Author Topic: Kids and College-Will you pay?  (Read 37557 times)

Melissa

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Kids and College-Will you pay?
« on: February 20, 2012, 12:06:00 PM »
We have three children (12, 11, and 9).

Our oldest will be in high school next year and now is time to be thinking ahead.  We have plans to 'retire' in 9 years.  I think it can be done sooner, but if all the kids wind up going to college that could hamper things a bit. 

What are others planning on doing?

On a side note, I am 37 and will be graduating as a  Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) in June.  We figured my salary would take care of all the college expenses since we have been living on one salary since the children were born.

arebelspy

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2012, 01:29:50 PM »
Honestly, speaking as someone not too far out from college, I think an individual paying for at least part of it themselves tend to take it more seriously and get more out of it.

I knew lots of people whose parents were paying for the whole thing.  Think they felt bad skipping classes, not working hard, etc.?

Whereas if a student needs to have a job to pay some expenses, or take out loans, or whatever, they will be more invested in their own education.

While that generalization won't be universally true for everyone, I feel that it holds more often than not.

We plan to contribute some to their college, but under 50%. We plan to help them look for scholarships and such, but if they have to get some student loans, that is okay.  I don't feel like it's too big of a burden to start out with some student loans, especially if they have been taught frugality, so they have no other debt (credit cards, car loans, etc).

Even if I did decide they shouldn't have to have any student loans, I'd probably not tell them, let them get loans (subsidized, so no interest), then pay them off when they graduate.  Then they have the feeling / pressure of having "skin in the game."

I don't think I'd do that though, I think it really hurts the child.

Read The Millionaire Next Door.  The most enlightening part for me was parents who gifted money to their children versus didn't.  The kids who weren't helped ended up being much more successful, even though initially "burdened" with debt.

That part really stuck with me, and so I plan to financially help out my children as little as possible.  Emotionally, mentally, physically, etc. I want to help make them the most prepared, best they can be.  And I think the way to do that is by not helping them financially.  Overcoming tough times makes someone successful.  Handing them things doesn't.

Just my opinion, no offense intended towards anyone who thinks or does differently.  :)
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AJ

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2012, 01:41:27 PM »
Honestly, speaking as someone not too far out from college, I think an individual paying for at least part of it themselves tend to take it more seriously and get more out of it.

I knew lots of people whose parents were paying for the whole thing.  Think they felt bad skipping classes, not working hard, etc.?

I kinda think the opposite is true. My parents couldn't afford to help pay my college at all, but if they had I would have felt a huge burden to do well. Since I was paying for it myself, I felt more like a customer. If I wanted to skip class or skate by with a C, it was no one's business but mine because I was paying for it.

On the flip side, I was probably more inclined to buy used books and supplies than I would have been if my parents paid for it. Also, I felt more freedom to choose my classes and major. If they had been footing the bill, I would have felt obligated to study what they wanted me to (law).

arebelspy

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2012, 02:25:04 PM »
Honestly, speaking as someone not too far out from college, I think an individual paying for at least part of it themselves tend to take it more seriously and get more out of it.

I knew lots of people whose parents were paying for the whole thing.  Think they felt bad skipping classes, not working hard, etc.?

I kinda think the opposite is true. My parents couldn't afford to help pay my college at all, but if they had I would have felt a huge burden to do well. Since I was paying for it myself, I felt more like a customer. If I wanted to skip class or skate by with a C, it was no one's business but mine because I was paying for it.

On the flip side, I was probably more inclined to buy used books and supplies than I would have been if my parents paid for it. Also, I felt more freedom to choose my classes and major. If they had been footing the bill, I would have felt obligated to study what they wanted me to (law).

You are likely much more self motivated than the typical individual who is spoiled by parents and has everything paid for them.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
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rjack

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2012, 02:32:05 PM »
I have two sons in college (a senior and a freshman) and I'm paying.

I told them when they were both freshman in high school that I would give each enough money ($100K each) to go to a state university. I also told them that if they spent more than that they would have to pay through loans, work, etc. Then I told them if they spent less than that, then they would get to keep any money left over.

The result is that both of them did very well in high school and took entered college with about a semester's worth of AP credits. Both have academic scholarships and the senior will be getting an honors degree in biochemistry with 3.8+ GPA.

I admit that I felt obligated to pay because my father paid for my education. However, I think it has turned out well so far.

Tim

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2012, 03:09:47 PM »
My daughter is a whopping three weeks old but this is something that is already on my mind. We're just waiting for her SIN number to open an investment account for her.

I'm hopeful that being frugal from the start and learning to appreciate what you have at a young age will curb wasteful behaviour. I like the idea of letting her know what's available and if she goes over, she has to pay. If there's leftover, it's hers.

I'll let you guys know in 18 years how it turned out.

JR

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2012, 09:15:42 PM »
Me and my wife have discussed this and decided that we will provide free room and board (at our home, not on campus) but our future child will be working full time and paying cash for the tuition portion.  I was not ready for college when I graduated high school but by the time I started at age 23 I had worked at three companies that had 100% reimbursement programs.   I do not think very many people take advantage of these programs because I do not know any coworkers that are using the tuition reimbursement program at my current employer.

MEJG

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2012, 05:54:08 AM »
MiniMEJG is not quite two, and MR. MEJG and I have talked alot about this, though we haven't come to any clear conclusions.

We are leaning towards paying for tuition room and board and making our children responsible for any books/sports/travel/fees etc, and only for undergrad not for graduate school.  Our parents did this for us and we feel that we were well prepared and took college seriously. 

Our financial point of view was influenced by how our parents handled their money and made us handle our money prior to college.  They did it in different ways and the outcomes were a bit different but we both are very grateful for their generosity and did not take advantage of the situation.

However,  we're not sure that we'll be able to do that with a current projections, and the fact that we want more children.  We have to weight up working longer vs. retiring and being able to spend more quality time with our kids vs. college costs.  We're not there yet and we'll keep re-evaluating until we get there.  I suspect we'll sit down with each child when they get to high school and explain our plans like Rjack did.  So everyone is clear on their roles to play in the situation. 

