How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

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How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby texasdiver » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:03 pm

A recent New York Times article suggesting that high levels of parent support can hurt college grades: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/15/educa ... ades.html/ got me thinking about how my wife and I should approach college education for our daughters. I have not run the numbers but I suspect that our income level will likely exclude us from most financial aid, even subsidized Stafford loans. So that puts us in kind of a bind.

My parents paid for half the out of pocket costs of my college education at an elite private school back in the early 80s and I paid for my half with a combination of Stafford loans and work study. I graduated with about $10 grand in student loan debts which I deferred interest free for a couple years to do the Peace Corps and then paid off in 3 months time after returning to the US by working on a fishing boat in Alaska. My subsequent graduate school studies were completely paid for by teaching and research assistantships so I never had to borrow more and my parents never had to contribute anything for grad school. I'm not sure my daughters have that sort of option in front of them. If subsidized loans are unavailable then their choices for paying "their share" are basically unsubsidized loans and/or working long hours in service jobs in restaurants or retail. I am kind of loath to expect them to take out unsubsidized loans that begin to accrue interest from day 1 and I'm also loath to expect them to work massive hours at low wage while in college. So how does one realistically get one's child to put "skin in the game".

Living in a college town (home to a large affluent private university) what I do see is an enormous disparity in the level of "lifestyle" support by parents of college students. Many are cruising around town in expensive late model cars and living in expensive luxury apartments (there is a whole new market in luxury apartments that is cropping up around big college campuses that provide astonishing amenities to students). And of course I see many many other college students driving beater cars or riding bikes and working long hours to make ends meet.

My own inclination at this point is to expect that my wife and I will be providing for most if not all of the fixed expenses associated with undergraduate college education (tuition, dorms, books, computer etc.) and expect the girls to fund everything else themselves (car, clothes, recreation, etc.) by working on the side. 15-20 hours a week of work seems reasonable for a student but then what do I know. There will be no emergency credit card provided by mom or dad. I want to see them graduate from college without much debt but also learn live frugally and within their means. However, if they decide to go on to graduate or professional school they are more or less going to be on their own. Taking out loans for medical school is an entirely different financial proposition than taking out loans for an undergraduate degree in art history or some such.

I'm curious how other bogleheads have approached this. It seems that times have changed to some extent compared to 30 years ago. It just doesn't seem realistic for higher income families to expect their kids to pay for a substantial portion of their college education when all the subsidized defer-able loans and need-based grants are going to be unavailable and it doesn't seem realistic to expect college kids to pay a meaningful portion through low paying service jobs. I'm trying to figure out where one draws the line and expects the kids to contribute to their college education without driving them into extreme debt or into working so many hours that grades and college experience suffer.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby livesoft » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:05 pm

Frankly, I paid for almost all my private college expenses by working and some grants. I expect my kids to do the same.

My spouse had her parents and SS pay for all her private college expenses, so she expects us to pay 100% for our kids college expenses.

Guess who wins on this?
It's all about short-term opportunistic rebalancing due to a short-term change in one's asset allocation, uh, I mean opportunistic rebalancing, uh I mean rebalancing, uh I mean market timing.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby pennstater2005 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:11 pm

livesoft wrote:Frankly, I paid for almost all my private college expenses by working and some grants. I expect my kids to do the same.

My spouse had her parents and SS pay for all her private college expenses, so she expects us to pay 100% for our kids college expenses.

Guess who wins on this?


Mrs. Livesoft?
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby texasdiver » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:14 pm

livesoft wrote:Frankly, I paid for almost all my private college expenses by working and some grants. I expect my kids to do the same.


As did I for the most part. I think my parents (school teacher and nurse) kicked in about $2 grand/year for me to attend an elite private college. But times have changed to the point that the same education that was costing my family about $5 grand/year for tuition, room, and board after financial aid grants in the 1980s is now going to cost $55-60 grand/year. And due to our income level, most grants and subsidized loans are going to be off limits. How does an 18 year old realistically generate $60 grand a year to pay for college and living expenses without going ridiculously deep into debt and working astonishingly long hours in service jobs?
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby livesoft » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:17 pm

Well, they don't go to such a college that costs that much. There are plenty of colleges at half that rate.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby mlipps » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:24 pm

