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Old 07-14-2008, 09:03 PM   #21
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My kids are 13, 8, and 6, so my answer is purely theory at this point.

My savings target is 4 years of of tuition+room+board+fees at an average public 4 year university, which is about $40K in current dollars per kid.

But I'll also be telling my kids that I will somehow make sure they can attend anywhere they can get accepted to. My dad made the same deal for me and my sisters, and if I didn't make the same deal with my kids I'd consider myself a schmuck.

If their college costs less than $40K, they'll get the rest, or it may get passed down to the next kid.

If it costs more, I'll either pay out of pocket and/or cosign student loans.

There will be some sort of profit sharing arrangement with any scholarships they get.

They'll always be welcome to live and eat at home, but after college there will be at least nominal rent in addition to chores and rules. I'm pretty confident that will motivate them to find their own way; probably in a cheap apartment at first, but then that's how I and probably many here started out as well.

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Old 07-15-2008, 12:31 PM   #22
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Nords,

My folks took a different approach to my education, one which worked well for us. Our deal was that they would pay for four years' worth of room, board, and fees at any school I chose to go to.

I was responsible for tuition, books and spending money.

They kept me on their health insurance for as long as possible (until I graduated, as it turned out) and paid for my basic car insurance (if I got in a wreck or got a ticket and my insurance cost went up, I was responsible for the difference between the baseline and the higher cost).

I got a full-tuition scholarship to a state school and so paid my way that way. I didn't apply to any high-end schools and now wish I had (My husband went to a very well-known private university and I think the quality of education -- and more importantly, classmates -- that he got was superior, and I would have thrived in that environment), but the deal with my parents was the same no matter what school I went to. I think that if I'd gotten into a very expensive school they would have helped out as much as they could, but it ended up being a non-issue.

They gave me some spending money my freshman year because they didn't want me working as I made the transition to college. That was a good choice.

How the process worked out was this:

1st year undergrad: scholarship for tuition, mom and dad for living expenses and fees, spending money and books. Mom and dad cover health insurance and, for the second part of the year when I had a car, car insurance.

2nd year undergrad: tuition -- scholarship. Living expenses and fees: Mom and Dad. Books, spending money, gas for the car: part-time job during the summer and school year (about 15 hrs/week)

3rd year same as 2nd.

4th year: tuition -- scholarship. Living expenses -- my job as an RA. Fees, some books -- mom and dad. Spending money, gas, other -- my part-time job at the campus newspaper.

5th year undergrad (yeah, I was one of those) -- tuition, room, board, fees -- covered by my hall directorship. Books, car insurance, spending money -- me, with my jobs' stipend. Other expenses -- me, working as an editor at our daily campus newspaper.

1st year grad school -- tuition, books, fees, room, board -- my hall directorship. All other expenses, including medical insurance and car insurance -- me, working at the campus paper, or at my job as a research assistant at a medical center.

Took some time off here, worked full-time as a research program project coordinator. Saved like the dickens to get back to grad school.

2nd year grad school -- got a TA position, that paid for tuition, books, fees and gave a $500/month stipend, which I used to pay for housing, clothing, food, car insurance, medical insurance. That's the cheapest living I've ever done. I used up my savings from my year off here, too.

End total: A B.S. degree, a M.S. degree, and no debt.


I still don't know what we'll do for our kids, but we've got some time to figure it out. I'm for making them pay part of their way -- my husband feels that if they get into a challenging school and have drive and good grades, we should foot as much of the bill as we're able to. We'll see how it plays out.
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Old 07-15-2008, 05:08 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords View Post
...
We're not funding spring break in Mexico or winter holidays at Aspen. ...
If you don't, who will?

I told mine that I'll pay for spring break trips as long as I get to go too!!!
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Old 07-15-2008, 08:25 PM   #24
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I'm in college right now. My parents were willing to shell out enough to pay for my tuition and room and board. I cover my living expenses through summer jobs and part-time jobs during semester. They also agreed that I could keep any money that I received from scholarships.

