Sending Kids to College--Do You Shoot for the moon or consider the budget?? Big Divide between DH

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Posted 11/14/2012 by SweetieBugs in NSBR Board
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SweetieBugs
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Posted: 11/14/2012 5:58:51 PM
So my DH and I have a big disagreement about how to handle college for our 2 kids. Because of choices we made (I was a stay at home mom for 10 years and we purchased the best house in the best neighborhood we could afford), we only have around $28,000 right now for college for both kids. They are 16.5 and 14.5 years old so it is coming quickly.

I say we should consider the local community college (it is only a few years old and a nice campus and only 12 to 15 minutes drive) for the first two years then send them to a university to do the final 2 to 3 years for their degree.

My DH is adamant that they go directly to a 4 year college and says we shouldn't consider the cost in deciding. The yearly cost at some of the state's "good" colleges is $30,000 to $45,000!!! He thinks our kids will be able to get student loans and we will just help them pay them off afterwards. We are also hoping they get some scholorship or grant money but know that those monies are pretty limited.

Other than the desire to give our kids a wonderful college experience, I just don't see this as reasonable. Maybe I am overthinking it?? I did have a great 4 year college experience (2 years in the dorms, etc.) but it was a lot less expensive then and I did get pretty good financial aid for the first 2 years which helped a lot.

Would you/ Could you go $150k to $200k in debt for your children's college education (I'm not even sure we could afford the debt repayment either without complete financial ruin).

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Posted: 11/14/2012 6:01:39 PM
I have just one child, but I will do whatever I can to send him to the best school that he can get into if he keeps his grades up and continues to do so throughout college.

I can take a loan for his college education, but I can't take a loan for my retirement. We are saving toward college, but won't have enough to cover it entirely.


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SueSume
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Posted: 11/14/2012 6:03:06 PM
Send your kids to the best school you can afford and they can get in to. End of story.

(and my inner Susie O voice wants to ask how much you have saved for your retirement, not that I need to know but before I went into debt 200K for my kids education I'd make dang sure I had my own self taken care of)


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Posted: 11/14/2012 6:03:09 PM
I definitely wouldn't go into deep debt for my kids "college experience". Do your kids a real favor and show them how to get the same quality of education for a fraction of the cost.

Going to community college for 2 years to get the gen ed out of the way is what a great deal of kids do in our area.

I've also laid down the law with my kid, in state *only* period. Our state has a lot of quality schools (one in our town). No reason to head off 2000 miles away from home.


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Posted: 11/14/2012 6:03:16 PM

Would you/ Could you go $150k to $200k in debt for your children's college education


No. We live in a city where there are two outstanding universities and one great college. We will have enough money for the kids to attend any of these and live at home. If they want to go somewhere else we will give them the same money we would have if they stayed here and they can earn the rest by working or scholarships.

Both DH and I paid our own way through university and are better off for it IMO.

Our kids are in grade 8 and grade 4 and know this is how it is going to be. it is a pretty common viewpoint around here. DD in grade 8 has already decided that she will get a scholarship to Queens Engineering and move 2 hours away.


Kelli


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Posted: 11/14/2012 6:03:30 PM
no. we will not and we will advise our kids not to go into $150-200K of debt for a degree



BethAnneM
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Posted: 11/14/2012 6:04:04 PM
I will not put myself or my child in debt to go to the "best" college. My daughter is doing her first two years at the community college and having a great college experience. No debt either.



Ouiser
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Posted: 11/14/2012 6:04:30 PM
I think first of all it depends on what they want to major in. Medical, law, engineering - there are better schools that are geared to those areas (and others of course) where graduation from one of them would put them higher up the ladder than maybe some other school when it comes to hiring.


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Posted: 11/14/2012 6:15:58 PM
No. DS is a Senior and we are working on this now. Check into scholarships now. Does your state have the A+ Scholarship program? My kids can get two years' tuition paid by meeting A+ requirements. There are four year schools that match that scholarship. We have another college that DS has applied to that gives 50% tuition credit for members of our church denomination.