If we can't pay for everything we'll be giving each child a set amount to run through (80k or 100k, an amount to be determined) with any left overs going to them. 

kolorado

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2012, 06:03:46 AM »
We plan to pay for two years of community college. It's about the same expense as homeschooling/extracurricular programs so it won't hurt us financially. In those two years they could prep for university or complete a lesser degree or trade training. If they want to go on they'll need scholarships, loans or to work through their education. I do expect them to work part-time(16-24 hours) during their community college years. And I expect them to contribute at home in chores if they live at home. Most kids are staying at home until 22-24 now so I'm planning on that.
My husband and I have some college and are lowish income. We don't feel that is a handicap if you practice good money management and are happy with your work and life situation.
My FIL made really excellent money working for the SSA but he griped every day about going to work and how stressful it was there. My hubby works in manufacturing but he has a smile on his face when he leaves in the morning and when he comes home at night.
Emotional health is more important than more money.
I hope our kids learn that from us.

Danielle

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2012, 07:49:17 AM »
Speaking from the vantage point of a "kid" who had her parents pay for college, I think it really depends on their personality and financial perspective.  Growing up, I had little to no idea how my parents managed their finances, but I got all kinds of subliminal messages from my mother as she helped me manage my credit card and stressed the importance of running a tight ship.  My parents paid for 4 years of in-state public college, so although it wasn't "my" money, I still felt the pull to do well in school knowing my parent's "investment" in my education.  Yes, I partied a bit, and got a C in Anthro, but my parents trusted me to do well.  And I did.  I'm also bookwormy by nature though, so I'm sure that knowing my eagerness to learn helped them feel better about my study efforts.

It was a different financial story when I decided to go to grad school, though.  I chose an out-of-state public school which cost $10k a semester.  My parents gave me financial advice (to use funds they had invested for me earlier, even though I wanted to put it towards a downpayment on a house down the road), and also agreed to loan me money directly even though I had started to read up on loans and filled out the FAFSA.  So now I have $30K in "student loans" to my parents, and feel just as nervous about that as I would if I was in debt to banks/etc.  I've been throwing at least $1k a month at it since starting my new job, so I'm trying to be done with it in two years so the guilt is off my chest.  My parents aren't charging me interest, but I'm giving back an extra 3%.

I'm sure this approach isn't going to work with everyone - I did turn out to be a Mustachian-In-Training, after all.  Just wanted to share my experience to say that it's possible to pay for some school or set up a personal loan for your kids and still have them turn out 'stache-minded (and dedicated to paying you back!).

Freedom2016

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2012, 03:26:25 PM »
This is a timely question, as my husband and I are expecting our first bambino (due in two months). We're not yet on the same page so I'm not sure where we'll land. My H's perspective is that his parents paid for his undergrad (private liberal arts school in New England), so he graduated with no debt. He wants to pay it forward to our kids. My parents also paid for my undergrad (MIT) though unbeknownst to me they took out a crapload of student loans on my behalf to make it happen. Not sure how much I set back their own retirement plans but they never once gave me a hard time about it.

While some part of me "gets" the pay-it-forward philosophy, a much larger part of me feels like a better idea would be to bankroll part or most of an undergrad education, but not all of it. We do plan to open a 529 plan shortly after bambino arrives, though we may start with minimal contributions while we work to pay off my remaining student loans from grad school. I've also read some interesting ideas from other frugality blogs where parents deposit some portion of every cash gift their kid receives into a savings/investment account that the kid can access upon HS graduation - this would create a nice 2nd source of income for higher ed.

More generally, I like the idea of telling kids early that they'll have $X to work with, and they are responsible for covering any costs above, but they get the excess if they stay below it.

The trick will be convincing my husband of any of these ideas.

Erik Y

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2012, 04:03:25 PM »
We've got six kids ages 4 to 18.  The oldest will be finishing up his AA at the local community college in May.  Our commitment is to pay for two years of community college and provide room and board (at home) during that time and the time it takes to complete a bachelor's degree for each of our kids.  The kids will have to find the money for anything else themselves, although I am strongly discouraging any student loan debt and will not cosign for any if it is asked.  The two year degree-then transfer to a university is one of the best deals around in my opinion.  In our area the community colleges only cost $26 per credit and offer a wide array of study options as well as easy transfer to the UC or Cal State colleges.  We home educated our oldest and most of his high school course work was completed at the community college requiring only one more year after finishing high school to get his AA due to all of the credits already earned.  As a side bonus, in our area high school students may take classes at the CC for no charge. 

Mrs MM

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2012, 10:26:29 AM »
Honestly, speaking as someone not too far out from college, I think an individual paying for at least part of it themselves tend to take it more seriously and get more out of it.

I knew lots of people whose parents were paying for the whole thing.  Think they felt bad skipping classes, not working hard, etc.?

I kinda think the opposite is true. My parents couldn't afford to help pay my college at all, but if they had I would have felt a huge burden to do well. Since I was paying for it myself, I felt more like a customer. If I wanted to skip class or skate by with a C, it was no one's business but mine because I was paying for it.

On the flip side, I was probably more inclined to buy used books and supplies than I would have been if my parents paid for it. Also, I felt more freedom to choose my classes and major. If they had been footing the bill, I would have felt obligated to study what they wanted me to (law).

You are likely much more self motivated than the typical individual who is spoiled by parents and has everything paid for them.

This is interesting.  It probably depends on the child's personality.  My brother and I grew up in the same house and we have very different money personalities.  He's a spender (to the extreme, although he's a lot better now that he has a family) and I'm a saver.  He always took advantage of any money my parents gave him, where as I tried to make it on my own and earn my own keep since I felt more independent that way.

My first year of University was free because my mom worked at the University as a social worker.  That year I flunked out of school.  It may have to do with the fact that neither my parents or me were paying, but it also might have to do with the fact that it was my first year away from home and my straight-A student personality needed to crack at some point.

Anyway, this was actually a good thing as it led to some thinking about what I REALLY wanted to do.  One thing that came from all this is that I will not push my child to go to University or to major in a particular topic (I was pushed into science from an early time and just assumed that's what I would do).  So, I did a year part-time and had to pay for it on my own.  Then, when I decided on my degree, I worked really hard to get into a co-op program so that I could afford to pay for my tuition.  The co-op program (work 4 months, go to school 4 months) was awesome and helped me gain tons of real-life experience and enough money to pay for my education.  After that, I worked really hard because I was paying for my own tuition.  I think it makes a big difference if you pay for it yourself.