One more tip especially for business (especially accounting) and engineering students is to look into summer internships. They pay very well considering you don't have a degree and can lead to a full-time job. I am currently interning at a Fortune 500 company and its been a good experience.
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Old 07-15-2008, 09:11 PM   #25
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We offered both our kids the same deal. As long as you keep your grades up - we will pay for tuition, room and board. They buy books and earn whatever spending money they want. And we don't pay for Spring Break. Both kids didn't work during school, but always worked summers and vacations to earn their bookd and spending money.

We also agreed to pay for their car insurance, as long as there were no accidents or speeding tickets and they kept their grades up.

When DS dropped out of college, we told him he had to find a job, as he would be paying room and board to live at home and also need to pay his other bills (phone, etc). He was already paying his own car insurance, as a result of the speeding ticket he got shortly after his license.

We also added on a "reality fee" to the room & board. It was an extra $200/mo to equate to what it would really cost him to rent his own place - and we put that in savings account for him when he moved out. He lived at home for a year and then moved out. Pays his own bills and hopefully will return to school some day.

DD is another story. She will be a senior (college) this year. One payment left! Yea!! We have already told her that when she graduates, once she has a job, we will sit down with her and go over her budget. Because she is diabetic and has pretty expensive medical expenses, we will subsidize her for a few years - to ensure she has the medical care she needs. But, we will agree on a reasonable budget and then whatever she is short, we will give her that each month. We will refigure each year, when she gets a raise. If she goes over budget - she will have to deal with that. She is very tight with her money - I don't expect that to be a problem. But when I consider what her medical supplies cost each month, I suspect she will struggle for a few years to make ends meet.

I think it is tough for some kids starting out today....depending on major and job opportunities. I am happy to help my kids, as long as it is not expected and is appreciated. When it is and it isn't - then it is time to stop.
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Old 07-15-2008, 10:54 PM   #26
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We're on the west coast, our son goes to school on the east coast. We pay for two round trip tickets home (Christmas break and a trip home after school is out). No spring break in Mexico, no car, but I pay for his phone on my family plan.

DS pays one quarter for his education (a little more than that, actually) through work and scholarships. He has a modest loan each year which will amount to about $20,000 when he graduates. (Funny how that number keeps coming up).

We pay one quarter of the total cost (tuition/fees/room/books) through a monthly payment plan, from our salaries and from income from a rental property. The remaining half is a gift from his deceased grandparents on both sides. Bless their hearts.

This year DS is staying in a dorm but not buying the meal plan--he says the food is expensive and lousy. He will work a few more hours per week during the school year to support himself. He feels he can do this without affecting his gpa (about 3.4 last year).

My parents didn't pay for my college. I was independent of them by age 17. That doesn't mean I think it is a swell idea to raise children like that. I think my son is doing a good job of becoming more independent by taking on more work, getting good grades in school, and by wanting to live on his own during the summer. He's back on the east coast right now, living with friends and working (and not asking for money).
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Old 07-16-2008, 11:38 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by SecondCor521 View Post
My savings target is 4 years of of tuition+room+board+fees at an average public 4 year university, which is about $40K in current dollars per kid.
This is probably the ideal plan for us too. It will give the kid the option to graduate from a "good" school debt-free, and if he wants to go to a private school or whatever, it will cover some of that cost while he learns the value of money (if he hasn't already) and pays for the rest himself through work and school loans.
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Old 07-16-2008, 01:38 PM   #28
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By the by, I gave a wrong figure above. According to the College Board, the tuition+room+board+fees number for an average public 4 year university is $13,589. That is as of last September; they update their numbers annually in the fall. So the real 4 year total is about $54K right now, and that's going up at about 6% annually.

Anyway, the real point I'd like to make is to not trust what anyone is spouting off on a message board and check the numbers yourself with a reputable expert.

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Old 07-16-2008, 02:49 PM   #29
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Thanks for the update, 2Cor521 :-)

I had been ballparking 50K, but I've got a ways to go on hitting that number for kid #1 anyway, but it'll probably be more like 60K by the time I reach that goal. Still, it's an attainable goal.

I'm using a 529 for those savings, the state income tax deduction in NY is nice, and Vanguard administers the plan so I think the expense ratios are reasonable.
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Old 07-16-2008, 11:46 PM   #30
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Although I was among the many of you who
1. "suffered"
&
2. learned a "good work-ethic"
&
3. learned the "value of a dollar" -

I don't necessarily believe #2 & #3 are a direct result/consequence of #1.

