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Old 06-02-2014, 06:17 AM   #21
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My grandparents and parents paid for my college so I was determined to pay for our kids.

Our deal was 100% of tuition/room & board at the rate of the local large state school (where DW and I both went). They were responsible for anything more expensive as well as books & expenses.

DD graduated, went to grad school (on her dime) and has a good job. Also a huge saver with a goal of retiring at 40.

DS child just graduated last month & has a job starting soon!
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Old 06-02-2014, 06:21 AM   #22
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DD graduated, went to grad school (on her dime) and has a good job. Also a huge saver with a goal of retiring at 40.

DS child just graduated last month & has a job starting soon!
Congratulations.

If your experience is like ours, you just got the largest 'pay raise' you'll ever see!
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Old 06-02-2014, 07:24 AM   #23
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We've been saving for several years with a plan to cover costs equal to 100% of 4 years of a state college. Anything above that would be on them. So far our children have kept up good grades and scholarships of some kind are a good possibility. As events begin to unfold I can see how our plans will change (who will actually need how much) so we're trying to remain flexible at this point.
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Old 06-02-2014, 08:32 AM   #24
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I had plenty of help. I gave plenty of help. We're all engineers, so we all got good value for our degrees. I'd have been less generous for a degree with no job prospects, mostly in choice of college I think.
I had no help at all. I got scholarship, work study, took the loan and funded my BS+MS but I'm planning to fund 100% of my 3 Kids' college. I'll make them take stafford loan, pay the interest while they're in college and pay the loan in full when they graduate just to keep them in check. DD starts PharmD this fall in state college five minutes drive from my home(I would let her stay on campus first year though..)
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Old 06-02-2014, 08:40 AM   #25
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I have a son starting college this fall and another two years after that, so there will be some years of overlap.

We started saving for their college fund as soon as our first was born and have quite a stash that should cover most of their college expenses: cash, 529, and equity funds.

The last thing we want is to have our sons run up student loan debts (I had $20K loan to see me thru my last 2 years of college - was on the 6 year engineering program after switching my major).

I hated having that loan debt.

I am all for them getting part time jobs and helping with expenses or pocket money for their own 'fun money', gas, their own car insurance, etc.

And if they decide on post grad study - well, then they are on their own.
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Old 06-02-2014, 08:55 AM   #26
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Whether the CC route is a good idea depends greatly on the child's committment to a major. If you want to be an engineer or scientist, it is a waste of time. First, those majors don't necessarily spend a lot of time on "common" courses. Further, they require a great deal of lab work even early in the college experience and CCs don't usually have that available to the degree needed. Now, if a child has no clue what they want to do, then it is a different story. Also, if the desire is to be a teacher, then it is probably a good route.
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Old 06-02-2014, 09:03 AM   #27
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We are another family that "paid it all" - or just about all. DD went to a highly-ranked private school with a work-study and loan requirement ($2.5k per year for 4 years). She worked hard, got a CS degree last year, and was immediately employed - a win! We gave her $10k as part of a family bequest so in reality all she "paid" was a few years of work study (completed with a prof working in her area so in reality a paid internship).
DS went to a large out-of-state public, graduated as an engineer. No cost to him, no loans and got a job (left that job after 6 months but that's another story...).
I and DW had free educations and it was extremely important to us that our kids had the same start in life. If we could not afford the private we would have paid for state school. In this case our DD's education was less costly than a state school (thank you all past donors to this school's huge endowment!!). We try to contribute a little each year. Perhaps if we live to 100 we'll repay them
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Old 06-02-2014, 09:12 AM   #28
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Fortunately we were able to help our two children with college expenses. They both received aid and scholarships.

We continued fully funding retirement and used our HELOC and taxable savings. When they qualified for subsidized Stafford loans we took them with the plan to pay them off before the interest accrued.

The deal was finish school and Mom and Dad pays off the loans. Not finish school and you pay off the loans.

In my son's words, "that was a no brainer."
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Old 06-02-2014, 09:16 AM   #29
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Both of my nieces are civil engineers (one with a BS and is an EIT and the other has her PE as well as an MS). They both did the first two years at a CC and transferred to state university. So it can be done that way. I think it depends on the state and how good their CCs are. They are in NC.

I am paying for my kid (will start junior year in college) - all expenses (including room and board) so far. I have always told my kids that we will do the best we can to help pay their way through school...but that we don't pay for poor grades or degrees we think are not worth the investment (e.g., photography or art history).

