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MoneyMindedMoms: Kids Aren't Entitled to College Tuition

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Kids Aren't Entitled to College Tuition
Mar 07 2011 08:00 PM | Vicky Collins  in Raising Money Minded Kids -----
Every month, we automatically contribute to our four kids’ 529 plans.

Until recently, we wanted to make it easier for our kids than we had it. Both my husband, Shawn, and I had to take loans out and work many hours during school to pay for our education.

I didn’t want my kids to have to “suffer” like I did.

But I tell you what, I feel like I appreciated my BA more than any of my friends who didn’t have to help pay for their education.

Also, I think Shawn and I really cherish our lives now more so than our counterparts. We worked for our degrees, so it’s almost like it has more meaning or value.

Here’s the thing, contrary to popular belief, it is not a kid’s inalienable right to a free college education.

It may be every parents dream to have their children go to college, but there are scholarships, financial aid, grants, work-study programs, etc.

I know many parents are working hard to save for their kids’ college. If you have extra money, then I say great.

If not, first save for retirement, and make sure you have at least six months in savings. Students can always borrow for college.
Unfortunately, you can’t for retirement.

So, my new thought is sure, I would love to pay for my kids’ college, but I am not going to lose any sleep over it.

And regardless of our financial situation when they enter college, I think they should work part-time to earn their spending money.

Rather than simply give money to kids on a silver platter, I'd like to instill them with a passion to strive.

In the words of Ayn Rand, "The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me."

Vicky Collins is a Jersey Girl who relocated to Austin, TX. She has been married to Shawn since May 1996, and they have four children (Caity, Lexie, Kerri, and Jack) and a shelter dog (Mattingly). Through a recipe of discipline and various financial strategies, she has not carried credit card debt since the mid-90's. Vicky preaches to her friends and occasional strangers that it’s imperative for women to understand and be involved in family money matters, and blogs about it at AskTheMama.com. Follow Ask the Mama on Twitter and Facebook.





4 Comments

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Sandra @ Daily Baah 

08 March 2011 - 07:39 AM
I agree that it’s crucial for us to fund our own retirement, have enough in emergency fund, and put away $ for large short-term purchases (i.e. car) before funding the kids' college tuition. The thing is that both my husband and I were fortunate enough to have parents who paid for our college tuitions. I’m sure we appreciate our degrees as much as you appreciate yours. Since we had the opportunity to finish school debt free, we want to give the same opportunity to our children as well. For us, savings for retirement and college tuition comes before spending $ on anything else. For example, instead of a larger/more expensive house, we live in one that is easily affordable for us.
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ScholarshipMom 

12 March 2011 - 07:24 PM
My husband and I could never afford to save for our children's college tuition and before we knew it, our oldest was applying to the college of his dreams. What I did was to help my son apply for tons and tons of scholarships. As a result, he won enough money to go to college debt-free. It is possible for parents to help your kids go to college without paying for them and dipping into our retirement savings. :) M.M., Scholarship Expert~Collegeparenting.com, http://www.how2winscholarships.com
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Shawnee1 

12 March 2011 - 10:52 PM
Great article! College costs have soared and my husband and I have vowed to help our children remembering the difficulty we had years ago with no help from our parents. We consider it our gift to them to hopefully secure them a debt free start in life with a solid educational foundation so that they can become independent working adults. We are realistic enough to know that in this economy, nothing is a sure bet but we think it is money well spent.
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mtsnorider 

18 March 2011 - 10:29 AM
My husband and I have the thought that... there are loans and grants for kids to go to school. We have told our 2 daughters that school is on their dime so they better do well in high school so they can get scholarships, etc. We have also told our children that when they work in the summer they are to put 1/2 of their paychecks away for college savings. (We own a small summer business that they will be the employees). With their W2 amounts we will also put their earning amount towards a Roth for them each year. This can be used for school if it comes to that point.

Our thought is to help our children clear debt once their bachelor is finished. But, our stance is they have to take college seriously and get decent grades. Life is not easy and they will have to work for their degree. We are saving with the thought that we will help once they are finished... but we won't be footing the tuition, etc., along the way.

If they are lucky enough to have minimal college debt then the $ that we have earmarked for loans can be used as a down payment on their first home, etc.
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