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Posted: 11/14/2012 6:24:45 PM
Consider the budget.

robnjenb
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Posted: 11/14/2012 6:29:14 PM
We're also in the 'first two years at community college' camp - unless there's a scholarship involved


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Posted: 11/14/2012 6:30:24 PM
Best school trumps in my opinion. If my kid got into Harvard/Dartmouth/Stanford, etc. for example, there's no way I'd send them to community college instead. Just me.

chelsea_bug
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Posted: 11/14/2012 6:31:03 PM
I graduated from an expensive 4 year school with the expensive school name on my diploma. But, I went to a 2 year school first and did an internship for one semester...so I only paid for 3 semesters in the expensive school. I graduated 14 years ago...and still have a bit left on my student loans. I don't want to think about what they'd be if I financed 8 semesters at the expensive school.


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irishscrappermom8
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Posted: 11/14/2012 6:33:03 PM
Because of a lot of things (mainly lots of medical debt even though we have insurance) we do not have anything saved for kids.

We live in a town with two great universities and a community college. DD goes to the cc right now. Why? She has no idea what she wants to major in. $3000 for a year vs. $12,000 at state school and $36,000 at private school ( no room or board) is a no brainer. The community college has a 100% transfer rate to whatever school the student chooses. It is highly regarded and why not go there and take your stupid gen Ed classes?

DD is working part-time and saving money by living at home. She's doing well, learning what she wants to, and she very well will be far less in debt then many of her friends. Anymore, it's the quality of the education vs. the name/reputation of the school unless you're going to be a lawyer or doctor.





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Posted: 11/14/2012 6:34:53 PM
I absolutely would not go $150-200,000 in debt to pay for my kids' college, nor would I allow them to take out more than the maximum Stafford loan amounts (currently $5,500 freshman year, $6,500 sophomore year, $7,500 junior and senior years). Community college may not be the experience that a four year residential college is, but the vast majority of students commute to a state school. Going away to college is a luxury. I'm guessing that if you haven't funded the kids' college, you may not have funded your retirement, either. A $200,000 college education sounds like a luxury you can't afford.

That said, there are schools that are generous with merit aid. Has your 16 year old taken the SAT or ACT yet? What kind of GPA does he have? My daughter is currently attending an out of state flagship with a full tuition scholarship plus an additional $5,000 a year fellowship that helps with room and board. None of this is need-based (we do not qualify for need-based financial aid). She is a good student but not a great one. I don't think she was in the top 20% of her high school class, although she did have a good ACT score.

Start doing your research now - there are schools out there that have good scholarships available. Aim for those where your child is near the top stats-wise. But if that doesn't work out, community college and state schools are good alternatives, especially if your child is planning on graduate school. One thing that is very important is to make sure your kids are aware of how much you will pay. There's no point in them setting their sights on some "dream" school that is unaffordable. The earlier in the process you can let them know what you're willing/able to pay, the better.

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Posted: 11/14/2012 6:35:08 PM
While working in the schools as an aide, I got to know one of the teachers. She had to pay for her own schooling, as there are seven kids in the family.

She did the first two years at the local college and then transferred. She took the basic courses that are required that all colleges offer, but at much less cost to her by going thru the local college.

Also, I have read where kids can now take some of those same courses in high school and get credit for them.

I don't see any reason to go to a four year college right away and pay double the price for the same classes you can take at your local, community college. Is that teaching our kids any money sense? Especially in this economy? And most kids today can't even get a job in the field that they are going to college for in the first place.

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Posted: 11/14/2012 6:45:04 PM

Best school trumps in my opinion. If my kid got into Harvard/Dartmouth/Stanford, etc. for example, there's no way I'd send them to community college instead. Just me.



I agree with this.

However - if you're deciding between an okay 4 year school or community college to state flagship? Go with the latter. No reason to go into debt for a mediocre 4 year school.