Mine doesn't go to college for four more years, & I expect good grades & to learn something that applies a "real" career, but I want and expect her to have a good time (within reason) too.
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Old 07-18-2008, 08:56 AM   #31
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In the case of our two daughters, we established some guidelines:

- They were expected to return home during the summer, work (both had lifeguard jobs at our neighborhood pool) and save for future expenses.
- Both were encouraged to take a few basic courses during the summers prior to their Freshman and Sophomore years. Kept costs down and allowed them to take slightly lighter loads during the school year.
- We would pay all tuition, fees, books, room & board costs for four, and only four, years of school.
- They would be provided an experienced but reliable car to drive beginning their Soph year, provided they maintained a 3.0 or higher GPA. If grades declined, the car was gone.
- We would provide a very modest monthly allowance for gas and spending money. If they wanted more, they had to save from summer jobs or find part-time jobs.
- They were both encouraged to find part-time work beginning the second year of school provided they worked no more than 15-20 hours per week.
- We would not pay for non-essential items (Spring break trips, etc.) nor would we pay for either to join a sorority.

Looking back, I wonder if we (OK, if I) wasn't a little too strict. But they both made it in 4 years, made good grades, got good jobs...and off my payroll!
This is exactly what my folks did with me to the letter. It worked out well for both of us.

I know it can be done, but looking back I'm very glad I didn't have a job while school was in session.
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Old 07-18-2008, 10:09 AM   #32
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I got this from a friend after our kids were through college, however, it sounded like a good plan.

He told his kids they were going to school on student loans. When they graduated he would pick up those loans. If they did not graduate, they were their loans. His first son went for a couple of years and dropped out. When the loan payments started to come due he ask his dad if the deal was still good. It was, he went back to school and graduated. It took our son almost double the normal time to get through school. After the first 5 years we told him he was on his own. It took a girl to get him through.
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Old 07-21-2008, 01:11 PM   #33
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I have no kids, but if I do they will get absolutely nothing. Why would I pay for a four year university education that will yield a poor paying job for them when they can go to a trade school and be making 6 figures 3 or 4 years thereafter? I'd be setting them up for failure - at least where I live.
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:17 PM   #34
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I went to a really cheap college that my parents paid for (with no discussion beforehand of how it would happen--and my father was quite sarcastic every time he sent a check to the college about what else he could be doing with that money). My three siblings barely graduated from high school and did not go to college.

We paid for our kids' tuition, room and board, books, and travel. They worked summers for spending money. One had a partial scholarship, the other a campus job that by senior year gave us an 85% tuition credit (she worked, we benefited). One is now in grad school with a full scholarship and a grant for housing expenses.

Our kids always knew we would pay for their college--I think knowing how college will financially "happen" (no matter what your family plan is, to help them pay for it or not) was important to our kids and helped keep them focused on academics. They had summer jobs in high school but did extracurricular stuff during the school year that brought us all a lot of pleasure.

DH and I have always lived far below our means so we were able to choose to do this. But we know other parents who choose not to and that's fine too--from a kid's perspective I guess it's more important to know either way up front.
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Old 07-23-2008, 01:28 AM   #35
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My kids got their education paid for. I think I broke even on this. DD decided to go for post secondary education at MRC in Calgary in 1999. Did a 'rent vs buy' analysis. Thought I might do a bit better by buying. Put 10K down on 90K condo. A year ago, asking price in the complex was $250K, now $220K. DD is now moving, did I do OK (DD paid most of the payments, one term she worked full time as a full time student)?

Beyond that, I have 2 kids. My SWR is about 2%. Sometime the kids will be glad I've finally croaked. Better them than the SallyAnn.
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Old 07-24-2008, 02:14 PM   #36
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Our little one is a ways away from college. I'm not sure exactly how we'll handle. I want him to have some skin in the game, to hopefully keep him motivated.

If mom and dad are footing tuition AND room/baord, then the kid(s) can surely come up with the rest. I remember stretching the dollars month to month until summer came and I could replenish my savings.
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