I think that when the time comes, we'll play it by ear.  If our child wants to go to college (who knows, he may take a different path -- play in a band, become an artist, there are lots of options) then we'll see what he's interested in and make some decisions based on the cost.  I would even suggest taking a year off between high school and college to figure things out.

But, he will definitely need to earn some of this himself and we'd be willing to help him earn that money.  Maybe it means that he works with MMM on some construction projects every summer to save money.  Maybe he finds his own work.  But, I think that working while you're young is an awesome experience that many kids seem to be missing out on these days.

I imagine we'll start having these conversations the first year of high school.  I find that with parenting, you have to go with the flow and see how things are when you get there.  It's hard for me to plan these things in advance without knowing what my future son will be like.  :)

vwDavid

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2012, 10:21:58 AM »
My University education was mostly gifted by my grandparents through an education savings program where if I enrolled in the full time course load most of the costs were paid by the institution and there were some left-overs to pay for away from home living expenses.

I don't know what my parents did right, but I took classes seriously, felt guilty about skipping (almost never), I excelled, joined the co-op program, earned extra money to pay for my own extra living expenses.

My allowance was paid by grandparents commencing on my first 'teen' birthday and was money to be saved for what I wanted. I had to clean bathrooms as my chore and wasn't linked to allowance.

Each personality is so different its hard to predict the best way to teach work ethic and dollar values.


arebelspy

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2012, 11:00:24 AM »
Each personality is so different its hard to predict the best way to teach work ethic and dollar values.

This is true, and completely how I felt until I read The Millionaire Next Door.

Check it out from your local library, and just jump to the chapter (near the end) on gifting money to your kids.  It's probably only 20 pages, will take you 30-60 minutes to read it.  In fact, you don't even have to check out the book then, just grab it off the shelf and read that one section and put it back.

Although you feel your child is different and special, and every child is, statistically, your child will be much more successful if you don't monetarily help them when they are struggling.

It was by far the most eye-opening part of the book for me.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
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vwDavid

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2012, 01:04:22 PM »
Sounds like a good book either way- added to the reading list....

Aloysius_Poutine

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #16 on: February 29, 2012, 03:22:01 PM »
My first baby is due June 18. Here in Canada you get (at least) $100/month per child from the government. If you put that into an RESP (education savings/investment vehicle), the government will also match at least 20% of your annual contribution. Add in a 4% annual return-- reinvested-- and you're sitting on a hefty sum after 18 years. More than enough to pay 4 years of Canadian university tuition.
tl;dr- the government's gonna pay for my kids' education.

upnorth

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2012, 02:14:45 PM »
I have one kid who is 3.  I started a 529 plan for her as soon as I got back from the hospital.  I plan on paying for tuition at a state school, assuming she is a good student.  I expect her to contribute some money as well.  I don't like debt, so why would I want her to start out her life in debt?

mm1970

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2012, 08:31:52 PM »
Probably.  I paid my own way through scholarships, grants, loans, jobs, and the US Navy.  But I was poor and got a lot of financial aid.  My kid(s) won't be so lucky.  So we are saving for a 529 plan.

However, I do expect him/them to work to pay for some of their own expenses.  Travel, books, fees.

It will depend entirely on their readiness and attitude also.  If they are boring studious engineering types like their parents, then yeah, no problem.  If they are partiers, maybe not so much. 

Bethany J

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2012, 05:56:52 PM »
My kids don't know yet (ages 6 & 8) that their grandpa set up accounts for each of them when they were born. He has and continues to put $100 a week into each of their accounts. They should each have around $100k for college. Depending on the school, that probably won't be enough to pay for 4 years each. We are hoping for some scholarship and/or financial aid, but regardless we will cover the rest. My husband and I have never had student loan debt and would like to have our kids have the same start in life.

All of the above assumes that our kids want to attend a 4 year university and are doing what they need to be doing at that age. All of the money is in my name, so if they aren't on the right path, they aren't getting the money from me.

shedinator

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2012, 06:52:58 PM »
We want to pay for ours. We also want to teach him (or them) to be frugal and moneywise. Chances are, by the time my son is ready for college, I'll be teaching in a higher education institution. We plan to offer him the option of attending where I teach (or any sister institutions), or the local state school. If he wants to attend somewhere else, he'll have to make up the difference in scholarships, and we'll expect him to work at least part time to cover the extra costs.

sol

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2012, 09:23:42 PM »
All of the money is in my name, so if they aren't on the right path, they aren't getting the money from me.

If you expect your generous father to live long enough to see your kids through college, you might consider leaving the money is his name, rather than your or your kids'.

The reason is that schools calculate financial aid eligibility based upon ownership of the asset.  So anything in the kid's name they assume is like 35% available* per year to pay for school.  Anything in the parent's name is like 6% available per year.  But anything in a grandparent's name isn't available at all, which increases your eligibility for need-based financial aid.

This might be a moot point if you're planning on paying for college 100% out of pocket, or will have a sky high income that they will take 25% of per year to cover full school costs.  But if you have a choice between your name and Grandpa's name, Grandpa is a better deal.  Just be sure to have a solid will so that the account reverts 100% to you if he happens to get hit by a car before your kid finishes college.

Sadly, the 6% per year rule for parental assets is a killer.  This means that if you're putting two kids through college at four years each, the school will ask for 48% of your total assets before offering any financial aid.  At some schools, that includes your retirement accounts and home equity, so it can really wipe you out if you're near retirement and your kid goes to an expensive private college and doesn't get merit scholarships.

The moral of the story:  make sure your kids get merit scholarships.

* all numbers quoted here are from my own internet research.  I'm not a financial aid officer and rules change all the time. 

Bethany J

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #22 on: April 04, 2012, 05:40:41 AM »
Thanks for the info Sol! I will talk to my Dad about switching things into his name. I knew that having it in the kids names would hurt their chances for financial aid more than in my name, but guess I didn't think about just having him keep the $. He can be a little TOO generous, I have been worried he might just give them the money one day, so part of me liked having some control over it.

igthebold

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2012, 11:58:57 AM »
I personally like the idea of "Seed Money." Instead of paying for college, I'm planning to give my kids a chunk of change and tell them they can do what they like with it. Of course, I'll be educating them along the way, but they could start a business, pay for college, spend it foolishly, whatever.