Queenie81
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Posted: 11/14/2012 6:46:40 PM
First off, congrats for saving money for college for your kids! That's awesome; your children are very fortunate.
IMHO, help your child apply for scholarships and grants, but do not sacrifice your retirement to fully fund their education. You and your husband have a finite time left to plan for your retirement, and taking on massive debt would be unwise.
I went to a community college, then on to a state school that was affordable and offered a degree in my field of study. I graduated with no student debt. Debt is rough, and paying a 100k+ is a very long process.
There is no law saying that your kids must go straight to college after high school. They could work, and set aside that money to help pay for school, which could give them time to decide what they want to study, and where they want to go, ad well as evaluate what the job market in their field would look like after they graduate.
Why go into debt for 100K+ ivy league education if you choose a major with no job prospects or little pay?
College is one of many roads to a career. It can be funded without having to take on substantial debt.
Good luck!


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Posted: 11/14/2012 6:48:46 PM
I think you have to be realistic and spend what your family can afford, regardless of whether you are talking about a house, a vacation, or college education.

Ds got into every school to which he applied. In order to attend his "dream" school (after applying the scholarships he was offered and the money we had set aside) there would have been about $150K in debt. The reality is that he was a white, middle-class male, entering a field dominated by white, middle-class males. Because of this, he didn't qualify for many of the big money scholarships.

His second choice school was the University of Florida, which he could attend for only the cost of room and board (thanks to the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship program). He went to UF, earned his degree in mechanical engineering, and now, at the "ripe old age" of 23 has a great job in his field and makes $10K more per year than I do (and I have an MA and have been working as a professional since I was 20).

While it would have been great if he had been able to attend his "dream school", I doubt it would have made a lot of difference in his employment opportunities. His company offers great tuition reimbursement benefits, so I've encouraged him to take advantage of that for grad school. He is considering transferring to the office in the same area as his dream school - the company would pay 100% of his tuition at his dream school - and a graduate degree from that school would carry more weight than an undergrad degree.


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Posted: 11/14/2012 6:52:56 PM
If you child has the grades, SAT scores and the drive - shoot for the moon.

Some universities have endowments and offer scholarships. My son was awarded a scholarship to cover half of his tuition.

DH and I met a couple at the home of a friend. There son graduated from an Ivy League school. He is 40 years old and they are so proud of how intellectual and well rounded he is. I asked what does he do for a living and they said he is a house painter. Nothing wrong with that profession, not putting it down, but in this case, no I wouldn't pay for it.

Buddysmom
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Posted: 11/14/2012 7:03:20 PM
Go to the community college and save the money. Then transfer to a state school. I have two kids in state schools and combined with savings, Bright Futures/prepaid and cutting back, our kids will not have school loans. I feel the loans are rarely worth it.

Carol T, I could have written your post! My DS got into every school he applied to and is attending UF for engineering. It still would have been extremely expensive to attend one of the top tier schools.

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Posted: 11/14/2012 7:03:51 PM
I'm somewhere in the middle.

I think the college experience is really important. I went to my dream school. It was the best experience of my whole life.

But I also know that money matters more than teenagers know. I left my dream school after my parents' financial situation changed and we could not pay my tuition.

So for my child - I am going to save every penny I can for her. If between what we can save, what she can earn working, and what she can win in scholarships, she can go to Yale? I say rock on, girl, go wherever your dream leads you. If we can't cover the bill, we're going to have to look at other options.

And I will do whatever I can to help her achieve those dreams. I am working again, in part to fund her little-girl dreams like ballet lessons and horseback riding camp in the summertime. And when she gets big-girl dreams, if I can help pay for those I will. There will be many things to consider at that time, just as there are many things to consider now.

That is what I have decided at this time, for our family.

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Posted: 11/14/2012 7:10:21 PM
He thinks our kids will be able to get student loans and we will just help them pay them off afterwards.
__________________________________________________

If you weren't able to save much money for college before, how is it you will be able to help them pay them off afterwards? Was it that you were saving a lot of money for retirement or making a lot of extra payments on your mortgage?

To me paying $$$$ for the same degree you can get in a much cheaper place is like saying you'll pay twice as much for the same house with better paint colours. How many articles do we need to see about young adults with a B.A. in English and $100,000 in loans........

mtomseth
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Posted: 11/14/2012 7:15:18 PM
I'm in the minimize student loan debt camp.

