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First College Payments
Old 08-29-2010, 05:22 PM   #1
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First College Payments

Well it finally got here. After saving for my son's college expenses the past 18 years, we just dropped him off at school last week. Just before that, I got the bill for his first term's tuition, room/board, fees, etc. It was kind of an odd feeling to be spending this money. For so long I had been in the accumulation phase, and now for the first time I am in the spending phase. Time flies---if you have young kids and plan on helping them with college expenses, take advantage of time being on your side. Invest early and often.
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Old 08-29-2010, 05:41 PM   #2
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The bill came at the beginning of the summer. We're on a tuition payment plan. About $5000 a month gets sucked electronically from our checking account just like any ol' auto bill pay. So far we haven't had to use any savings.
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Old 08-29-2010, 05:46 PM   #3
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The bill came at the beginning of the summer. We're on a tuition payment plan. About $5000 a month gets sucked electronically from our checking account just like any ol' auto bill pay.
I'm so glad my son who just moved into his dorm room today elected to go to a residential junior college. Total cost for tuition, room and board and books is under $4000 for the semester.

Our other son is younger than typical college age so is living at home and going to community college for a couple of years. Total cost for tuition and books was about $1700.


[All of this is not to say that private expensive universities aren't right for some students. I know that they certainly can be.]
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Old 08-29-2010, 05:55 PM   #4
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[All of this is not to say that private expensive universities aren't right for some students. I know that they certainly can be.]
Especially for wealthy and/or indulgent parents.

Ha
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Old 08-29-2010, 05:57 PM   #5
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Yeah, we made the mistake with child #1 that we would pay for anything. That's what my wife's parents did. I had to work to pay for school. Anyways, my wife said, "You can't change the rules now that she's gotten into college!" Believe me, I tried to change the rules this summer and I am still working on changing the rules.

We are already warning child #2 that we aren't paying for all of it.

At least it doesn't affect early retirement which seems to be the bottom line around here.
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Old 08-29-2010, 06:22 PM   #6
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Especially for wealthy and/or indulgent parents.

Ha
How nice.
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:01 PM   #7
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I just dropped my son off at a state school. Total cost incl tuition and room and board runs $7000 per semester. He worked hard in his senior year in high school and managed to get six scholarships: one for volunteer work, one related to his Eagle scouting award, one for Youth of the Year, two from his school and one from a nonprofit group he works closely with...so the bottom line is we owe $2500 per semester. I told him this summer when he could not find a job (like lots of teens) that he would be better off devoting his time to working on scholarships...did that pay off. He applied for maybe 8 scholarships and got 6...pretty good payoff especially compared to job applications. Now of course he has to get to work on next year's scholarships but there is truth to the idea that many scholarships do go unfilled year to year. That plus picking a less expensive school means that he does not have to go into debt, and he doesn't have to work during the school year which is good since he is doing a double major (part of one of his scholarship deals is that he has to major in one subject which is in addition to the major he planned to take, hence a double major). He loves it there so far and so we are all glad for this decision. It is hard because he was really interested in a private school in the midwest. Their offer was not nearly what he got from the state school and out of pocket would have been triple what we have now. So, we dodged one this time!
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:23 PM   #8
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Congratulations to your son, Stephenandrew. He's a lucky young man.
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:24 PM   #9
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We are already warning child #2 that we aren't paying for all of it.

We did this with Daughter, who went to a state university. Basically put a dollar limit on it and said the rest would have to come from her and loans. She graduated a year ago and in the end, we put more into it than planned, but that's okay. We may help her pay off loans down the road, but not yet...

Regarding the original post, my experience was that one day you are taking them to college for their freshman year and before you know it, you're sitting at the graduation ceremony. They really grow up during that time. Enjoy it.
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:43 PM   #10
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My wife and I saved a lot for our kids' college educations and were able to get through the experience without either us or them taking debt into the post-college years. (They did go into debt for post-bachelors study, but that was always the deal.) I was fortunate that we had the means to save money and that my parents and my spouse's had set the proper example of thrift.