I graduated college in 2011. I worked about 20 hours a week while in school, plus around 5 hours a week of volunteering and graduated with a respectable, if not spectacular GPA. I've had no trouble finding a job since. I worked on campus jobs while in school, which meant I got experience in a professional office setting, rather than working retail, etc. (not that there's anything wrong w/that, just a different skill set). Personally, I think it'd be doing your kids a disservice not to expect them to work. The friends I had in college who didn't work while we were in school have really struggled to get a job since graduating. When you're hired for your first job out of college, your GPA (depending on major of course) probably matters for maybe 20% of the consideration and your work experience closer to 50% (with the rest being made up of having a decent resume/cover letter). I think you have to have a balance of course, but your kids need to work to have a good shot at getting a job in today's world.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby MathWizard » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:24 pm

We pay tuition and fees, about $10K, which is about half the expected cost at an in state Univ.

We town where the kids are going to college, so we have offered to let the kids stay/eat at home
so they would not have that cost. The oldest took us up on one year of that. The youngest
will be staying in the dorm the first year, we will see what happens after that.

So if they don't stay at home, they would be paying for about half the cost.

They are driving 12+ year old cars that I have kept in good shape.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby texasdiver » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:30 pm

mlipps wrote:I graduated college in 2011. I worked about 20 hours a week while in school, plus around 5 hours a week of volunteering and graduated with a respectable, if not spectacular GPA. I've had no trouble finding a job since. I worked on campus jobs while in school, which meant I got experience in a professional office setting, rather than working retail, etc. (not that there's anything wrong w/that, just a different skill set). Personally, I think it'd be doing your kids a disservice not to expect them to work. The friends I had in college who didn't work while we were in school have really struggled to get a job since graduating. When you're hired for your first job out of college, your GPA (depending on major of course) probably matters for maybe 20% of the consideration and your work experience closer to 50% (with the rest being made up of having a decent resume/cover letter). I think you have to have a balance of course, but your kids need to work to have a good shot at getting a job in today's world.


That is an exceedingly good point. I suspect the work experience is even more valuable than the money in many instances. It seems that 20 hours is very reasonable. But 20 hours a week in a service job or on-campus office job is only going to generate about $500/mo. or $5000/year after SS, medicare, taxes, etc. are deducted. That is barely even going to make a dent in the cost of college education these days.
Last edited by texasdiver on Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby northernisland » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:31 pm

It was interesting to read that article. There were two caveats that were noted that are important: (1) parents paying does increase graduation rates, and (2) the disparity was not as strong at elite schools.

I taught at a small college (not very good) and I can see where the study came from. There are a lot of students who are just looking to pass and for them more money = more fun + less work. My parents paid for most of my undergrad, for which I was very thankful. I worked during grad school/PhD and came out debt free, which is pretty rare in my areas. I also took every opportunity to learn languages, do internships, etc., and these were possible in part because of parental support. This study was a little more complicated than it appears.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby ks289 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:33 pm

Op,
I share your goals of paying the basics for tuition/living expenses for undergraduate degree. I agree about trying to draw the line on extras (entertainment, travel, stuff, summer activities, extra semesters!).
In an ideal world, a good chunk of any time spent working during these years would provide valuable academic or career experience (teaching assistant, funding for research, paid internship, etc).
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby MnD » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:33 pm

- 0% of tuition, fees, room, board, books, and a frugal level of misc. expenditures not to exceed the costs for this at the mostly costly/flagship in-state State U.
- Any amount above that is their sole responsibility - no family loans or co-signed loans for over and above costs.
- No "rebate" if costs are lower except the "scholarship rule" below.
- 8 semester limit, must "go away" to college - no living at home + commuter college.
- No reduction in support for jobs during summers or part-time work during the school year - they get to keep and hopefully save most of that income.
- If they apply for and receive any merit scholarships other than ones granted by the university as part of initial admission offer, they keep 50% and I benefit 50%.
- If they have exclusive access to a family vehicle at school they pay gas, insurance and maintenance.
- No family financial support after August following their HS graduation if they "opt out" of college or want a year off. Move out and Bank of Mom and Dad is closed.
- No family financial support following college graduation or eight semesters paid, whichever comes first.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby Rodc » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:38 pm

Like so much in parenting "it depends".

The path that works for one child may be terrible for the next. If your child is hard working and dedicated it might be best to cover all or most of the expense, maybe they cover spending money. If the child has some learning difficulty, say severe dyslexia, and are hardworking (likely true if they have significant difficulties and still made it to college), a full ride other than say spending money is likely best (truth in advertising, my oldest was in this this boat, did not learn to read until age 13, but by her last year in high school had moved entirely out of special ed, finished college in 4 years with good grades through dedication and great time management). On the other hand, if the child is a slacker prone to partying, having more on the line may be best.