My biggest surprise has been with my oldest (younger is still in high school). He was a strong student in high school, did very well on his SATs, took many AP classes, super responsible, overall great kid, etc. He has finished his first two years in college and still is struggling to settle on a major. He started off in engineering and did ok in all his calc classes, etc. But he doesn't love it and has told me he isn't sure he wants to keep going down that path. The next two years will be all upper level math and engineering and he said he can get through it, but he hates it. He also is considering IT or Finance but keeps going back and forth. He is still signed up for engineering classes for fall classes but is leaning towards changing them and choosing a new major. This will add another semester to his schooling, which he will pay for using his savings from his summer/winter jobs over the last few years. I am at a total loss to guide him other than providing him a list of careers/earnings to consider. I also am not sure that just taking a semester or two off will help him decide either.

I can imagine that there are a lot of 20 year olds that are in a similar boat.
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Old 06-02-2014, 09:41 AM   #30
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Whether the CC route is a good idea depends greatly on the child's committment to a major. If you want to be an engineer or scientist, it is a waste of time. First, those majors don't necessarily spend a lot of time on "common" courses. Further, they require a great deal of lab work even early in the college experience and CCs don't usually have that available to the degree needed. Now, if a child has no clue what they want to do, then it is a different story. Also, if the desire is to be a teacher, then it is probably a good route.
I think the amount of frou frou classes depend on the country and state you live in for public schools. Degrees our kids have looked at outside the U.S. require less overall classes to graduate because they skip general ed, while California has what I would consider a significant amount of general ed for all majors in both the state and UC systems. I think the number of general ed, not career oriented classes required at many schools in the U.S are part of the reason for the trillion dollars in student debt. I personally would like it if my gynecologist hadn't had to take classes in public speaking and two years of German. Maybe she could charge me less with less student loans to pay off.

For majors course like computer science these days you could do most of the classes online if you wanted to - you don't need any on site lab. Georgia Tech has a master degree in CS these days that is all online -

https://www.udacity.com/georgia-tech
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Old 06-02-2014, 10:11 AM   #31
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I paid my way through undergrad by doing a coop program (engineering) + getting a few scholarships. Graduated with no debt and only a little help from parents. Is this possible at state schools in the US today? The main drawback of doing the coop program is that it takes an extra year to graduate so the opportunity cost is high.

Regarding taking community college for two years and then transferring -- is it possible to do this for STEM programs? In engineering, we had a fairly rigorous and well defined curriculum -- i do not think a CC transfer would have the right background courses and probably would have experienced a severe shock in difficultly.
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Old 06-02-2014, 10:19 AM   #32
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I paid my way through undergrad by doing a coop program (engineering) + getting a few scholarships. Graduated with no debt and only a little help from parents. Is this possible at state schools in the US today? The main drawback of doing the coop program is that it takes an extra year to graduate so the opportunity cost is high.

Regarding taking community college for two years and then transferring -- is it possible to do this for STEM programs? In engineering, we had a fairly rigorous and well defined curriculum -- i do not think a CC transfer would have the right background courses and probably would have experienced a severe shock in difficultly.
CA community colleges have two year transfer degrees where by law if kids earn the transfer AA, they get priority admission to 4 year colleges accepting the degree and the 4 year school has to come up with a plan so they graduate in no more than 2 more years.

I see many STEM majors on it, but not engineering -

Degrees

A student could be a physics major and transfer to Cal Poly under this plan and graduate in 4 years total. Or be a CS major and transfer to San Jose state for two years and get a job at Apple making $100K after a few years of work experience.

This law was put in place by the legislature, not the schools, to help kids who couldn't graduate in 4 years because the 4 year schools weren't offering the classes they needed or making them pay to take substantially the same classes over again that they already took at community colleges.
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Old 06-02-2014, 10:46 AM   #33
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I have a degree from a private college but transferred about 2 yrs. from a
much cheaper Community college. It never came up as a negative. Took all the into. and general required classes so I would have no prob. transferring them. Even while I was at the private college I took a speech class at the
local community college to save money.
My experience was that the students who partied non stop and had horrible grades were usually being funded by their well-intentioned parents.
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Old 06-02-2014, 11:47 AM   #34
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Regarding taking community college for two years and then transferring -- is it possible to do this for STEM programs? In engineering, we had a fairly rigorous and well defined curriculum -- i do not think a CC transfer would have the right background courses and probably would have experienced a severe shock in difficultly.
Well, around here, I think you would be wrong. At the CCs DS attended they had courses of study for those planning to transfer into engineering. It is laid out very clearly what courses transfer and you can look up the in-state school you plan to transfer to and see what the course will transfer as. Remember the CC is the first 2 years of courses and so is mostly used for the core courses that most universities require.

