(Closed) How much financial help should parents give college student?

posted 3 years ago in Parenting
Post # 76
581 posts
Busy bee

I was blessed with some of college years getting paid for. Last 2 years I got financial aid (5k) and grants. My first 2 years in community college I paid for myself that was in 2008 when 4 classes a semester was $600! When I moved to university my Mom paid for it and I finished on my own. 

I don’t feel like parents have to help their child(ren) with continuing their education. You’re an adult after all and if you did good job setting yourself up  in high school you get scholarship or saving your money from work. 


Post # 77
112 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

The idea that all students are huge slackers if their parents paid for college is so off base. So is the idea that working a part time job could pay for college. My parents paid for my tuition and I still had a part time job throughout school to pay for my living expenses. There is no way my part time job could have paid for my tuition. I worked extremely hard in school because I didn’t want to disappoint my parents who were spending their hard earned money on me. I paid for my own grad school tuition. My husband and I don’t have any student loans and our lives are SO different than all of our friends who have $100K of student loans. I would never want to set my kids up so that they are working 3 jobs throughout their twenties to pay off their student loans.

Post # 78
9818 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

If parents can help pay without sacrificing their own retirement or finances then I think they should.  It’s a lot easier for young adults to start off with no/low loans than $80k in loans (or more).  My parents paid tuition, books, and my rent (which wasn’t much – $300/mo).  I had a part-time job to pay for the bills, food, and anything else I wanted.  It depends on the situation, if the child is able to work then I would like them to have a part time job although I know with certain school programs that isn’t always the best case.  But I also don’t want to have an entitled kid who expects me just to pay their credit card bill full of junk (like some people I knew in college- dad paying for their $200 bar tab every week).  Teaching them to budget and be responsible is also part of parenting.  But that being said, if you can’t afford it yourself or it would affect your retirement I definitely think you should not be taking on the burden.

Post # 79
3520 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

If tuition and room are paid for I don’t know what else they’d need. Personally I wouldn’t give an 18+ year old money for clothes or casual spending, unless there was some reason why they couldn’t work or could not get a job. There’s no reason most college students can’t work part time.

And since most people seem to be sharing their experiences — I graduated high school a year early, then went to community college (which FAFSA and my parents paid for, as I was only 17 and they had enough money for my CC tuition) and finished there a year early as well, putting me 2 years ahead.

So while living with my parents  (which is what I am most thankful for) I took a year off and saved up about $18,000 to apply to my last two years of school. I got academic scholarships and a little from FAFSA, which combined covered about 50% of my tuition, meaning I had more than enough money. My parents helped pay for things like car issues and medical. I continued to work 3 days a week and go to school 2 days a week my junior and senior years. Instead of graduating with loans, I graduated at 21 with $6000 in savings.

Post # 80
1272 posts
Bumble bee

As much as the parents want to. Mine were very generous and covered everything but the maximum federal loans I was able to take, so I only ended with 12K in debt, and I imagine the total cost of my 4 year degree was around 100K (my parents were able to pay my first year in cash because they had been saving since I was a baby for my schooling). Not all parents have as much to give as mine do, nor does everything think it is appropriate to give so much. Even that 12K has been hard for me to pay off because I graduated after the beginning of the recession and couldn’t find work outside of retail/food service for the first five years. So I am grateful for all my parents helped me with.

Post # 81
1863 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

My parents covered my car insurance, cell phone and let me live at home for free during two years at a community college. I had to pay for tuition, my grandpa had set money aside for books. Worked the whole way thru school and applied for every scholarship and grant I could apply for, lived with family when I transferred to a university and graduated with no student debt, and summa cum laude with a job. I’m planning on the same for our kids. Helping with basic living expenses but school is on them. It made me appreciate everything a lot more. 

Post # 82
4229 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2015 - Hotel Ballroom

All my parents did for me financially was co-sign on my student line of credit. I wasn’t elligable for government based student loans because my parents techniclly made enough to make me ineligable…but refused to sign the paperwork saying they had no intention of paying for my school (which would have then qualified me for assistance). I held down various part time jobs in college, and sometimes even had to rely on the kindness of friends to get by. I (of course) found time to get some partying in…my sacrifice was sleep.

The kicker is my parents DID have a college fund for me, but because we didn’t get along they refused to give me access to it. 

Post # 83
550 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

My parents paid for tuition, a plan at the dining hall, fees, etc. but I always relied on money from summer jobs (before freshman year) and internships to pay for all of my other expenses – books, going out, etc.

My parents were in a position where they were able to help out in that way and they didn’t want me to spend years paying back student loans like they did, which looking back now I REALLY appreciate.