At the moment, I chair a scholarship committee for a local veterans' service organization which gives out $14K per year to graduating HS freshman. It just amazes me when I read the financial statements that accompany the applications how poorly prepared so many parents/students are for the financial end of college. (I live in an area which has great variance in incomes; many of the applicants are sons and daughters of farmers who are barely getting by.) When I read the applications, I just wish we had $140K vs. $14K to disburse every year.

I feel that I did right by my kids but I'd hate to be facing the college situation now where
tuition inflation has so greatly outstripped the pay raises I got when I was working.
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Old 08-29-2010, 10:43 PM   #11
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I went to a state university on scholarship, and when that ran out worked my way through by being an RA and, later, a GTA. Working through school was normal for the vast majority of my classmates. It was an ag school, and nearly half the classes I was in didn't really fill up until after wildfire season was over (lots of forestry students working the hotshot and fire crews) and the wheat/hay crop was in (lots of students from farming families went home and bucked hay or drove combines all summer to earn the money to pay for school).

Most of the folks there had serious skin in the game, in terms of paying their way through school. This also meant that I spent my studying hours surrounded by people who were **seriously** motivated and not afraid of hard work.
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Old 08-29-2010, 10:51 PM   #12
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My daughter graduated in May and I am thankful to be free of tuition payments. Hers were hefty but I had saved from the day she was born and managed to pay for her college without touching my funds for retirement and without her being saddled with debt upon graduation. She was fortunate to land a job in her field in June, has moved out of the house and into her own apartment...etc.....
Many of the graduates aren't finding jobs even after their college efforts.
That's the kicker.
Good advice stephenandrew.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:25 AM   #13
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Time flies---if you have young kids and plan on helping them with college expenses, take advantage of time being on your side. Invest early and often.
It's hard to believe that time has gone by this fast.

I'll put in a plug for service academies and ROTC programs. USNA set a record last year for the number of applicants-- must be either "Go Navy" fervor sweeping the nation or a Great Recession. Our state U's AFROTC program already has a waiting list and even the Army ROTC program is filled.

I found a loophole in college financing. For those of you who bought savings bonds for education (which used to be a good deal in the early 1990s) and have more bonds than tuition, the "excess" bonds can also be redeemed tax-free if they're rolled over into a 529 account. Then the 529 funds can be used for room & board expenses, not just tuition.
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Old 08-30-2010, 05:44 AM   #14
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It's hard to believe that time has gone by this fast.

I'll put in a plug for service academies and ROTC programs. USNA set a record last year for the number of applicants-- must be either "Go Navy" fervor sweeping the nation or a Great Recession. Our state U's AFROTC program already has a waiting list and even the Army ROTC program is filled.
My son wanted to go this route--he applied for an NROTC scholarship, and for admission to one of the service academies. As it tunred out, he was not offered either option. I think this in part was due to a larger than usual number of applicants, but no doubt to the fact that his grades, extra curricular activites, etc. were not on par with the other applicants. I do wonder had he applied, say, 5 years ago if he would have gotten a scholarship. Maybe, but then again, maybe not. I had mixed feelings about his applying---definitely was proud from a number of stand points, but I would be lying if I said I was not worried about his future in the military too.
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Old 08-30-2010, 07:37 AM   #15
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Our oldest just completed his first week at university and we paid for the first semester on Friday. As someone else mentioned, it was very strange to dip into that pot of money that has been on the sidelines for so long. Tuition, room, board and books ran about $8,300 and that's at a state university.

After much indecision as to picking a major, he has finally settled on sports administration. I was a little dubious at first but the more I thought about it the more I liked his choice. He absolutely loves sports of all types and, as we all know, it's a lot easier to go to work in the morning if it's something you love. Besides, sports is one of the few industries around that still has tons of money sloshing around. Could be a pretty good choice after all.

