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June 16, 2014

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Robert

The government should pay for collage, in fact all education. If they want to keep up with other countries tech status they need to educate the people here, and not bring people from abroad to fill in the short fall of technically qualified people, which is what is happening now so Ive been told.

Kathy rogers

I agree with Mike - kids can feel entitled and drag out time in college because it is fun vs. focusing on getting done if they get a full ride. We pay part and the kids pay part (or get their work to pay for it) and have to work also. If they have a steak in the game, they are more motivated.

Renee

I hope you understand the "government" is all taxpaying citizens of this country. While I think financial aide and grants should be available, I think parents or students should take responsibility for higher education. Personally, as long as my two children work hard in school, I plan to pay for their higher education. Any signs of goofing off and they will suddenly find it their responsibility to foot the bill. If they remain focused, I do not want to put additional stress on their time to study and maximize their efforts at school.

Dora

Danielle: "So yes, my fiancé and I will budget and save for their college educations from the moment they too, are born."

Good intention. And then life happens. Unless your parents buy you a house, you have a mortgage. You need to pay for daycare - a lot. One of you might lose their jobs for couple of months. The list goes on...
You also need to make sure that you save for your retirement so your kids will not have to pay for your long-term care.

We are saving as much as we can for the kids education but I do not feel obligated paying the full tuition. My kids should not feel that it is my responsibility.

Justin

I graduated college with $28,000 in student loan debt, thus was unable to purchase a house until I was 33 years old. I won't do this to my child. Purchasing a house is the best thing a person can do and the sooner you do it the better. College graduates have hard enough time finding jobs and with the cost of housing rising the need to save for a down payment is a much more important lesson than being saddled with debt. It's called a 529. Do it for your kids when they are 2 years old.

Kris

My parents paid for my education and I will forever be grateful and I NEVER felt entitled because I was raised that things did not come easy and everything costs money (dad was a CPA). I am great at managing my money, have excellent credit and no debt. I helped my ex get out of debt and improve his credit rating to excellent. And I'm an artist. I took as many challenging courses and even overloaded on my classes to justify the high price of tuition. My minor sacrifice was that I went to my second choice school, yet still it was a top school in my field. When I needed spending money I took a job to pay for my materials. My parents only gave me a 100/month stipend). Being burdened with debt inhibits other opportunities and does not enable honing of the skills that drive you. My divorce requires me to work full time in a creative field and still work on my main career, while raising a little one in order to have health insurance and a steady income in the most expensive city in the nation. Plus, I would be in a lot more trouble in my situation if I had debt to boot. In other words, no one needs horrible debt to build character. I know people who have horrible debt and are still irresponsible.

Karen

For those of you planning to foot the bill, you may want to monitor the cost of colleges - even state schools and watch the cost as they go through the roof. Even with a great job and two incomes you may not be able to save enough. I am going to tell my kids they have to contribute to paying back the loans and if I can, I will help more on the back end with loan repayment. It's a wonderful surprise graduation present after the hard work has been put in.

Eileen

Both my husband and I paid for our college. My parents paid the first 2 years and I took advantage of it. I wasn't completely focus in school, made decision to go to the beach with my friends instead of going to class. The last two years, I had to start paying for it, I had to think about my actions. I was more focus in school, managed my time well since I had to work and go to school. Our daughter just graduated from a UC last December, we had her take out student loans for 2 years. She saved her money while she interned during the summer to pay for her books and her spending money. Even though we could have afford to pay for 4 years of her college, we both believe that she needs to be accountable for her college education. Now that she is working full-time, she learned how to budget, save and invest, and also more cautious on her spending.

Doug

Yeah, I can barely afford to pay for my retirement much less my kids' college. There are loans and other help available for going to college. There are no loans or other assistance for retirement.

Sara

I wish I had the luxury of having this decision to make!

My husband and I have been setting aside as much as we can for our daughter's education in a 529 plan, but I have a deep fear that we won't be able to save nearly enough to pay for 4 years of college (we still have 10 years, but the amount we're able to set aside isn't as much as I'd like it to be). I plan to help as much as I can, but with college costs skyrocketing the way they are, I'm sure my daughter is still going to need to take responsibility as well.