I think your kids should apply to various schools and for various scholarhips to see what is offered, then make a final decision but I would let them know up front the maximum amount you are willing to spend.

Iowa_girl
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Posted: 11/14/2012 7:15:18 PM
Research your options.

Our kids go to an in-state "STATE" college. Tuition/Room/Board is about $16,000 a year right now for our Engineering student. She has a couple scholarships that trim about $1500 off per semester. That is reflected in the first figure.

The "PRIVATE" schools were ridiculously expensive. The State school actually has a much higher job placement rate and a better overall reputation.

Can your kids take any Community College classes while attending High School? My kids did that (paid for by the school district ) - they had all their GenEds done before entering college. They went in as sophomores, saving us a full year of tuition.


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Posted: 11/14/2012 7:35:38 PM
just FYI...we do know some kids who went to private schools (a lot more funding options avail via scholarships) and some to CC only to find that their credits did not transfer as they thought they would and now they are retaking those same classes at the state 4 yr university they transferred to.







TraceyS
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Posted: 11/14/2012 7:39:04 PM
No, I would not go into debt. DD is not going to her first choice school. She is going to the school that offered her a full ride and will also give her a good education and prepare her for her career choice.

Part of the equation depends on what your son or daughter wants to do in terms of a career. For example, a student who wants to come back to our small town and work as a teacher will be just as well off at Eastern Ky University as Harvard. But if they want to end up in a larger market, perhaps in a more competitive career, then a bigger "name" would make more sense, IMO.

I would still be leery of excessive debt in this economy no matter what the circumstances were.

Kelli/Mom
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Posted: 11/14/2012 7:48:40 PM
We've had this conversation with our kids (more so with the youngest because he is the plan-attend, think-it-all-out, spreadsheet kid).

The youngest is a senior in high school now, and he wants to major in engineering. He talked to several contacts in engineering firms and asked if the difference in education between Stanford (about $60,000/year), in-state expenses at Colorado School of Mines (about $30,000/year), and Colorado State University at $22,000/year was worth the extra expense.

The consensus was that Stanford is a great school, but so is Colorado Mines. While the extra expense of Stanford would not be worth it for most people, the difference in education between Mines and CSU would be well worth the extra cost.

That gave the kid a great place to start. He then researched job placement statistics, starting average salaries of grads, and internship/co-op opportunities (along with distance to rock climbing, cross country/track opportunities, male to female ratios, and other quality-of-life stats). He came up with what he sees as the perfect school for him. It has 97% job placement after graduation, its grads make more to start than their counterparts from Harvard, and research/intern/co-op placements are a part of the plan. He'll be able to run cross country and track (he wouldn't be fast enough for a school like Stanford), and it is close to rock climbing. The male to female ratio isn't very equal, but he sees that as having an upside in eliminating some of the distraction and drama.

He also found that he could go OUT of state in most places for A LOT less than he would pay in state because our in-state schools don't give much in merit aid. After an automatic scholarship for his GPA and ACT scores, he'll pay about $15,000/year (that INCLUDES housing).

He'll also start with more than thirty credits under his belt from AP and concurrent enrollment classes. He probably wouldn't have been able to use any of his AP credits at Stanford; it doesn't offer credit for any of the social science tests or either of the English exams, and he probably would have to take Stanford's version of the math and science classes for an engineering major. Other, less selective schools, would be more generous with the AP credits, but he sees his decision as a nice compromise.

The way he sees it, he could go to Stanford and spend close to a quarter of a million dollars in four years, or he could get his bachelors in three years at the other school for $45,000, work the fourth year for $50,000 (less than the average starting salary of a grad), and actually be AHEAD after four years.

Sorry this got so long! Yes, cost was a factor, but it was not the only criterion.

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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:02:13 PM

the best house in the best neighborhood
Why would you want the best house, but not the best education for your children? I would think their education is more important.

However, I think where they end up going to college should depend on what their plans for the future are. Do either of them want to be a professional (doctor, lawyer, architect, etc) or do they only have vague ideas for now? I wouldn't want to send a future surgeon to community college.