Also, I second the recommendation to read, "The Millionaire Next Door."

Jimmy

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #24 on: May 01, 2012, 12:04:24 PM »
My kids are 3 and 1, I'm contributing $300 a month for the both of them in a 529 plan.  If they decide to go to an expensive college then they will have to make up the difference.

Start saving early will make a huge differences if you decide to pay for your kids college.

gooki

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #25 on: May 04, 2012, 04:26:37 AM »
My thoughts.

Like many both my wife an I wasted our first year at University. As did 80% of my friends. Based on those statistics I won't be overly encouraging tertiary education right after college for my children. And I most definitely won't be pushing them into particular fields of study.

What contributed to me wasting my first year was simply having it to easy. Sure I lived in a dump (actually it was a shed). But I had more spending money per week back then than I do how (student loan, allowance from parents, part time job all added up to a lot of disposable income).

I also don't believe in contributing up front is all that successful. I like the idea of paying off all their student loans once they graduate. But think at that age it's important for them to earn their own way, value every dollar they get, and value their time both at University and away from it.

The idea of not helping when your children are struggling financially does work. For myself, in my second year of study (after my first wasted year), I refused to accept any money from my parents. I didn't want the burden of the pressure of pleasing my parents, I wanted to do something for myself. This motivated me a whole lot more work hard, and made me a little wiser financially.

I saw the same effect in my older brother. His tertiary education was a mess (quite a surprise for someone who was a top achiever at high school). It wasn't until he'd had a year of working a bum job (sandwich artist), with no support from our parents or the government that he took tertiary education seriously. And the transformation was astounding. He went from skipping 80% of classes, and throwing all his money and free time at video games. To someone who worked tirelessly to succeed. He'd rollerblade to course at 8am to get there before 9. Study non stop until 5pm. Eat, then go to sleep at about 8pm. He'd wake up at 2am in the morning. And rollerblade 5km to the airport (and occasionally if it was super cold out he'd wake me up and so I could drive him) to work until 7.30 am (to pay all the bills, rent food, tuition etc) then have breakfast and the cycle would repeat.

So the current plan both my wife and I have is not to save specifically for our children's higher education. Instead to save for our own financial independence, and when the time comes, we'll simply deal with it then.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 04:29:05 AM by gooki »

daymare

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #26 on: May 10, 2012, 10:00:45 PM »
I can't offer the perspective of a parent -- only 22 & my own college education isn't over yet (just finished undergrad last year, currently working and plan to stay at my fantastic job for at least 3 more years before hopefully going back to school).  However, I am 100% planning to pay for my future kids' education in full (which I expect to likely be 4 years of private college).  My parents never talked to me about money, but I am obsessed, have a personal finance blog, etc.  I think whatever a parent's choice re: paying for college, it's important to be upfront.  I remember some stress my senior year of high school when I was applying to lots of expensive colleges (and some less expensive ones as well), because I felt like my parents had raised me to value education highly and to apply to the most competitive schools, yet I wasn't able to get a definite answer from my parents as to how much they would pay.  They pretty much said they would try to pay for all of it, but they would see.  Thankfully, I have graduated and am debt-free thanks to the generosity of my parents.  I can't overstate how thankful I am every day as I watch many of my friends pay off their debt, that I have a head-start in saving for retirement and other shorter-term goals.

My brother and I have pretty different educational experiences -- My parents paid for my entire tuition at Carnegie Mellon (plus living costs, food, etc though I worked part-time through all of college).  My brother's tuition is paid by his university (MIT) as my dad is a professor there, and so my parents only pay for his living/food.  I definitely worked my ass off, and I definitely felt a lot of pressure to be successful and make the most of my parents' extreme generosity in funding my education, but I don't think my attitude towards school would have been different either way.  I do, however, absolutely believe that grad school is entirely my responsibility to pay, and would not take my parents up on any financial assistance if they offered (not that they ever would).  Just wanted to write in from the perspective of a child whose parents did indeed pay for (what most of you would argue unnecessarily expensive) college -- I appreciate it so much, it's been a wonderful gift, and I don't think it has spoiled me in any way.  I do feel that all of the money is worth it, and intend to provide any future children with the same start to adult life.

mm1970

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #27 on: May 12, 2012, 06:54:49 AM »
I can't offer the perspective of a parent -- only 22 & my own college education isn't over yet (just finished undergrad last year, currently working and plan to stay at my fantastic job for at least 3 more years before hopefully going back to school).  However, I am 100% planning to pay for my future kids' education in full (which I expect to likely be 4 years of private college).  My parents never talked to me about money, but I am obsessed, have a personal finance blog, etc.  I think whatever a parent's choice re: paying for college, it's important to be upfront.  I remember some stress my senior year of high school when I was applying to lots of expensive colleges (and some less expensive ones as well), because I felt like my parents had raised me to value education highly and to apply to the most competitive schools, yet I wasn't able to get a definite answer from my parents as to how much they would pay.  They pretty much said they would try to pay for all of it, but they would see.  Thankfully, I have graduated and am debt-free thanks to the generosity of my parents.  I can't overstate how thankful I am every day as I watch many of my friends pay off their debt, that I have a head-start in saving for retirement and other shorter-term goals.

My brother and I have pretty different educational experiences -- My parents paid for my entire tuition at Carnegie Mellon (plus living costs, food, etc though I worked part-time through all of college).  My brother's tuition is paid by his university (MIT) as my dad is a professor there, and so my parents only pay for his living/food.  I definitely worked my ass off, and I definitely felt a lot of pressure to be successful and make the most of my parents' extreme generosity in funding my education, but I don't think my attitude towards school would have been different either way.  I do, however, absolutely believe that grad school is entirely my responsibility to pay, and would not take my parents up on any financial assistance if they offered (not that they ever would).  Just wanted to write in from the perspective of a child whose parents did indeed pay for (what most of you would argue unnecessarily expensive) college -- I appreciate it so much, it's been a wonderful gift, and I don't think it has spoiled me in any way.  I do feel that all of the money is worth it, and intend to provide any future children with the same start to adult life.
I think it is great that you appreciated that and didn't take it for granted.  It shows how well your parents raised you.