I was extremely lucky in that I received scholarships and grants that covered the bulk of my tuition to college, and kept my debt manageable. While at school full time I also worked 2 jobs to earn money for books and a meager amount of spending money because my parents were unable to help at all. Never once did I feel entitled. More than anything, I felt determined to make the gift of my time at college worth it.

Tina

Education is a gift- that you need to give yourself. It is not your parents responsibility to pay for your college.
Yes, you may end up at a university that is not your top choice but so what? One does not always get what they want in life.
I paid for my whole college in its entirely at a school that cost 31k a year. I was able to get some scholarships.

Also, during my last year of university, I also split the household bills with my mother because that's what it took to survive. I always had a job during college, and have been gainfully employed ever since graduation.

Gina

I always told my children they would get four free years and to make sure they did not waste time. As a divorced parent, I paid for half of those four years for two of my kids. My son is now entering his fifth year and is under the expectation (thanks to my ex husbands interpretation of our divorce agreement) that we should continue to pay until whenever he graduates - I've told him that while I will assist him in cosigning a loan - I expect him to foot the bill for the extra time beyond the four free years. I feel this is a fair compromise and will help him to understand that college is not about hanging out with friends, changing majors on a whim and playing video games. Getting two of the above viewpoints (ie pay some or pay all) from two sets of parents is just making this harder.

Stan

If the argument for not footing the bill for my child's high education is high cost, then it will be high cost for my child as well. Someone has to pay for it. My children are my investment. The cost of education is increasing much more than inflation rate. 529 plan is more effective than student loan. If I do not have money to save for my child's education (via 529 plan) it could mean that my own parents did not help me to pay for my education and I ended up with a student loan, which delayed my ability to buy a house, my retirement investment account etc. It is all connected. Ideally, the government should pay for education but I can only dream of it in this nation. So, I am definitely saving for my children's high education. In the mean time, I teach them how to be financially responsible.

C

First off - not everyone can afford to pay for their kids education, and in that case, that's fine. But if you can, why not?

I had my education paid for, my partner didn't - even though his parents could afford it.

I don't know if it built character but we did spend the first couple of our working years paying off his loan, which was fine as well.

I think we had similar experiences in college, we both did well. I knew that my parents paying for my education was not the norm (people made their kids pay them rent when they turned 18!) and I knew I was lucky. The thing is - college is a lot of work - to have the financial burden on top of that (where unnecessary) is a huge load for any kid.

The way to get your kid to take their studies seriously is not to saddle them with horrible debt (as someone else said) but to have a strong work ethic at home. We have a child now, who has exceptional ability in a particular field, and we only ever praise effort, not innate talent. Money for your education is a gift, like that - it makes things easier, but you have to work to make sure you make the most of it, otherwise it is pretty much useless.

Alan

I graduated with zero debt, not because my parents paid for everything (although they would have if I'd asked). I stopped after two years since I wasn't at all clear WHY I was in college. I worked for several years, paying my own way as I started taking classes again part-tome (including working FOR the University, which is a great financial deal).

Today I have a high-paying job at a F100 class company (so this approach didn't seem to limit my prospects).

Nicole

Like all parenting decisions, this is not a one size fits all issue. For most parents, the answer may simply be that, as much as they would like to, paying for all of a college education for multiple kids simply is not realistic. It doesn't make them bad parents, or hurt their kids' chances at a decent future. For those parents who have the luxury of choice, I think it depends on their child. I know that if I have a truly rare, Einstein of a child who has a real shot at becoming the absolute top in her field, I'm going to do whatever it takes to make sure she goes to the best school for that to happen. If I have a normal kid who isn't sure what she wants to study and could benefit from learning a little responsibility, I'm not writing her a blank check for an Ivy League education so she can "find" herself.

I think the most important things are reaching a decision on paying for college that doesn't leave either the child or the parent struggling under unbearable debt, and doesn't make the child feel trapped into going to a school that is a bad fit, either because they don't think they can afford something better, or because their parents are paying but requiring them to choose the school or the major that the parents prefer.