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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:08:47 PM
My parents and my dh's parents did everything they could to get us the best educations possible. Assuming my kids do their part, I will pay it forward.

I agree with Peabay, however, that I wouldn't go into debt or stretch my budget for a mediocre college. My kids can attend the university where I teach for free, and it is an acceptable university, so unless my kids get into elite universities, I will be counseling them against taking on debt for an equivalent degree.

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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:10:51 PM
My sons live at home and go to community college. My husband I both went to community college, then transferred and we went on to get master's degrees. I do not believe in spending atrocious amounts of money for the same class someone can take at community college.

If I had the money and a great retirement funded, then I would not be concerned, but I am not going into debt for education any more than I can help it.

Many studies have looked at Ivy League graduates and those who started at community college 5 years after graduation from a 4 year degree and you cannot tell who went to the Ivy League school vs community college in terms of jobs and income.


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SDeven
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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:11:10 PM
Was your husband deprived of his school of choice over money?

Frankly, I think he's about to make a stupid plan in the name of almighty education and his budget-be-dammed attitude will not set your children up for making wise choices in their futures.






MikeWozowski
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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:23:51 PM
going into that much debt for education (your kids' or your own) is dumb.

you don't have to go to the cheapest school you can find, but you should do some kind of research like kelli/mom suggested to help with the decision.

here, many kids start at CC or junior college and then transfer to the "good" schools. makes no difference in the end when you end up with a degree from the good place.

MikeWozowski
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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:23:52 PM
going into that much debt for education (your kids' or your own) is dumb.

you don't have to go to the cheapest school you can find, but you should do some kind of research like kelli/mom suggested to help with the decision.

here, many kids start at CC or junior college and then transfer to the "good" schools. makes no difference in the end when you end up with a degree from the good place.

mtomseth
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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:31:16 PM

and some to CC only to find that their credits did not transfer as they thought they would and now they are retaking those same classes at the state 4 yr university they transferred to.


The key is to make certain the student earns an associates degree prior to transferring. A lot of schools accept block transfers but without an associates degree schools can decide to exclude credits.

In Washington state, if you have an associates degree from a community college ALL public state universities must accept you as a block transfer.

tifftiff2
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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:40:35 PM
Here's my thoughts, not as a parent, but as a student.

- Have they started making decisions on what degrees they want to go into? Choosing a good school with great options for each degree honestly should be a priority. It will set them up better for when they graduate and enter the job force when they come from a school with professors that are looked highly upon in each specification area by peers in the working world. However, the most expensive schools aren't always the "best" schools. For the most part, a similar quality education can be had at a lower cost by researching options and talking to people in the field that either child wants to go into.

- If they are undecided, do not send them away to an expensive school. Even if they start just their first year at the local community college, it will be an easier transition as they start dabbling in school work and look at making up their mind on what they want to do. The typical college student changes majors at least twice. And very rarely are students graduating within 4 years - these days it is upwards of 5 or 6 years of college for a lot of students. Some because they dink around the first couple years, some because they switch majors, and some because they want to take on extra course work to prepare themselves for grad school/med school/etc. Adding on an extra year or two at those expensive schools adds up, and fast.

- There is a cap on how much in student loans you can take out (at least if you borrow federally, which is what I do). I think the cap for a freshman student is like $2,000. Now, that is for a student's loan, and I know the parent plus loans can be taken out in addition to that. But still, you're looking at a limited amount of funding.

- Do you know if they would qualify for pell grants? This would be something to maybe discuss with the school counselor. This would help alleviate some of the stress. The other option is to start looking at scholarships. Trust me, they should start now if they want to go that route. If they don't have extracurricular, volunteer, and leadership experience, they can start gaining it now. That will help on the scholarship route.

- Attending a community college for a year will not hinder their education. It's an easy transfer, just make sure they take courses that will be accepted at the state universities, so you don't pay for that school for nothing.

- You should absolutely factor the cost in. I wish more than anything that I would have completed more schooling at home, where I had a scholarship, rather than moving away. Now hubby and I both have a pile of student loan debt, and I'm 29 and still haven't completed my degree because I have to work full time. It's hands down one of the biggest regrets I have.