My son has transferred as a CS major but most of his courses from the CC were the courses that everyone has to take at the university to graduate -- English, history, government, some of his required science courses, etc. He could have taken some of his programming courses at the CC and they would have transferred although in his case he decided to take all of the CS courses at the university. But, the first few CS courses were, in fact, available at the CC. Also the first few semesters of calculus are available at the CC.
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Old 06-02-2014, 11:52 AM   #35
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I went to a community college in the mid 90s for 2 years then transferred to a university for CS. Almost all the general ed type of stuff got transferred over except for a couple of courses that they didn't give me credit for but I was able to make those up in the summer/winter sessions and graduated with a B.S in CS in 4 years. My parents paid for my education and I'm hoping to do the same for DD.

I see several parents here have put conditions like 'we'll pay...as long as they keep their grades up etc' but in reality some of my grades weren't that great (high level math) but my parents stuck with me and I managed to graduate with a good in-demand degree (for back then) and got very decent jobs/salaries etc because I was very good at programming and logic.

My hope is I can help steer/advise DD in the right direction for her major. I picked my own major (with some advice from my older bro's but my parents didn't care as long as it was an engineering degree). I find that computer science is no longer what it once was and with our 'global job market' its hay days are over. I think a good field for DD would be medical or perhaps something similar that can't easily be off-shored.
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Old 06-02-2014, 12:26 PM   #36
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We're budgeting to pay for 4 years at a public school. CC is an option, since they can transfer an associates (as mentioned above) and have it count with the CalState/UC college systems.

We're budgeting for books, tuition, fees, and dorm equivalent expenses. If they get an apartment - we only subsidize what it would cost to be in a dorm. (Shared housing is sometimes cheaper, so we would have to look at whether we split the "savings".

We are not subsidizing spending money. Summer jobs can cover that. This should prevent developing an expensive starbucks habit.

If they live at home and attend locally, we'll give them use of a car - and gift it to them on graduation.

Big strings attached to all this: The major has to have a job-path at the end WITHOUT a masters degree. I will pay for a teaching credential (5th year) if necessary - but that's it. So most liberal arts majors (and some less lucrative science majors) are out.

If they want to go to vocational school instead (plumbing, electrical, HVAC, auto mechanics) I'm fine with that.

This was the deal my parents gave me. I ended up with a BSEE rather than my wish to get a political science degree. I'm ok with that. It was their money and they were being generous. I definitely made more as an engineer than I would have with a poli-sci undergraduate degree.

Masters degrees would be paid for by kid (unless the market takes off and our nest egg grows substantially in retirement.

Kids are only 11 and 13, hubby is already retired, I'm retiring w/in the year... so we've had to calculate all of this ahead of time. We currently have about $68k/kid saved for their college. That money and another 52k/kid of our investible assets are earmarked and not considered as part of the retirement money.
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Old 06-02-2014, 12:28 PM   #37
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I paid my way through undergrad by doing a coop program (engineering) + getting a few scholarships. Graduated with no debt and only a little help from parents. Is this possible at state schools in the US today? The main drawback of doing the coop program is that it takes an extra year to graduate so the opportunity cost is high.

Regarding taking community college for two years and then transferring -- is it possible to do this for STEM programs? In engineering, we had a fairly rigorous and well defined curriculum -- i do not think a CC transfer would have the right background courses and probably would have experienced a severe shock in difficultly.

I'm in NC and recall folks doing 2 year associates "college transfer" program at the nearby CC and transferring to the state university in the same town to pursue an engineering degree. Many were disappointed since the engineering program has specific requirements like "calculus for engineers", "physics for engineers", etc. They were beefed up harder classes that the engineering school required for engineering majors to pass with a C or better to matriculate into a designated engineering curriculum.