Our first got a full ride to the state U, other than her spending and travel money (she did a year abroad and traveled a lot). She worked part time to earn some spending and travel money, and full time in the summer.

Her much younger brothers we'll have to wait and see. But we are planning to be in a position (and we are close to there through savings earmarked for college) to provide the same deal to them: full tuition, room and board, and books to state U. If they want to go private or out of state they will need to cover the difference, preferably though earning scholarships.

I personally think having kids have some skin in the game is a good thing in principle, especially for kids with marginal dedication to their studies. But we can easily do more harm than good if they come out of school with massive debts if we have the means to reasonably pay for college.

I personally think there is more than one way to "have skin in the game". It could be loans, could be a part time job, it could be earned merit scholarships (which often take rather more work and dedication to earn than a simple minimum wage part time job). To continue to earn a scholarship a student has to maintain hard work and discipline so as to maintain a solid GPA. That may well be more motivational than a part time job. We had an fairly recent similar thread (though on grad school) where some folks did not think earned scholarships counted as the students contribution, so this is not a universal opinion.

As to getting jobs after graduation the number one thing they can do is internships or co-ops off campus as they often turn directly into full time professional jobs, rather than work study positions on campus which almost certainly will not turn directly into jobs. I highly recommend all students try to get such positions. We hire that way, my daughter got hired that way.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby texasdiver » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:47 pm

MnD wrote:- 0% of tuition, fees, room, board, books, and a frugal level of misc. expenditures not to exceed the costs for this at the mostly costly/flagship in-state State U.
- Any amount above that is their sole responsibility - no family loans or co-signed loans for over and above costs.
- No "rebate" if costs are lower except the "scholarship rule" below.
- 8 semester limit, must "go away" to college - no living at home + commuter college.
- No reduction in support for jobs during summers or part-time work during the school year - they get to keep and hopefully save most of that income.
- If they apply for and receive any merit scholarships other than ones granted by the university as part of initial admission offer, they keep 50% and I benefit 50%.
- If they have exclusive access to a family vehicle at school they pay gas, insurance and maintenance.
- No family financial support after August following their HS graduation if they "opt out" of college or want a year off. Move out and Bank of Mom and Dad is closed.
- No family financial support following college graduation or eight semesters paid, whichever comes first.


I don't have rules thought out to the same degree as you do but I'm basically thinking along the same lines give or take. The oldest is still 4 years away and the middle child is 9 years away so we have some time yet.

One twist that I'm not sure how to deal with is that my kids are so different. Oldest child is more of an average student socialite/athlete type for whom the big state school experience will probably be about right. I can see her cruising through as an average student and then landing some business job on sheer force of personality, charisma, and social contacts she makes in college. Middle child is an extremely bright introvert who will probably benefit and thrive in a more intimate and challenging private school environment and then going on in some research or academic field. For the oldest child college is likely to be a temporary way station on the way to some sort of business career. Not much more than a ticket to be punched. For the middle child it may define her life to a much greater degree and choice of an institution may be a much bigger deal. It's hard to know how to be fair about these things.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby wesleymouch » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:56 pm

We have funded our child's college via a 529 in its entirety (state school only). We only have one child so it is doable. I am not sure that college will be a great investment for all kids going forward. Certainly taking on debt to fund it may be counterproductive. In particular, many graduate schools such as Medicine are likely money losers going forward.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby Rick Ferri » Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:00 pm

I paid, but I had rules:

1) The Bank of Dad closes in 4-years, i.e. you've got 4 years to get a degree on my nickel.
2) College is the only inheritance you're getting from me. Don't blow it.
3) You're earning a degree in a subject where you can get a job and have a career.
4) No body piercings or tattoos while I pay the bills.

It worked. All three 20-something children finished in 4 years and they're all progressing well in their chosen careers (and off my payroll). The only one that didn't work was #4. That 's a loooong and very sore story.

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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby livesoft » Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:18 pm

Yes, Mrs Livesoft won. But child does work at school and contributes to Roth IRA.

As Rodc wrote "it depends."