- Paying for college is hard. Of course you want your children to have the best. But you also have to be realistic. The money for higher education doesn't just magically appear. Both you and your children will be responsible for paying that all back. And trust me, when they graduate and are trying to find jobs so that they can afford $700 a month in student loan payments, on top of trying to survive, you will look back and ask yourself if it was all worth it.



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omarakbt
AncestralPea

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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:46:01 PM
Yes and no.
There are kids that going to a JC works well for, others never get beyond it. Act like it's an extension of high school and don't treat it seriously. Some kids need a 4 year college, they need the support, the more focused students.
Both my husband and I had pretty minimal college experiences. We both worked, took heavy class loads trying to get through because we paid for everything. I tried going to a 4 year school after the JC but living in a dorm didn't work, I was too old. I worked while others played. I also ended up at a state school that was basically a commuter school. No social life on campus, no social life. I got my degree but I never made the life long friends, never had the experiences you can only get in college.
Our DD did get scholarships, did get financial aid and yes a student loan. She did go to a small private Christian college, lived in the dorms and had a wonderful college experience. She has friends that will be friends for life. She got an education and also was sheltered, her choice. We managed, we only have the one. But for her, for THIS child this was the best choice.
I think you have to evaluate both kids as they get closer, what are their goals, how are they academically, can get get scholarship money? Can to focus and do the work at a JC. Some kids can, some can't.



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busypea
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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:39:06 PM
If they are a top caliber student with a realistic chance of getting into a top tier school, I'd go for that first. Many of the best schools - Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Williams, Swarthmore, to name a few - have no-loan policies. I'd look exclusively at those schools. (ETA: I mean exclusively among the top tier schools, not exclusively, period. I would also look at affordable fallback schools.)

If those are not realistic aspirations, then I'd adjust expectations to fit the budget. A certain level of student loans is reasonable, but no way would we encourage our kid to take out huge levels of loans, nor would we take them out ourselves.

I will say that a debt-free education was the best gift my parents ever could have given me. Not being saddled with student loan payments from day one gave me such a huge advantage financially when I was first on my own - and that has carried forward as I was able to save so much more for retirement from my first job onward.

But... as much as you want to give our children everything we can, you cannot mortgage your own future to do so. Your retirement has to be your priority and taking on on huge levels of debt for your kids is not serving your long term interests well.

TXDancermom
AncestralPea

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Posted: 11/14/2012 10:01:17 PM
I tend to agree with your dh - both of mine went to 4 year schools - private colleges. and they both got scholarships from the schools, for what amounted to half the tuition. they both went to small liberal arts colleges, and graduated in 4 years.

I calculated one day what it would have cost to send the kids to an in-state college, and the difference was in the transportation costs (ds went to Indiana, dd to Virginia) and at holidays, the quickest way home was flying. room and board are about the same whereever you go, and with the scholarships tuition was about the same, within a few hundred dollars.

So, what I am saying, is don't count out 4 year colleges until your kids apply and start getting accepted to schools. schools will also help you figure out the paying for it too. and just because the kids take out student loans doesn't mean that you can't help them pay for them later (we are). or like my ds, get a job that pays off those federal student loans.

dd has a friend who graduated a year before her in high school. her parents made her go to a state college and community college. dd graduated from college 2 years ago, the friend should have graduated 3 years ago, and she is still trying to finish - a class or two at a time. I don't know when she will finish.

And bottom line - let your kids decide what they want to do, you can guide them, but they need to be happy with the decision.

pat

peapermint
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 11/14/2012 10:22:58 PM
There are lots of great things about community colleges but I wouldn't "make" a kid go there instead of directly to a 4-year unless they wanted to or we absolutely could not afford it.

I just feel like going straight to a 4-year is a completely unique experience.

I went to a state school with grants, scholarships, and work study 20-30 hours a week and I feel like I got a great, affordable education. That was in the early '90s though.