I also went to Carnegie Mellon (uh, graduated 20 years ago), but paid my own way because I was poor (ROTC, scholarships, loans, work study).  There were a number of students there whose parents paid all of their expenses in my engineering classes.  Some were snots, some partied, and some were just hard workers.   The snots made comments like "doesn't it suck that you have to join the Navy and make 1/2 what we do when you graduate?"  And I answered "well, no, I'm lucky to be here."  I was the first to go to college in my family, and the only one of the 9 kids to do it out of HS.  I am very proud of that.  This from a guy whose GPA was probably 1.5 points below mine too.

The other guys though...they worked hard anyway and were driven.

My boss (who is in his 50's) and I shared similar experiences in college with the ramen noodles and feeling flush when we dated people with more money and could "trade up" to bean burritos.  His parents offered to pay for his college and he refused.  He paid his own way entirely.  I totally agree that grad school...okay, you are definitely on your own there.  And, good luck in grad school!

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #28 on: May 12, 2012, 08:24:46 AM »
Carnegie Mellon grad here as well.

I plan to pay for my daughter's college education, paying it forward so to say.  That said, I applied for enormous quantities of scholarships and was lucky enough to win many of them, which really helped lower the overall cost of CMU.  I will expect and help my daughter to do the same.

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #29 on: May 13, 2012, 02:10:46 PM »
It makes sense to me to be willing to pay for a state school (at least tuition). I guess what's more important is to teach the kids that they are going to school for a reason. I am so tired of hearing about college grads that majored in history and rocked a 2.8 GPA who are underemployed. I don't understand why they were in school. If your kids love history and can't do anything else in the world, fine. Most people seem to go to college because that is what you're supposed to do and theyre just going through the motions.

Try to help your kids figure out what they are good at and what they can be. That was the most challenging for me. High school did nothing to help me figure out what I wanted to do. I was just supposed to go to more school because that's what everyone did. I decided I wasnt going to even go to college until I took some aptitude tests that helped me figure out what I wanted/what I could be good at. They don't HAVE to go to college either. Maybe they want to be an electrician or a mechanic. They can can make very good money, but it seems people often don't consider trades possible options. (seems like a class thing)
« Last Edit: May 13, 2012, 02:20:20 PM by Stagleton »

darkelenchus

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #30 on: May 14, 2012, 12:16:50 PM »
After teaching at the collegiate level for a few years, I've come to some realizations that have greatly impacted my approach to providing financial assistance to my child(ren)'s future plans.

Degrees from four year colleges are overvalued. This will likely continue for at least a little while longer, and it may get to the point where paying for college won't make any financial sense.  College tuition has increasingly outpaced cost of living over the last 30 years (2x the rise in cost of living) while real wages have remained relatively stagnant, and yet enrollment and graduation rates have increased. Thus, the overall ROI in college degrees has declined. If this trend continues, there simply may be no overall ROI for those who earn college degrees by the time my kid(s) would attend.

Moreover, the job market is over-saturated with people who have been awarded bachelors degrees who could have started working straight out of high-school or could have received the training to do their job in 1/4 or 1/8 the time it took to get a bachelors degree. The most popular majors at universities right now - Business and Communications - don't really prepare one for work in a specific field, and as a result, they don't learn any special or general skills that they couldn't learn while on the job. Indeed, internships typically provide Business and Comm majors with their most valuable learning experience, since it actually allows them to utilize their skill set. Undergraduates don't generally learn much during their time in college that would make them better employees than those with high school diplomas. Employers would be better off hiring straight from high school. If they need someone more specialized, turn to trade & technical schools. Eventually all interested parties will realize this, and the education bubble will burst. But who knows when that will happen? As long as people keep believing college is the best means to a higher paying job, the bubble will keep getting bigger.

Some might argue that the value of a university education is more than just future ROI - it provides exposure to topics that one might not otherwise explore or even know exist, it's an opportunity to satiate one's curiosity, etc. In other words, academic engagement is intrinsically valuable, and not a mere instrument to increase purchasing power. So even if the ticket price of education keeps going up, it's worth it because one can't put a price on something that's invaluable. In response, I'd say that although the sentiment is commendable, in my experience as a professor, it ignores the reality of the state of university education. 

Universities are run as if they were a business. The job of administators is ultimately to increase revenue and endowments. When they succeed, it comes with pay raises and bonuses. The endowments mostly come from fund raising drives, which target high-earning graduates. For instance, at the university I work for, most of the endowment money comes from graduates of the Law, Engineering, Dental, and, more recently, Nursing schools. Some of this money is distributed to other programs, but the vast majority of it is invested in the programs that will generate more high-earning graduates. "Pure" academic pursuits in history, physics, biology, etc. receive secondary attention. Virtually everything is in service of the high-profile programs. As a result, It's become a glorified technical school, a "university" in name only.

Revenue mostly comes from enrollment. Increased enrollment is important, especially in the face of budget cuts from state funding. All sorts of non-academic nonsense is invested in to attract students to enroll. The trend over the last 15 years or so has been to make universities out as if they provide a long, four year vacation: sports teams and shiny new stadiums, cool bar scene, on-campus bowling alleys and cinemas, fancy restaurants, waterparks (yes, my undergrad institution built a waterpark to compete w/ other local colleges!), absurdly expensive wellness centers, resort-like student unions, etc.

This emphasis on college life as "fun and entertaining" spills over in to the classroom, too. Faculty members (who are largely adjunct faculty or graduate students, because they're cheaper [more revenue!]) are rewarded with new contracts and promotions based on their performance. Student evaluations play the biggest role in rating performance, since students are more likely to re-enroll when they have teachers they take a liking to, even if the teachers don't educate well. Many faculty members therefore concern themselves with student expectations more so than (and sometimes to the neglect of) professional academic standards. As a result, we begin to see standards regress: more lax grading, less rigor in covering material, easier and shorter assignments, etc.

There's more to it than the above (I don't want to write a novella!), but the point should be clear. Essentially universities nowadays are in the business of selling degrees to their customers, the students, who want the degrees because they believe it's a ticket to a higher paying job. University education is increasingly characterized and cheapened by the trends that this "edu-tainment" business-consumer model produces.