Sarah

This conversation is super fascinating to me as my 22 year old daughter just graduated from a private liberal arts college with a debt of 40k. This is not in the least daunting to me as we were all aware of the end outcome and I don't question the value of her education. When she was pursuing the IB program in high school, college was an obvious next step. We talked about the college Olympics and her bringing home the gold, and that we would then do everything possible to help her achieve this goal. And she did-she did tons of research and applied to a bakers dozen of colleges all over the states. As she was accepted and began receiving offers, she chose one of the top two. Her father and stepfather and I all paid the remainder of up-front costs. During the 4 years she always had a job working an average of 25/week. At one point each of her parents had a stint of unemployment, but tuition, room and board were always paid. She had the opportunity to study abroad for one semester which was a wonderful experience. Overall as a result of our communal efforts, she earned her degree and her debt will get taken care of in time. Gosh some of you folks just need to take a deep breath:)
Ps I am pushing for her to be an ESL teacher abroad---you have your whole life to settle down, but once you do...

Ale

My parents paid for my college and I was told this was the best inheritance they could leave to their children. I will be forever grateful! They taught me to be responsible with money, live below my means, save, and plan for the future. I later got a job, did my masters and got a grant. I am doing the same for my kids. I believe that is my responsibility as a parent to give them education, and this of course includes college. Life is tough enough to start with debt when you graduate.
If you can't save for it, search internationally!!! Some amazing countries provide FREE undergraduate education even to foreigners, there's no excuse, just keep off debt.
I grew up in Mexico, where you can find amazing Universities that are free, so in our mindset there was no reason not to get a degree, it is just a fact. Countries as Sweden, Norway and many other European countries also provide free or affordable education. I am still shocked that here in the US your options are very limited if you don't have the money.
I applaud decisions like the state of Tennessee, using lottery money to offer free tuition to high school graduates!
http://thinkprogress.org/education/2014/04/16/3427593/tennessee-free-college-tuition/
I hope more states follow.

Lee, V.

(1) Depends on the kid: Does he/she WANT to go to college, and for WHAT reason(s)? (2) Depends on the parents: "Yes", they should help out if they CAN afford it; "No", if they can't afford it. (3) One parent commented he/she was "extremely lucky" to have had a scholarship..... I don't think it was purely "lucky". Schorlarships are EARNED through hard work, determination and planning. Parents should help out (again if they can afford it) if the kid has earned a scholarship. (4) How about give the kid a loan, with low or no interests. Parents can decide whether the loan can be "forgivven" in part or in whole later. (5) After the first year, the kid can most definitely find ways to partially at least work his/her way through. I did; I am now a teacher in a professional school.

Utah Mom

In my opinion, it should be a shared effort. Parents should start college savings as soon as a child is born, even if (and especially, if) it's a modest start. A 529 is one vehicle, but there are other paths. As a child grows, he or she should be continually encouraged to add some earnings (from odd jobs, gifts) to the college savings account. The student should also be encouraged to work hard academically toward the college goal; good grades often earn scholarships. (A lot of scholarship opportunities are available; students need to carefully and diligently search for opportunities.) Grandparents and relatives can also be invited to contribute to the the savings. (In some states, there's a state income tax break for 529 contributions.) Every little bit helps; especially if you get an early start. As the child grows, he or she can contribute more from summer jobs. By saving early, the task is not so daunting and debt can be avoided. We are people of modest income and our two oldest sons graduated from college -- with savings and academic scholarships -- debt free; our third and youngest, currently in college, is on track to do the same. All, by the way, went/are going to public schools.

Anna

Fascinating question. I believe in helping children, but not solving all the problems for them and not protecting them from life. Should you pay it all if you can afford it? No. Leave portion for the child. So the child will feel involved and accountable.
In the situation where the family has to prioritize resources, the parents have to make sure they take care of their retirement savings, live in a good safe neighborhood and don't pinch on health expenses, before making a decision about college savings. Do what you can to help without hurting yourself.

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