

And I definitely don't think I should be pushed, pressured, and suckered into believing that this is the only route to success for kids and therefore I am irresponsible if they don't have college funds.


Thats depressing... :-(  But i can believe it.  Where I live everything on the kids is College College etc... I never went to College and was i guess by many peoples standards successful but I always felt I had a hole to be filled and or wasnt as smart as those that did go. As i got older and i hired 1,000's of people especially the last ten years I found that kids coming out of college these days felt they were entitled and were laze so its not mandatory when we hire anymore. As you said I still think its important and I want my kids to go for sure BUT THAT BETTER DAMN SURE APPRECIATE IT! and know why they are there.  But there is more and more cases being made about the high paying jobs will be back in the Tech positions because everyone is going to College.  Think the best is Book smarts/street smarts. Alot of intellectual idiots out there.

grantmeaname

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Re: College
« Reply #41 on: March 03, 2014, 10:53:21 AM »
Young people are really bad and I'm so glad that literally every member of my generation is way better than those entitled, lazy jerks.

Undecided

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Re: College
« Reply #42 on: March 03, 2014, 01:29:27 PM »

But I taught for a while and saw that the 'new' generation of students weren't the same. We went because we wanted to be there, not because we wanted a job.

To top it off, with so many kids graduating with degrees they are becoming diluted to the point where they are more or less worthless.


How long was there between when you left school and when you taught?

Regarding the second point, one doesn't obtain a generic "degree," so I'm not sure what to make of that. I've not doubt that there are many degrees that are "more or less worthless," but I don't think that's really impacted the value of the good ones.

mm1970

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Re: College
« Reply #43 on: March 09, 2014, 12:20:19 PM »
Well, hubby and I got through school on ROTC.  I worked and borrowed and got scholarships for the room/board.  My husband's parents covered room/board.  But my hubby was middle class and I was very poor, hence the additional scholarships.  We were both #1 in our high school classes, so the extra aid was partially need based and partially merit based.

But we have, and earn, a lot more money.  I have friends who paid their own way and insist their kids will too - but they also make WAY more money than their parents did.  From what I hear, merit scholarships are harder to come by nowadays.

We are trying to save in our 529 enough for a state school (hubby went Ivy, I went private Ivy-like cost).  But we are both engineers. I picked engineering because I liked it and I knew it paid well (as opposed to history which I also enjoyed but didn't see the payoff).  I am lucky in that way - my parents did not go to college and they couldn't guide me.

I think part of the problem with the "glut" of college degrees comes from parents not guiding their children.  On one  hand, parents who didn't go to college think college is the key to a better life, and nobody has done the research of cost of the degree vs. average starting salary.  On the other hand, parents who DID go to college might have more experience with it, but don't realize that times have changed - you know a business degree or a history degree in the 70's or 80's could get you a better position than one now because fewer people went that far.

In my family, we were taught to be practical.  Most of my siblings didn't go to college.  They got jobs.  My brother went to truck driving school several years after he got out of the military.  My older sisters worked first and then went to school, or went nights when their companies paid for it.  One majored in accounting and the other business.

When it comes to paying, I think it's important to balance the overall costs with what you have saved and what your major is going to be.  And what your kid's goals are.  I signed WAY too many loan papers without even doing the math.  I expect to run the numbers with my kids. I expect them to earn good grades, work part time in school, and work the summers to save.  I expect them to figure out what they want to be and consider that also.  And it's perfectly okay to wait - there is nothing wrong with the military option either.

kkbmustang

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Re: College
« Reply #44 on: March 14, 2014, 11:03:11 PM »
Both my husband and I were fortunate to have parents that paid for our undergrad. My parents sat me down my junior year and told me they would not be able to pay for law school, which I was totally fine with and wasn't expecting anyway.

We are also fortunate that our kids grandparents (my in-laws) have prepaid the equivalent of 4 years of in-state public college tuition for them. We also have 529 plans we are funding, but at very low levels. We are currently paying for a private, religion based elementary/middle school for them. If college wasn't covered as it is, I'm not sure that we'd choose to pay for the private school now. 

At 9 and 11, they've already been subjected to the scholarship discussion. We are prepared to pick up the slack for what isn't covered if they choose to attend a private university (like our alma mater) but we have chosen not to share this with them in the event that our circumstances change.

William

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Re: College
« Reply #45 on: March 20, 2014, 02:40:25 PM »
Having graduated college just a few years ago, here's what I wish my parents had done for me:

1. Be upfront about what they are willing to pay
2. Not pressure me to go to a private school

Briansmama

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Re: College
« Reply #46 on: March 20, 2014, 02:58:18 PM »
There are so many options that help keep college costs down if we are willing to be flexible. I've found that many parents aren't willing to be flexible though, and I don't understand why? Kids can take local community college classes that count for high school and college credit, giving them low-cost (and no cost in many instances) Associate's degrees by the time they graduate high school. Then, they can transfer to a 4-year school. So, even if that ends up being a top-tier pricey school, parents are only looking at paying the last 2 years (unless they want to finance grad school too).

There are also strong arguments that our current college system is unsustainable. With grads suing  schools because they can't find jobs with their pricey new degrees and online Ed making university learning available to virtually everyone, a college degree may not be worth much in a decade. Trend-spotters are claiming that only highly specialized degrees from top schools (as in 10) will be of any value. Most economists agree that we are experiencing an educational "bubble."