Knowing that the value of education received will probably be far less than the purchase price when my kid(s) come of age, I can't treat sending my kid(s) to college as a foregone conclusion, as so many have/do. I can't save for college for my kid(s) by locking money into a 529 or any other limiting investment vehicle. To be sure, I'll put money aside as an investment in the future success of my child(ren). However, they will have to sell me on their vision in order to earn the investment. If they want to, say, start their own business, get professional training for a career, buy real estate, or start their own investment portfolio with it, they've got to have a clear game plan set in place and pitch it to me. In the same vein, I'm not intrinsically opposed to my kid(s) attending a four year college, especially if they're interested in pursuing a career in academic research, but they'll have to do their homework and show me why it's the best option for them, what they'll do while they're there, and how they'll take that experience to build something of value for themselves and the world.

grantmeaname

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #31 on: May 14, 2012, 12:50:57 PM »
This is a fantastic post. It eloquently expresses much of the jumbled observations I've made over my years in school as an undergrad. My school is home to the biggest football fandom in the country and has doubled down funding commitments to the professional schools at a time when all academic research is already funded at a lower level than medical research at the school. Universities (or at least state schools managed by business-minded and forward-thinking administrators) are getting out of the business of teaching undergrads in academics and into the business of attracting them, and only really worrying about attracting professional students.

There's just one bit I disagree with:
academic engagement is intrinsically valuable, and not a mere instrument to increase purchasing power ... In response, I'd say that although the sentiment is commendable, in my experience as a professor, it ignores the reality of the state of university education.
While it may be true that the sentiment is not relevant to the majority of university students, there's no reason that it can't be intrinsically valued by individual students. Education is not a one-size-fits-all thing: while my fellow students may be pissing away four years and mom's money, there's no reason I can't find my academic engagement intrinsically valuable. Perhaps I'm not in a big enough minority to be an essential part of a school's business plan, but it's not like nobody who goes to college values their education as an education and not an earnings tool.

darkelenchus

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #32 on: May 14, 2012, 02:11:10 PM »
Thanks, grantmeaname! I know all about Buckeye football fanaticism. My wife's uncle is a former OSU football team captain, so we get to witness it firsthand at family gatherings.

There's just one bit I disagree with:
academic engagement is intrinsically valuable, and not a mere instrument to increase purchasing power ... In response, I'd say that although the sentiment is commendable, in my experience as a professor, it ignores the reality of the state of university education.
While it may be true that the sentiment is not relevant to the majority of university students, there's no reason that it can't be intrinsically valued by individual students.

This is a  good point, and I actually agree with you. Originally, I included a similar point, but removed it so as not to make the post any longer than it already was.

There certainly are students who simply want to learn (I love, love, love when I get students w/ such a disposition!), and it is certainly possible to get an education for its own sake at a university. My concern is that college campuses are passively antagonistic towards such an approach on the whole, it's only looking to get worse, and this can be very discouraging, especially at first. Anyone looking to go to college to get an education for its own sake should be aware of the fact that, ironically, the culture of the university might not actually provide a very nurturing environment for that attitude, and that other options should also be explored. In my own experience, self-study at the public library was extremely valuable in enabling me to explore all the fascinating things that I was curious about, and I got just about as much quality community and support from people I met at the library as I did from the university. Local clubs (astronomy club, maker clubs, Linux users groups, Civil War groups, language groups, etc.) are also a good supplement, if not a replacement, to a university education sought for its own sake.

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #33 on: May 15, 2012, 12:38:48 PM »

 I'm not intrinsically opposed to my kid(s) attending a four year college, especially if they're interested in pursuing a career in academic research, but they'll have to do their homework and show me why it's the best option for them, what they'll do while they're there, and how they'll take that experience to build something of value for themselves and the world.

Just send your kids to community college. Nothing wrong with that and it's really cheap. I have a few friends that moved to California and started at a 2 year community college and then transferred to a UC school. They have feeder programs and once you get California residency the schooling is relatively cheap. Also, you only have to pay for 2 years at a 4 year University so you save quite a bit. I assume other states do the same. They could also consider going to another country. In Norway, the cost of undergrad and grad (master's) is just the cost of registration fees; a phd takes three years and the salary is 65,000$ (not bad eh?). Those registration fees for a semester are 600 NOK a semester which is about 100$, then you just pay the cost of housing. Grad school is the same cost, but undergrad you need to know the language. For engineering grad school in the US, just apply for a PhD program. Schools are more than happy to give you funding if you teach or do research and are fine with giving out a master's if you don't want to go on for the PhD.

......for Engineering anyway. haha, I guess Im a bit narrow minded. Good thing I dont have kids; I think they would find me pretty annoying


as for the Bachelors being a bubble, I don't think that's the case. I think to get any job in the future you will need a bachelors. Who would you hire to work at 7-11? Some snotty faced high school grad or some snotty faced business grad with a 4 year degree? I think the population is still increasing and the number of jobs seem to be going down. Grim outlook for the western world's youth, but it's much worse other places. If you enjoy learning, there's nothing preventing you from going to the library or youtube. Education is free on the net, but you need to be disciplined and motivated. Having a goal helps too.

The people in my school made the education worth the money. Struggling on projects and staying up all night getting homework sets done; I couldn't have done it on my own. I felt that doing well in hard classes taught me how to work together with other people. When I took general ed requirements (sociology, economics, w/e) then I just worked on my own and didn't need to struggle to get the work done. Meh, I think Im rambling. Theyre now turning off the Wifi on the plane.....Gotta GO!
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 12:53:07 PM by Stagleton »

darkelenchus

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #34 on: May 15, 2012, 03:29:57 PM »
Quote
Just send your kids to community college. Nothing wrong with that and it's really cheap.

Agreed. Community colleges and technical schools are a great option. I also like the tactic your friends used. It's what my wife's doing now and it's similar to what my grandfather did: attended a no-name, low tuition local state school for three years, then applied to big reputation, high tuition national university. Later on, earned his doctorate in economics in a fully funded position and came back to work for the local state school as the chair of their economics department. (My grandfather had a killer 'stache, too! Both on his face and in investments) Unfortunately, I have a feeling it'd be harder nowadays to do what my grandfather did.