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pudgy_groundhog
Chubby old groundhog

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Posted: 11/14/2012 11:08:08 PM

If they are a top caliber student with a realistic chance of getting into a top tier school, I'd go for that first. Many of the best schools - Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Williams, Swarthmore, to name a few - have no-loan policies. I'd look exclusively at those schools. (ETA: I mean exclusively among the top tier schools, not exclusively, period. I would also look at affordable fallback schools.)

If those are not realistic aspirations, then I'd adjust expectations to fit the budget. A certain level of student loans is reasonable, but no way would we encourage our kid to take out huge levels of loans, nor would we take them out ourselves.

I will say that a debt-free education was the best gift my parents ever could have given me. Not being saddled with student loan payments from day one gave me such a huge advantage financially when I was first on my own - and that has carried forward as I was able to save so much more for retirement from my first job onward.

But... as much as you want to give our children everything we can, you cannot mortgage your own future to do so. Your retirement has to be your priority and taking on on huge levels of debt for your kids is not serving your long term interests well.
This is pretty much what I was thinking.

I don't there is a clear cut answer for every family. For me it depends on how hard my child is willing to work, what major they are intending, what job prospects will be for them, etc. Our motto is retirement first, then we'll do as much as we can for our daughter (so far we're on the right track - but she is only four, so who knows what the future holds, lol).

I'm very fortunate that my parents paid for my college, but they would not have paid so much if I wasn't serious about graduating in four years or I choose a school that was more of a "boutique" school. Unless our finances fall apart or our daughter has other plans, we are planning on our daughter going to a four year college. There are many ways to get a great education, but my college experience was terrific and I'd like her to have the same.



mlana
PeaFixture

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Posted: 11/15/2012 1:06:23 AM
My HS senior has already been accepted at her chosen school, and she is hard at work on various scholarship allpications. We sat down with her last year and told her our thoughts on where she should go to college. We weren't willing to pay any out of state costs, and we saw no reason to pay for the first two years at an away school when there are a number of good community colleges very close to us. DD had several schools in mind, originally, but she understood our logic. She also knew she could get loans, but we were only going to pay what we had stated, and she was smart enough to know she doesn't want to start her adult life with debt that could have been avoided.

DD did her research and found an instate school that is well respected in the field she wants to major in. It is an away school, but she asked us to consider it because even though it is a good school, the total tuition and lodging should be well within the budget we had set for her. DH and I had also given some thought about the benefits of her living away from home, especially as she will have to do a year abroad as part of her requirements. We will both be more comfortable if she has some experience away from home before she goes abroad.

Another rule we have set is that she has to maintain a certain average to get our help. If she dips below the bar we set, the next year she gets to go thru the loan process and we will only pay after she completes the year with an acceptable gpa.

So far, I am really, really proud of the decisions she's made and the effort she has put forth.

Marcy



TravelAgent
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Posted: 11/15/2012 1:24:11 AM
Here's how my parents handled it:

"We have X amount of dollars to go toward college. After that, the loans and expenses are on you. Any grants or scholarships you can get will go on your side of the tablet." And they gave me on overview of some of the options, like community college, private school but live at home. I chose the dorm life at a 4-year state college because that was my dream.

And it was my bill that came in the mail to pay back those loans for the next 10+ years. It was also my salary that I got from the career I learned, not my parents', so that always seemed fair to me.

And even taking into consideration inflation and rising college costs over the past ... uh, several decades ... my parents had about the same to contribute to the total percentage as you do now. Education is a worthwhile investment, but it's still not an area to make reckless, emotional decisions about. The investment is simply too high to shrug off if it doesn't pan out.

Julie



Darkangel090260
PeaFixture

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Posted: 11/15/2012 1:59:14 AM
My daughter college is taken care of since I never touched my trust fund that my uncle set up for me . The day she was Born the trust was put in to her name with the same rules I had.

As for my Step kids they are pretty much on there own figuring out how to pay for it. The will need loans and grants if they attend. No we can not use the trust for the step kids. It is set up once DD starts collage the trust pays out what is need for the year.

If DD does not go to college then the trust will not be used and passed down the her first child. It can not be used for anything beside Collage.