As for kids being different, we all know that is true. What works (or will work) for one, may not work for the other. As for the "introvert", it might be better to NOT send them to a school where they can continue that behavior. Only let them go to someplace where they have to be extroverted. :)

As for body piercings, too late. And I wonder if Mr Ferri ever showed his kids all his tatoos? I have met Mrs Ferri and I wonder if she had body piercings when she was younger. I'll ask her next time I see her.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby HueyLD » Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:24 pm

livesoft wrote:As for body piercings, too late. And I wonder if Mr Ferri ever showed his kids all his tatoos? I have met Mrs Ferri and I wonder if she had body piercings when she was younger. I'll ask her next time I see her.

I don't see anything wrong with body piercings for women, especially in their ears. Heck, it is even o.k. for men.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby Toons » Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:25 pm

At least half :happy
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:31 pm

My parents paid the undergrad freight for me, but I still had to work 20+ hours a week for those incidental expenses - you know, clothes, dating money, food, etc. One of my other siblings had undergrad paid for, didn't work past sophmore year and became an MD - so NYT article doesn't hold much water with me. If the kid is motivated, the kid will find their way in life - and you all know my opinion on this "having skin in the game" nonsense. That's just a cop-out. You do what you can, and if you aren't able to, you don't.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:36 pm

HueyLD wrote:
livesoft wrote:As for body piercings, too late. And I wonder if Mr Ferri ever showed his kids all his tatoos? I have met Mrs Ferri and I wonder if she had body piercings when she was younger. I'll ask her next time I see her.

I don't see anything wrong with body piercings for women, especially in their ears. Heck, it is even o.k. for men.


Yes - including the latest models: Big Hole Earrings - where you can see clear through their ear lobes. :shock: Some dude at the local grocery store was sporting one until the complaints to management by the customers became so frequent, they gave him an ultimatum - change them into something more demure or be fired. He's still employed and now sporting diamond studs.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:40 pm

Rick Ferri wrote:I paid, but I had rules:

1) The Bank of Dad closes in 4-years, i.e. you've got 4 years to get a degree on my nickel.
The Bank of Grand-dad never closes. :wink:
2) College is the only inheritance you're getting from me. Don't blow it.
That's fine. Are you free for baby sitting?
3) You're earning a degree in a subject where you can get a job and have a career.
4) No body piercings or tattoos while I pay the bills.

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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby allsop » Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:44 pm

I do not expect to pay much much in fees for my children to attend higher education, but on the other hand I do not live in USA where the higher educations fees increases without bounds (or so it seems) with little to show for higher income after graduation in recent years.

Edit: This is a real concern for us, along with cost-effictive medical care for the long term.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby rustymutt » Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:44 pm

I paid for my first year and half, and after that my employer paid the remaining expenses. I worked at the same time I went through, and don't regret doing it this way. The fact that my employer wouldn't pay, unless my GPA was 3 or higher helped me study. After 20 years I got my degree.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby papito23 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:56 pm

My parents could reasonably work themselves through college with their noses to the grindstone (considering wages for menial jobs, tuition, cost of transport, etc), perhaps with a few loans paid off in a couple years. That would have been impossible for me. This question is 16 years away for me, but it seems a very poor use of time to slave away every last hour making minimum wage when those are key periods for career exploration, networking development, attending conferences and presentations, etc. Especially when the degree is expected to yield a wage at least 2x+ higher in just a few years (hence the point of loans). Several of the recommendations here of working for pocket money (10-20 hrs/wk) seem very reasonable.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby Dave76 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:02 pm

Rick Ferri wrote:3) You're earning a degree in a subject where you can get a job and have a career.



So, the purpose of college is to pursue a career, not an education. Is it any wonder why so many young minds are impoverished?

Today's colleges and universities are nothing more than glorified technical schools. The launch of Sputnik ruined higher education, and I think an overhaul is long overdue.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby sscritic » Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:05 pm

Dave76 wrote:
Rick Ferri wrote:3) You're earning a degree in a subject where you can get a job and have a career.

So, the purpose of college is to pursue a career, not an education. Is it any wonder why so many young minds are impoverished?

Today's colleges and universities are nothing more than glorified technical schools. The launch of Sputnik ruined higher education, and I think an overhaul is long overdue.

Careful. You may have crossed a line. A previous thread on this exact same article was locked. To quote our fearless leader:
The "personal" and "actionable" requirements are there to avoid exactly this type of thread which, prior to the enactment of these requirements, typically resulted in a low number of useful posts and an undue and unnecessary amount of ill feelings and intemperate exchanges.