Quote
as for the Bachelors being a bubble, I don't think that's the case. I think to get any job in the future you will need a bachelors. Who would you hire to work at 7-11? Some snotty faced high school grad or some snotty faced business grad with a 4 year degree?

You've illustrated my point. Why would anyone need a business degree to work at a 7-11? As long as people think they need to get a degree from a four year college, the bubble will keep getting bigger. The percentage of people attending college relative to the overall population will continue to grow (thanks to student loans), the instruction received will become increasingly more generic in order to accommodate the rising droves of new students, and tuition costs will only continue to rise (again, thanks to student loans). So future students will be paying more money for a less quality degree1 so that they can get a job that doesn't require the level of education they've received. If that's not a bubble, I don't know what is.



1. If one needs a college diploma to get a job, then virtually everyone's going to go get one. So, the bachelor's degree becomes the new high school diploma. One would have to go to graduate school, then, to have  a distinguished educational background. And the cycle will again repeat itself.

AJ

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #35 on: May 15, 2012, 05:48:22 PM »
I think to get any job in the future you will need a bachelors. Who would you hire to work at 7-11? Some snotty faced high school grad or some snotty faced business grad with a 4 year degree?

Most folks would hire the high school grad in this case. Someone with a 4 year degree applying at 7-11 isn't going to be there for long. Being overqualified is a common problem.

Stagleton

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #36 on: May 16, 2012, 08:32:15 AM »

1. If one needs a college diploma to get a job, then virtually everyone's going to go get one. So, the bachelor's degree becomes the new high school diploma. One would have to go to graduate school, then, to have  a distinguished educational background. And the cycle will again repeat itself.

When you say it like that, it sounds more like a trend than a bubble. (Which I agree with)
« Last Edit: May 16, 2012, 09:04:55 AM by Stagleton »

Stagleton

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #37 on: May 16, 2012, 08:49:00 AM »
I think to get any job in the future you will need a bachelors. Who would you hire to work at 7-11? Some snotty faced high school grad or some snotty faced business grad with a 4 year degree?

Most folks would hire the high school grad in this case. Someone with a 4 year degree applying at 7-11 isn't going to be there for long. Being overqualified is a common problem.

Ok, instead of 7-11, let's say the GAP. I used to work summers at a clothing store early in my undergrad years. When I was there, I was getting paid 7$ an hour (there were good looking girls) and there were plenty of college grads getting  a dollar or two more than me per hour. One guy went to undergrad at Boston College (check tuition rates). I went back a few years later, and many of the same college grads that I remember were still working stocking shelves. It doesn't sound that ridiculous either. I don't know exactly what 7-11 pays, but I imagine it's not THAT much worse than the GAP, another clothing store, or other type of unskilled labor that people are willing to do if they can't get a better job.

Being overqualified will only be a problem as long as overqualified people can eventually find something better. As better jobs become harder and harder to find, it will be much easier to retain an "overqualified" person. Not to mention, maybe that high school grad will want to go back to school; then they lose him. Those jobs are typically higher turnover anyway and don't take too much training to get up to speed. So I'm sure it's not a big deal for 7-11 if the college grad or the high school student quit.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2012, 09:12:30 AM by Stagleton »

darkelenchus

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #38 on: May 16, 2012, 10:08:47 AM »
Quote
I usually associate a bubble with a burst and things revert back to the way they were... What your describing sounds more like a trend.

Right. As with all bubbles, the trend is fueling it. Many argued that the recent housing bubble was a trend before it burst. The education bubble will burst when two things happen: 1) a critical mass of unemployed college grads start defaulting on their student loans, due to the fact that they're underpaid in relation to their educational expenses and qualifications, and 2) the interested parties (i.e. employers and job seekers) begin to recognize that college degrees are overvalued and largely unnecessary for what they want to accomplish. (1) will naturally lead to (2), as the next generation witnesses what has happened to prior generations. As you say, the future supply of jobs will likely reduce while demand rises. But this will accelerate realization of (2), as many will recognize that debt from a university education is more of a liability than an asset in a down job market. If a bachelors degree (or any degree in higher education, for that matter) very likely doesn't lead to greater purchasing power (and may at some point lead to far less purchasing power, depending on how long the current trend continues), then it's simply irrational, financially speaking, to go to college.

Things will revert back to the way they were, in a way, after the bubble bursts. Most people will askew university education to seek training in trade & technical schools, take on apprenticeships, and get certifications from non-accredited institutions. And after a few years of severe turmoil and restructuring, the universities that survive the crash will get back to doing what they do best: providing an atmosphere and community for inquisitive folks to do research and educate other inquisitive folks in theoretical disciplines.

Of course I may be wrong. Perhaps it is merely a trend and 20-30 years from now everyone will need to pay, in some way or another, for a college degree just so they can compete to get a job. I don't have enough data to calculate any precise likelihood of outcomes. But I reckon it's not merely a trend.  Most people, when well-informed and facing a not overly complicated scenario, aren't so incredibly stupid as to fail to avoid purchasing something over-valued, unnecessary, and which brings them no immediate or potentially long-term pleasure.

Just as an aside, I'm speaking only of US private, state, and for profit colleges. My experience and knowledge of universities outside the US is limited.

mm1970

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #39 on: May 17, 2012, 08:56:51 PM »
I don't know about college being a bubble or not.  I think in many cases, it is.  Why get a degree in history, unless you have something specific you want to do with it?

On the other hand, our receptionist has a college education, and it's required.  To answer the door and the phone.  Now, it's a feeder into other positions here that require Excel and ordering parts and other items. 

My cousin worked nights at a gas station/ 7-11 type place and went to school days until she was 30 to get her degree in environmental studies.  She was SO happy to graduate and get a REAL JOB with her degree, as an administrative assistant.  I don't understand that. 

But as far as it being useless...I am saving in a 529 plan for my kid (soon to be 2 kids).  I don't know what he wants to be, but his parents are engineers, and I have to tell you - you need to have a degree for that.  If the apple doesn't fall far from the tree...we'll see.

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #40 on: May 17, 2012, 11:49:16 PM »
As a current-university student, I'm very, very happy my parents are helping me out. My parents (who live in a small town, 1200 mi away (in the same state!)) are paying for my rent & groceries. They agreed to support me for my 4 year undergraduate program. But I'll have to pay my tuition (0% loan) when I get a job down the track.