I’d like to be able to do something similiar for my kids, but I would hope they wouldn’t expect it.

Post # 84
757 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I think it’s very weird to draw parallels between who pays for your uni and how you study. I have never seen any correlation, nor did I ever ask anyone aside from close friends how they finance their studies. How do you know who pays for whose studies??

My Fiance is upper upper middle class so a very wealthy old money family. And he took out a loan for his studies. And he did just fine, although he switched programmes and unis several times. 

My family is of modest background, but they paid for all my studies and rent. At home and abroad. And I have earned 4 degrees from top universities by the age of 22.

Its nice if parents what to help out, it’s OK if they can’t. It has 0 impact on how people study.

Post # 85
943 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

View original reply
Carolsays :  it’s not the parents’ responsibility to pay for college. If they can foot the bill (or part of it), great. If not, it’s the student’s responsibility. 

Post # 86
249 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

My parents didn’t pay for anything. However, my mom had to co-sign my schooling loan thru the bank.

I worked all thru university- not enough to pay off tuition every year, but after- I worked hard and had that loan paid off in 2 years! Looking back- it was pretty amazing- with the minimum wage job I had.

I won’t be giving any amount of money to Dear Daughter if she decides to go. I’ll do the same thing my mother did- it sure was a harsh reality of becoming an adult. But I learned and grew quickly- I’m thankful for that.

Post # 88
54 posts
Worker bee

I received about 35k a year in grants/scholarships, took out about 8k yearly in federal loans, and my parents covered the remaining 8-12k (changed yearly depending on living situation) using my father’s 401k. I still feel really guilty about the 401k as that was about 25% of my father’s savings. It definitely comes along with the expectation that hopefully I’ll be able to return the favor when they retire. Parents also paid for phone bill, car insurance (minimal as I attended a university that was 250 miles away and didn’t bring a car with me), and health insurance. My grandparents would give me about $500/year for books, which I really appreciated.

I used money that I earned during the summer for anything else, and paid for my own ultities when I lived off campus. I also got a campus job during my senior year since I did a semester abroad that drained my wallet, and I really enjoyed it/found it rewarding. I definitely would not have been able to handle a job earlier in college, though. Would have been too overwhelming for me personally.

Ideally, I think parents should help as much as they can. My parents feel guilty that they weren’t able to pay for my education in full, but I’m so incredibly grateful for all of their help. I graduated from the best program in my field at a 55k/year with 35k in loans, which I really don’t think is too shabby. I don’t think that parents should ever go into debt for their children’s education. My cousin AND my aunt & uncle take out 15k for him to go to school. I can’t imagine saddling my parents and myself with 60k in loans (most of them private!) to go to school. On the other hand, my bf’s mom was struggling to get the remaining 5k she needed for his final semester at school, and refused to let him take out any loans. She kept on crying to me about this 5k, and all I could say was let the boy take a loan! 5k won’t kill him! My loans have also helped me earn credit, and have made me more financially responsible overall.

Post # 89
1286 posts
Bumble bee

I moved out of my parent’s home at 14, lived in the system for a while before moving in with my “foster” mom (my sister’s best friend’s mom took me and my sister in). I paid 100% of my school, car, livelihood with a little help with financial aid, scholarship, but mostly from my full time job. I think it gives you quite a bit of work ethic and appreciation to pay your own way through school.

Post # 90
1104 posts
Bumble bee

View original reply
Carolsays :  have you ever read The Millionaire Next Door? you might find it super interesting! assuming parents have the ability to pay for college, i think it’s reasonable for them to shell out for tuition and room and board. if they cannot then kids should go to community college for two years and then transfer to a public four year school. 

beyond the basics, that is up to the parents, but there is a decent amount of research that shows that kids who are given regular amounts of money, in decent sums, don’t fare as well as their counterparts who are given sporadic help that they don’t feel they can completely bank on. 

for reference, i went to high school in a very wealthy town and i went to an elite private college. my parents paid for tuition and room and board, but they made it clear to me that it was a huge sum of money, and that there was a limit to what they could afford. they expected me to pitch in, and i was not given fun money. i worked at least 20 hours a week during college, had scholarships, and graduated in just three years with great grades. i never relied on my parents for money after i graduated. i have many many many peers who are still reliant on their parents. they tend to be the kids who didn’t work at all, studied abroad, traveled during summers, had unpaid internships, etc.

i’m nearly 30, and i can honestly say that of my peers i’m unusual in that i’ve always supported myself. my parents are very generous! they unexpectedly paid for our wedding and gave us a lovely monetary gift! however, i don’t expect them to pay for things. the same cannot be said of many of my more “taken care of” peers.  

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