(Closed) Obligation to provide a college education?

posted 10 years ago in Babies
  • poll: Do you feel that parents have an obligation to pay for the college education of their children?

    Yes, of course, to wherever they choose to go

    Yes, of course, but not the most expensive place. I'd pay for a state school (or comparable) only.

    No, no obligation to pay

    Other

    Yes, but only the government mandated sum. (Edited to add this option belatedly)

  • Post # 62
    Member
    548 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2017

    @sulaii …. love that idea about getting your tuition paid based on the grades you make!

    Post # 63
    Member
    806 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2010

    My parents paid 100% for the school of my choice (a top 20 private liberal arts college). 

    If my kids are strong students, I hope to be able to do the same for them, though it seems like the bar for parents gets higher every year as tuitions keep climbing.  I can’t imagine NOT funding the vast majority of undergrad – if I didn’t, either they will start out their lives in significant debt (which I didn’t have to do), or they’ll have to work a lot of hours at the same time as going to school (not ideal IMO), or they will have to “step down” to a school that will offer them a full ride based on academics (it’s not easy to get these unless you are head and shoulders above most of your peers at the school). 

    In my family, this is a parent’s responsibility.  I reaped the benefits and when I have kids, it’s my turn to step up.

    I have to say, though, I wouldn’t pick up the check for a private “not so good” place (like 2nd or 3rd tier) when they could get a decent education for much less at a state school.

    Post # 64
    Member
    2280 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: April 2011

    No, there’s certainly no obligation. Doling out cash isn’t the only or the best way to support kids–I like what @sulaii211 said about performance-based subsidation, which makes the money more valuable than what it’s worth literally. I graduated with a lot of student loans, but that doesn’t mean my parents didn’t “provide” for me, or set me back in life by “saddling me with debt,” or other BS. They gave what they could. They were still great parents.

    I wouldn’t judge anyone because they don’t pay the way for their kids. And quite frankly, I don’t give a damn if you can afford to pay for every cent of your childrens’ college educations–it’s not like you raised an astronaut, you just saved money. Paying or not paying for college is no indication of your parenting skills, or the likelihood of success for your children.

    Post # 65
    Member
    2410 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: July 2011

    The whole issue is so subjective, it is hard to say. I will definitely help my kids out or pay for the whole thing if I am in a position to do so. I will likely send them to University in England anyway just to control costs a bit more.

    Post # 66
    Member
    1145 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2000

    WE feel it’s more important to be financially secure in our own retirement for practical reasons. You can’t get a loan for retirement but you can get a loan for college. We think that’s the more responsible priority for our child, to make sure she doesn’t have to be worried about taking care of either of us in our advanced age. Plus she’ll have our house to sell when we die and our daughter can use that for her financial purposes when it comes time. It’s hard b/c you really want to provide everything but in our case, something’s gotta give. Neither DH nor I had a parent-paid college education due to their hard financial circumstances-went to state university, yes–I even got some tuition waivers for good grades, work study, grants, job with student housing to provide for my housing, and loans-and we came out fine financially, thank God!

    Post # 67
    Member
    7298 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2012

    I think the US needs a better system. Why can’t we be like the Aussies? Most of my friends with degrees aren’t even working in their field. I don’t think parents are obligated because you have people like my sister who can’t make up her mind about what she wants to do and has changed her major 8 times. 

    I’m jealous of all my Aussie friends who have higher income and more holiday time and are less stressed. 

    Post # 68
    Member
    2820 posts
    Sugar bee

    Obligation, no way.

    Super nice, absolutely.  I’m so thankful that my husband and I don’t have any debt and I hope to give my children the same gift.  I want my kids to have jobs as teenagers but I would really like them to start their independent lives free from financial obligation if we can make that possible, we’ll start her own little savings when she’s born to help make sure we can.

    Post # 69
    Member
    2343 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: June 2010

    I agree with those who have said – it shouldn’t be required of parents to foot the bill for anything after their child is a legal adult, but I certainly think it is a great thing to do if you are financially able. Many young people never even consider college because of the financial burden. Those of you who took it upon yourself to pay your way through school are awesome, but not all teenagers have this kind of maturity and determination, and their window of opportunity to change their future might be closed before they attain it. 

    As for what we will personally do – we will save as much as we can, but our kids will be expected to contribute in some way. If they get good grades and earn a scholarship, that would be something we’d reward with footing the whole bill plus living expenses if we are able. If they don’t get a scholarship, then they will have to have a job to help pay for living expenses, but we would cover tuition if we can at all manage it. Saving for our children’s college is definitely a part of our plan along with saving for retirement and maintaining a good lifestyle for our family — hopefully we are able to pull all that off on our income!

    I did have a friend who had a part-time job in high school, and her parents made her put half of her paychecks in a savings account for college. She came out without any debt and I think she valued her education more because she helped pay for it. I honestly wish my parents had done that – I blew my mall job paychecks on makeup and pizza in high school, and now I have student loans from when my parents’ college savings account ran out.