Without my parents support, I'd be working for several years in some crappy job that's leading me no where. With my parents support, I'll be a mathematician in no time!

When I have kids, I think I'll do the same. Either provide rent/board if I live in the same city as their university, or pay for rent/board if they have to move away.

grantmeaname

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #41 on: May 18, 2012, 09:37:07 AM »
I don't know about college being a bubble or not.  I think in many cases, it is.  Why get a degree in history, unless you have something specific you want to do with it?

On the other hand, our receptionist has a college education, and it's required.  To answer the door and the phone.  Now, it's a feeder into other positions here that require Excel and ordering parts and other items.
You think it's reasonable that it takes a college education to use spreadsheets? That seems like a bubble to me...

igthebold

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #42 on: May 18, 2012, 04:51:04 PM »
It seems like a lot of job criteria have a distinct "because we can," odor to them. There are relatively so few jobs these days, that the employers keep adding criteria (5 years of X experience, BS in Y degree, notary public, 2 dan karate) and they still get enough applicants.

Whenever the job market gets better, it could be that this becomes less prominent.

However, I do agree that the value of a college education has been quite inflated.

grantmeaname

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #43 on: May 18, 2012, 07:56:09 PM »
That's totally how it works in the museum field. Want to do easy brainless work at a historical society? Better have a BA in history and an MA in museum studies! Even with those requirements, there are dozens to hundreds of applicants for every $20k/yr job.

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #44 on: May 19, 2012, 02:25:57 PM »
After teaching at the collegiate level for a few years, I've come to some realizations that have greatly impacted my approach to providing financial assistance to my child(ren)'s future plans.
 ....

You know there's trouble when university employees are not in immediate support of higher educations, professors in particular.  Not one professor I have spoken to praised university education as a necessity.

I can say I learned a lot in my years in college.  But that's all I can honestly say.  I may have an easier time being trained in certain jobs, but I would STILL need that training.  Since I've recently graduated, that's exactly where I have to look:  Larger companies that want individuals with degrees to train.  Why would they want a degreed individual that they would need to pay more?  Perhaps for mobility.  They can train these individuals for a year before giving them more responsibility.  In the global market, a more educated person is also considered with higher esteem, and that principle is becoming increasingly more important as our market becomes more global.

So to me, it's hard to say if education is a bubble that will burst, or something that will become a new standard.

But the students who are currently attending college, purely for the sake of 'riding out the recession'  (Yes, I still heard this phrase just before I graduated), aren't going to make their lives any easier.  Grad school because you're afraid of the real world?  It's not guaranteed you will get that degree, or even use it, but it IS guaranteed you will accrue a large sum of debt.  This just seems asinine to me.  Yet the debt will only grow from here.  While I'd like to get a Masters or even a PhD at some point, I think I need a few years to get back my focus;  I don't want to meander about for 10 years for a PhD like some students do.

I whole heartedly agree with darkelenchus' sentiment:  Save up money for your kids success, and let them convince you where it would be a wise investment.  If they don't have the capability to convince you, you still have the freedom to do anything you choose with it, from letting them withdraw a percentage of the funds to spend as they please, to purchasing them a home or vehicle, or even to help finance a business.

darkelenchus

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #45 on: May 19, 2012, 04:10:26 PM »
In the global market, a more educated person is also considered with higher esteem, and that principle is becoming increasingly more important as our market becomes more global. ...

Grad school because you're afraid of the real world?  It's not guaranteed you will get that degree, or even use it, but it IS guaranteed you will accrue a large sum of debt.  This just seems asinine to me.  Yet the debt will only grow from here.

Many of the students I've had in my courses who have gone on to graduate studies have done so because their job prospects were bleak and they didn't think they would be able to handle paying back their loans and simultaneously cover their other expenses with the salaries they'd receive in the "low-hanging fruit" positions available to them, if there were positions available to them at all.  Since more education is generally treated with greater esteem, they reasoned that by going to graduate school they could gain a competitive advantage when they do enter job market while deferring their loans when the job market was still down.  For some, their debt grew a little bit because interest accrued on some of their undergraduate loans. But most haven't added further debt by going to graduate school or they haven't added much more, at least. Most receive some form of tuition remission and stipend for teaching or research assistantship. 


mm1970

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #46 on: May 21, 2012, 09:54:38 PM »
I don't know about college being a bubble or not.  I think in many cases, it is.  Why get a degree in history, unless you have something specific you want to do with it?

On the other hand, our receptionist has a college education, and it's required.  To answer the door and the phone.  Now, it's a feeder into other positions here that require Excel and ordering parts and other items.
You think it's reasonable that it takes a college education to use spreadsheets? That seems like a bubble to me...
I'm not disagreeing with you there.  My sister is an office manager, and has all of those skills and then some, no college degree at all.  In fact, a few of my sisters fall into that same category.  They learned on the job.

I'm so old now that I really have no idea how many MS Office skills kids have when they graduate HS.  I was 26 before I had an email address, and 38 before I had a cell phone.

grantmeaname

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #47 on: May 22, 2012, 07:03:30 AM »
I'm a few years out of high school. I used Powerpoint and Word starting in fourth grade and Excel starting in fifth grade. In general, I would say that to people my age, it's just the expectation that any reasonably intelligent person our age is capable of using at least the main functions of the big three of the MS Office suite.

Ben

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #48 on: May 22, 2012, 07:53:31 AM »
I would say there is substantial variability in computer skills. My wife teaches at a low income high school, and most of her (9th/10th grade) students are uncomfortable using a computer for anything besides games and the internet.

On the other hand, at the more affluent public HS I attended, all of the (honors) kids in my classes could use anything in MS Office at a basic level, and many knew either more advanced functions or some basic programming.

Grigory

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Re: Kids and College-Will you pay?
« Reply #49 on: June 08, 2012, 02:01:28 AM »
Since more education is generally treated with greater esteem, they reasoned that by going to graduate school they could gain a competitive advantage when they do enter job market while deferring their loans when the job market was still down.
That competitive advantage works only if most other people don't have masters degrees. In terms of degree valuation, college is new high school - even low-skilled jobs like receptionist require (or, rather, strongly prefer) a college diploma. The grad school bubble will also get to that point sooner or later - my guess is in 10-15 years, tops. :(