I have quite a few learing disabilitys that effect my spelling a grammer. I do know my grammer and spelling suck. I have been working on this problem all my adult life.

writermom1
Thrift Whisperer

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Posted: 11/15/2012 5:19:21 AM
Budget.

Teaching kids to spend beyond budget and "hope it all works out" doesn't sit well with me with our kids.

I am also not convinced that a big/name/$$$ school is the only way to get the "best" education.



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sharonmnc
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 11/15/2012 5:21:30 AM
The time to ask this was when you had time to save for college. You can't afford to send your kids to their "dream school" because eventually they will have to wake up and pay for it. My husband and I paid for school loans for 10 years and it was a burden.

If you're talking about shooting for the Ivies, go for it. Those schools make sense to go into debt for and they have huge endowments. A lot depends on their intended major. Few pre-meds actually end up as doctors but engineers usually end up employed. Do not go into debt for a communications or art history degree. It's too hard to pay back . Don't a. Burden your kids with debt and b. jeopardize your retirement.

We had enough to pay for three kids to go to state schools for four years. Two went out of state for five years and the third went in state. It was hard having three in college at the same time but they got out without loans so they have choices and they aren't facing the equivalent of a house payment in student loan debt.

If your kid goes to community college he or she can get an AA which will transfer. They still end up with a bachelor's from a good school.

.


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moveablefeast
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Posted: 11/15/2012 5:39:28 AM

Many of the best schools - Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Williams, Swarthmore, to name a few - have no-loan policies.


This is only half true.

There are a number of schools with no loan policies. Swat and Williams are not among them - Williams due to a weaker endowment than in the past, and while Swarthmore does not figure its aid packages with loans, students can still borrow between $5500 and $7500 per year in federal loans to cover their EFC, and given the cost of those schools it is not unreasonable to assume an EFC in that range for most students middle class and above.

Most of the time, at schools such as those, what happens is that need-based aid is given either without loans altogether or with a modest loan cap. Some students receiving less need based aid will still come out of some of those schools with fairly significant federal loans.

maryannscraps
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 11/15/2012 6:38:40 AM

I don't there is a clear cut answer for every family. For me it depends on how hard my child is willing to work, what major they are intending, what job prospects will be for them, etc. Our motto is retirement first, then we'll do as much as we can for our daughter (so far we're on the right track - but she is only four, so who knows what the future holds, lol).
I'm with pudgy on this one. My daughter wanted to study engineering and had the grades to get into some really great schools. She ended up with an awesome scholarship that brought down the price quite a bit.

Can you get a job once your kids get there? I stayed home with the kids for about 5 years and then went back to work part time while they were in school. Now that DD is away at college and DS is in high school, I've been able to increase my hours, and it makes a difference in the tuition bills.

ksuheather
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Posted: 11/15/2012 6:52:32 AM
First, there is nothing wrong with state schools. I went to a state school and had an awesome experience.

Second, I think the answer is balance. Balance their dreams with budget and the quality of education. Also, they can be working and saving now for college and can work in college. The best thing for my grades was holding down a job in college. It forced me to organize my time.



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hop2
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 11/15/2012 7:01:21 AM
1 inform them now, scholarships are out there but take work/ initiative/time to get.
2 look into if any of the 4 year schools you/ they might consider have deferred admission plans. For example in my state Drew university actually encourages students who plan to go to 2year colleges to apply to them then once accepted defer for 1 or 2 years and work closely with their counselor to get as much transfer credit as possible. They know that the top 12% of HS graduates are offered free admission to their county college here and that is nothing to sneeze at. They can up with this plan to court those top kids rather than loose them during those 2 years.
3 it will heavily depend on their major/ the university and the 2 year school. It can be harder to transfer anything at all in some majors. (architecture, engineering, etc. ) you can loose up to a year with that. on the flip side, your child will have an associates degree and often more practical experience for the job market. So you need to be informed to see if its worth it.Some places just frown upon transfers at all in some majors. So you need to look and ask until you know.

I heavily land on the side of cost saving measures. More often than not the debt is just not worth it.
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