That said, if our children want to go to college we want to help them avoid debt. But, that's going to depend on what choices they make. We will offer reasonable options (live at home while attending college, work part-time, attend in-state, start at the local CC and transfer) and if they choose to do something different, they will need to figure out how to pay for it.

galliver

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Re: College
« Reply #47 on: March 20, 2014, 04:18:22 PM »
There are so many options that help keep college costs down if we are willing to be flexible. I've found that many parents aren't willing to be flexible though, and I don't understand why? Kids can take local community college classes that count for high school and college credit, giving them low-cost (and no cost in many instances) Associate's degrees by the time they graduate high school. Then, they can transfer to a 4-year school. So, even if that ends up being a top-tier pricey school, parents are only looking at paying the last 2 years (unless they want to finance grad school too).

There are also strong arguments that our current college system is unsustainable. With grads suing  schools because they can't find jobs with their pricey new degrees and online Ed making university learning available to virtually everyone, a college degree may not be worth much in a decade. Trend-spotters are claiming that only highly specialized degrees from top schools (as in 10) will be of any value. Most economists agree that we are experiencing an educational "bubble."

That said, if our children want to go to college we want to help them avoid debt. But, that's going to depend on what choices they make. We will offer reasonable options (live at home while attending college, work part-time, attend in-state, start at the local CC and transfer) and if they choose to do something different, they will need to figure out how to pay for it.

I may be biased since I aspire to become a professor, but I disagree that all education can be replaced with online courses. Easy examples: science labs or studio courses. I think it's also difficult to hold a solid discussion or debate in an online format. It is not absolute. I agree with you that the traditional college lecture-homework-paper-exam format is unsustainable. But there is a huge push toward various new concepts in teaching that are hands-on, inquiry-based, project-based, flipped classroom, etc. What I would like to see going forward is "traditional" programs integrating online resources and focusing on offering more of the hands-on experiences to students. Some of which should be through paid co-ops and internships (which would require strong bonds between higher education and businesses). I definitely want to see schools taking more responsibility (as in, mindfulness and concern for) for student debt.

grantmeaname

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Re: College
« Reply #48 on: March 21, 2014, 11:42:56 AM »
There are so many options that help keep college costs down if we are willing to be flexible. I've found that many parents aren't willing to be flexible though, and I don't understand why? Kids can take local community college classes that count for high school and college credit, giving them low-cost (and no cost in many instances) Associate's degrees by the time they graduate high school. Then, they can transfer to a 4-year school. So, even if that ends up being a top-tier pricey school, parents are only looking at paying the last 2 years (unless they want to finance grad school too).
Most post-secondary programs are not suitable for many or most students, so that's hardly a generalizable option. And to a large extent you get what you pay for if you're substituting community college for university itself - do you really think that the place to solidify your work ethic is around students with a 10-12% graduation rate and teachers who teach down to the lowest common denominator, in departments with few or no electives and faculty that do literally no research? That doesn't sound like a university education to me.

Quote
There are also strong arguments that our current college system is unsustainable. With grads suing  schools because they can't find jobs with their pricey new degrees and online Ed making university learning available to virtually everyone, a college degree may not be worth much in a decade. Trend-spotters are claiming that only highly specialized degrees from top schools (as in 10) will be of any value. Most economists agree that we are experiencing an educational "bubble."
Schools have no legal duty to find students jobs. MOOCs provide information cheaply or freely to students but their students do a very poor job of staying committed to the course on average and the learning outcomes themselves are poor. And as for what most economists agree on: it's nothing. Most economists agree on nothing. I've never even seen a single serious argument made by an academic economist that higher education resembles an irrational asset bubble.

Briansmama

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Re: College
« Reply #49 on: March 21, 2014, 03:34:06 PM »
There are so many options that help keep college costs down if we are willing to be flexible. I've found that many parents aren't willing to be flexible though, and I don't understand why? Kids can take local community college classes that count for high school and college credit, giving them low-cost (and no cost in many instances) Associate's degrees by the time they graduate high school. Then, they can transfer to a 4-year school. So, even if that ends up being a top-tier pricey school, parents are only looking at paying the last 2 years (unless they want to finance grad school too).

There are also strong arguments that our current college system is unsustainable. With grads suing  schools because they can't find jobs with their pricey new degrees and online Ed making university learning available to virtually everyone, a college degree may not be worth much in a decade. Trend-spotters are claiming that only highly specialized degrees from top schools (as in 10) will be of any value. Most economists agree that we are experiencing an educational "bubble."

That said, if our children want to go to college we want to help them avoid debt. But, that's going to depend on what choices they make. We will offer reasonable options (live at home while attending college, work part-time, attend in-state, start at the local CC and transfer) and if they choose to do something different, they will need to figure out how to pay for it.

I may be biased since I aspire to become a professor, but I disagree that all education can be replaced with online courses. Easy examples: science labs or studio courses. I think it's also difficult to hold a solid discussion or debate in an online format. It is not absolute. I agree with you that the traditional college lecture-homework-paper-exam format is unsustainable. But there is a huge push toward various new concepts in teaching that are hands-on, inquiry-based, project-based, flipped classroom, etc. What I would like to see going forward is "traditional" programs integrating online resources and focusing on offering more of the hands-on experiences to students. Some of which should be through paid co-ops and internships (which would require strong bonds between higher education and businesses). I definitely want to see schools taking more responsibility (as in, mindfulness and concern for) for student debt.

Science labs exist at the CC level too. As for grad degrees in science, it looks like that market is become saturated too:
http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_magazine/previous_issues/articles/2012_07_06/caredit.a1200075

One of my favorite trendspotters is Penelope Trunk. She's been mentioned on these forums before for her very anti-mustachian financial posts, but she is a highly successful career coach and discusses the dismal outlook for all but the top 10 colleges:
http://education.penelopetrunk.com/2013/02/26/five-ways-to-tell-if-your-kid-should-go-to-college/