If you took the regular flavor of calc or physics (what a business or biology or humanities major might take), you would have to retake the entire course to count toward the engineering graduation requirement (and you had to take the right flavor of calc/physics etc to even be able to take subsequent engineering courses). I think it is so that the engineering program can maintain ABET accreditation for their engineering program (generally a requirement to qualify graduates to take the FE exam and subsequently take the PE exam).

Out of curiosity, I just took a look at the CC's Associate's in Science Pre-major-Engineering. It looks like you spend 2 years getting an AA that will get you maybe 1 year of engineering credit at the university in the civil engineering dept. The comp sci won't transfer to anything useful apparently. And you'll miss another freshman level computer class. You can do the physics and 1st year math (but you should really have that out of the way in HS honestly). But for the second year at university, you'll get virtually nothing from the CC (other than the E+M physics course that will transfer, and possibly 1 elective if you carefully choose it and it fits the uni-approved list). The engineering curriculum has a series of prerequisites that mean if you start at university in year 3 as a junior, but you missed the year 2 pre-reqs, it's not likely you can finish in 4 years without some serious hustling. The CC curriculum skips the 2nd year uni maths that you need as a pre-req, and all of the discipline specific engineering courses that you need going into the 3rd year.

The engineering curricula at my alma mater have very little fat to trim and jump into discipline specific courses early on (in the second year, or 1st year if you come in with some transfer credits or credits from good AP scores). I pulled the Plan of Study for my eventual civil engineering major pretty early in HS and selected high school courses and college release courses that counted toward my major. I managed to finish all my maths, physics, chemistry, and engineering electives (thermodynamics and the euphemistically named "Intro to Electrical Engineering") before I officially started as a full time student in my first fall semester.

The biggest expense for kids going into college is the opportunity costs of a year out of the work force honestly. If you do the CC then college transfer to an engineering program and end up taking an extra year to finish the degree, that's $40-60k you just missed out on, plus a year of experience that would have made you more valuable each year into the future, and you'll get your PE 1 year later (that was a $7500 pay bump for me).

I'll definitely keep my eyes open to the CC option for my kids, but I'm not sure it's a good route here in NC if they are headed into an engineering program.

FWIW, my nephew is doing the 2 year CC option and planning to transfer but I doubt it will be into an engineering program.
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Old 06-02-2014, 12:38 PM   #38
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FUEGO, some states have established a "common course numbering system" to eliminate (or at least reduce) what you describe from happening. This is the system in Texas:

Quote:
The Texas Common Course Numbering System is a voluntary, co-operative effort among Texas community colleges and universities to facilitate transfer of freshman and sophomore level general academic coursework. TCCNS provides a shared, uniform set of course designations for students and their advisors to use in determining both course equivalency and degree applicability of transfer credit on a statewide basis. When students transfer between two participating TCCNS institutions, a course taken at the sending institution transfers as the course carrying the same TCCNS designation at the receiving institution.

To date, 115 institutions of higher learning in Texas participate in the TCCNS project.
TCCNS
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Old 06-02-2014, 12:49 PM   #39
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Texas also has the feature that if one takes too many course hours, then those are no longer charged at the "in-state" rate, but instead get a higher rate:
Tuition and Fee Definitions : Student Business Services : Texas State University
Quote:
Excessive Hours Tuition - Texas Education Code 54.014 specifies that resident undergraduate students may be subject to a higher tuition rate for attempting excessive hours at any public institution of higher education while classified as a resident student for tuition purposes. Texas State students attempting hours in excess of their degree program requirements will be charged at the non-resident tuition rate.(1)
Thus, students who burn up hours in CC need to be aware of this. (Although the quote is from Texas State, it applies to all the public (state) universities in TX.

Brag: My daughter took the FE exam after 3 years of college because the engineering alumni association of her university would pay for it if one passed it and earned the EIT accreditation. My daughter didn't have to pay for it.
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Old 06-02-2014, 01:05 PM   #40
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My parents paid for nearly all of my college expenses so that is what we wanted to do for our children.

We tried to set the expectation that each of our three children would go to college, get good grades and graduate in 4 years. And also that they would work to cover personal expenses. We covered tuition and room and board. Not sure it would be for everyone, but all three came through with flying colors.

Where we had some doubts was the son who wanted to study Art. But he was tenacious about it and now works for a major Hollywood studio and has a dozen or so film credits.

I am trying to set a similar expectation for our grandchildren but I have no idea how well that will work. We are funding 529s for them so we'll see.
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