    Post # 70
    Member
    1269 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: January 2011

    Obligation is probably strong but we certainly will be paying for the eduation of our kid(s) who show signs of deserving it.  And yes, we are choosing the amount of kids (and choosing to wait longer) based on what we still want to be able to afford once we have them.  From vacations we still want to take and the type of house we want.  And my being able to quit working to stay at home.

    My parents helped out with college by starting a CD when I was born.  They also helped by buying me a car when I turned 16 but telling me I had to pay it back in the form of saving for college.  Those accounts paid for 2 years of state college.  And then I started working full time and going to school part time to pay for the rest.  And I am debt free!  It starts me off in a completely different place.  However, I feel that if I had more options for college (rather than face mounds of debt) I would’ve selected a different school/career. 

    My husband had to work HARD to get school paid for through grants, his company, and scholarships.  I feel that most people in his position would’ve given up.  He wants our kid(s) to have more of a guarantee of attendance but only if they WANT it. 

    Post # 71
    Member
    875 posts
    Busy bee

    My parents believed that my education was very important, and saved and made decisions to help me stay out of debt as a young person.  I’m really glad that they did so… because the economy has not helped, and I know that I would be having terrible difficulty if I was saddled with tremendous financial debt.  One of my friends in high school had parents who didn’t help her… and at that time, I felt like it was greedy to hunt for scholarships when I was blessed with financial help from my family… (My parents were NOT wealthy people, so I think it’s an interesting point of view.)  I don’t think that you need to feel like you must pay for their choice in locations… if one choice is financially terrible… then you need to let your child know that you want to help, but you also need to be a good steward of your money.  I also believe that it’s important to see that college is not the only way to become an educated individual, and that there are some very valuable jobs that require different talents and skills that can be learned at alternative locations! 

    Post # 72
    Member
    841 posts
    Busy bee

    Nope, I don’t think that it is the parents’ obligation to put their children through school. This is the perfect way for a young adult to assert their independence and get a foot out into the real world. What’s next? Paying your mortgage? Yeesh. 

    Note*: I didn’t say that it is a bad thing for parents or family to offer to pay or help out, I just don’t think it should be an obligation 🙂

    Post # 73
    Member
    2116 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: June 2011

    I don’t think there’s an obligation ever, I think its nice.. but obligatory? no. College is expensive, thats why there are state schools, student loans, and FAFSA

    Post # 74
    Member
    9050 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: June 2010

    I voted other.  I don’t think parents are necessarily obligated to pay for schooling, but it’s nice if they can help.  My parents paid $1000 per year during my bachelor’s degree.  Anything beyond that I won scholarships, took out government loans (which I couldn’t get much, because in Canada what you can get is based on your parents income, and mine are apparently too rich) and worked full time.  I went to a University that’s consistently ranked top 5 in the country, and my husband went to the same school.

    My husband and I will probably save for our children’s education, but I also agree that I appreciate it more because I paid for it.  I went to school with a lot of “trust fund kids” that drove around in Mercedes, partied at their Whistler chalets all weekend, and didn’t care if they failed classes because they’d just pay to take them again as long as they didn’t get on AP two semesters in a row and get kicked out.

    Education is very important to both me and my husband, and we’d love to have any school be a possibility for our kids.  I’m pretty sure we’ll be in the same situation as I was that our kids will have parents that make too much money for them to qualify for anything government funded (grants or the inexpensive loans), so I’d at least like to be able to extend them an interest free loan so they’re not in the boat that I am now, where I’m payin $800/month to my student line of credit forever and barely making a dent.

    Post # 75
    Member
    411 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: September 2010

    I plan to save for my children as they grow up but I do not believe that that money will pay for their whole college education. I fully plan on my children applying for as many Scholarships they are able to find because so many are unused because people do not look for them. I want them to take responsibility for their education.

    Post # 76
    Member
    206 posts
    Helper bee

    View original reply
    @Meealissa: “If you’re rich and you don’t pay for your kid’s undergraduate education then you’re a giant asshole.”

    I have to say that I wholeheartedly disagree with this. My parents, too, are quite wealthy but did everything in their power to ensure that I didn’t expect hand-outs from them. They paid my tuition but not books or living expenses. When I lived at home and wasn’t in school they made me pay rent. I could have been a totally dependent, clueless, spoiled adult, but I’m not – and quite frankly, I see way too many kids from parents in the same tax bracket as mine that are not self sufficient in the least and talk about their parents money like it’s their own. Quite frankly, that whole  attitude is laughable. My parents worked very hard for their money and I think that for me to EXPECT them to finance my entire education would make me the giant asshole.

    If you can afford to help, that’s great. If not, they won’t be the first kids to have to work a little bit harder to get their education.

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