It's no wonder college costs so much these days when you look at all that is available to the students these days. Cable TV and phone service provided in dorm rooms, campus wide wi-fi service, 24 hour fitness center, laundry room e-mails him when his clothes need to be moved to dryer and again when finished, dorm dining room open til midnight, etc. Would have loved to have had these perks back in the day!
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Old 08-30-2010, 08:58 AM   #16
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Hi Btravlin....it is important they do what they love. I'd like to share our story. My oldest stepson went the NCState. After a couple of "faulty" semesters of not knowing what he wanted to do,(he was originally accepted into the engineering dept) he decided on Sports Management. He too loves sports.
Then he got his Masters in it at East Carolina and recieved a small monthly amount while working as an assistant. Once he graduated, I don't know if it was just him, his personality or what....but he was not able to find a job. (I think he thought it would fall in his lap!)
From my observations, it is important that they are willing to relocate to anywhere in the country. My stepson is somewhat shy and unwilling to leave the state of North Carolina....so...there you go. He eventually found an entry level marketing position for a retail athletic company about 6 months ago ($25,000), is still living at home with his mom, age 27....and is not using that Masters degree in Sports Management. There have been opportunities...and now that I think about it ....I think it was as much his unwillingness to do what it takes...as much as anything. It has been very frustrating for both his Dad and myself....as he had some opportunites but would either bomb the interview or was unwilling to move.
On the flip side, know a friend of my daughters who just moved to Texas to get his graduate degree in this field. He does seem to be willing to do what it takes.
In hindsite..my stepson...probably needed more "career coaching" than either his mother or his dad for that matter...provided. Also on the flip side, my daughter graduated in 4 years as an education major in May and landed her first teaching job making $40,000 in Va in June - she is 22. (versus our 27 year old making $25,000 with a Masters in Sports Management) .
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:36 AM   #17
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I went to a state university on scholarship, and when that ran out worked my way through by being an RA and, later, a GTA. Working through school was normal for the vast majority of my classmates. It was an ag school, and nearly half the classes I was in didn't really fill up until after wildfire season was over (lots of forestry students working the hotshot and fire crews) and the wheat/hay crop was in (lots of students from farming families went home and bucked hay or drove combines all summer to earn the money to pay for school).

Most of the folks there had serious skin in the game, in terms of paying their way through school. This also meant that I spent my studying hours surrounded by people who were **seriously** motivated and not afraid of hard work.
Cal Davis?

My wife and I graduated from there. Good school and great memories! I payed using savings, scholarships, working during the school year/summers and a little debt. We have enough set aside in WA GET money to cover state tuition as well as some 529 money for other expenses. If DS wants to go private or post-graduate school it will be on his dime.

DD
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:41 AM   #18
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My oldest son just graduated and got a j*b, but I just dropped off the youngest for his first year, so the bills are still coming for a while. They went to the same out-of-state university, where I don't pay the first tuition bill until September, about a month after they start classes.

Paying college tuition for the first 8-9 years of retirement does add some pressure on the portfolio in those critical first years, but our safety margin seems to have been adequate.
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:43 AM   #19
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Younger son just started 4th year of what looks like a 5 year program. Cost about $8K per semester for tuition & R&B at good state school. Five guys are renting a house together, several, including our son, are music majors. Pity the neighbors, his full drum set in the living room. DS does work and is very diligent, on dean's list, practices all the time, and auditions a lot. Happy, diligent, good kid, probably will never get a job out of all that effort. I see 40 kids in concert and know only 5% will get a job in the music field. Imagine studying finance, education, engineering and only 5% get a job in that area, crazy. But DS loves music and does it all the time despite career counseling from parents about future job prospects: "do you want fry's with that?"
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:02 AM   #20
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I'll put in a plug for service academies and ROTC programs. USNA set a record last year for the number of applicants-- must be either "Go Navy" fervor sweeping the nation or a Great Recession. Our state U's AFROTC program already has a waiting list and even the Army ROTC program is filled.
I know you're a USNA graduate. Just wondering what advice you would give a high school student who had a choice of either a military academy or a scholarship ROTC program at a well regarded college or university. (I did neither, having been in a now-defunct program called "ROC.") I've advised a few young people to think about ROTC before the academies, my point being that ROTC is not such a "total immersion" experience. But I may be missing something and am curious as to what your take is.
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