To be clear, if you have a college-bound child, you are welcome to ask for advice on funding their educations. That would be both personal and actionable.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby crowd79 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:16 pm

None. I fully believe kids need to be taught financial responsibility at a young age, and should work and save while in their high school years and during summer breaks as well as paying your way thru college with part-time work. Studies show kids that pay their own way through school take their education more seriously (since it's their money and loans) and are more financially disciplined through life. They can also attend school in their own hometown for a yr or two (to get in their liberal studies credits in) after high school and live at home for "free" before transferring to another college. This is how I did it...
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby Dave76 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:16 pm

Okay. Thank you for the warning.

If the cost of college is a concern, it may be best for the child to live at home and commute to a state school.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby lovenox11 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:22 pm

They will probably pay 30k/yr; total of 120k

But I will not pay for them. I will do everything to set them up academically to succeed (i.e. good middle/HS helping them get scholarships). Then they will take out loans to cover the rest and learn financial responsibility of having debt.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby lovenox11 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:26 pm

crowd79 wrote:None. I fully believe kids need to be taught financial responsibility at a young age, and should work and save while in their high school years and during summer breaks as well as paying your way thru college with part-time work. Studies show kids that pay their own way through school take their education more seriously (since it's their money and loans) and are more financially disciplined through life. They can also attend school in their own hometown for a yr or two (to get in their liberal studies credits in) after high school and live at home for "free" before transferring to another college. This is how I did it...


It's impossible to save up $100k to pay for college as a high school student. A lot of comments here come from people who went to college back in the day when a year at state school was $2k. Those days are long gone. Therefore there is not much motivation to work your butt of in high school to save up that 5-7k that will make absolutely no impact on the actual cost of education.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby crowd79 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:28 pm

lovenox11 wrote:They will probably pay 30k/yr; total of 120k

But I will not pay for them. I will do everything to set them up academically to succeed (i.e. good middle/HS helping them get scholarships). Then they will take out loans to cover the rest and learn financial responsibility of having debt.


+1. If they do well, then they'll get the reward of a nice car out of high school as a graduation gift, etc.. It's how my parents treated and taught me...
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby allsop » Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:29 pm

Dave76 wrote:Okay. Thank you for the warning.

If the cost of college is a concern, it may be best for the child to live at home and commute to a state school.


Costs, of any kind, is a very real concern that is embedded in the Boglehead firmware.

Some of the costs are far in the future and even more hard to predict, and some of these "predictions" are frowned upon.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:32 pm

crowd79 wrote:
lovenox11 wrote:They will probably pay 30k/yr; total of 120k

But I will not pay for them. I will do everything to set them up academically to succeed (i.e. good middle/HS helping them get scholarships). Then they will take out loans to cover the rest and learn financial responsibility of having debt.


+1. If they do well, then they'll get the reward of a nice car out of high school as a graduation gift, etc.. It's how my parents treated and taught me...


Who paid for the car insurance and gas? A car can take you places horizontally with ground permitting. A mind can take you to places a car can not.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby DTSC » Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:41 pm

Rick Ferri wrote:I paid, but I had rules:

4) No body piercings or tattoos while I pay the bills.

Rick Ferri


Not even one that says "USMC"?
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby Dave76 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:42 pm

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
crowd79 wrote:
lovenox11 wrote:They will probably pay 30k/yr; total of 120k

But I will not pay for them. I will do everything to set them up academically to succeed (i.e. good middle/HS helping them get scholarships). Then they will take out loans to cover the rest and learn financial responsibility of having debt.


+1. If they do well, then they'll get the reward of a nice car out of high school as a graduation gift, etc.. It's how my parents treated and taught me...


Who paid for the car insurance and gas? A car can take you places horizontally with ground permitting. A mind can take you to places a car can not.


If I were his son, I would sell the car, buy an old Chrysler K car (or something similar), and use the leftover money for a distance degree. To complement the degree, I would take advantage of an apprenticeship opportunity (ie. working for a successful, industrious entrepreneur). Any leftover money could be used for an aggressive equity fund.

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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby MnD » Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:56 pm

texasdiver wrote:
MnD wrote:- 0% of tuition, fees, room, board, books, and a frugal level of misc. expenditures not to exceed the costs for this at the mostly costly/flagship in-state State U.
- Any amount above that is their sole responsibility - no family loans or co-signed loans for over and above costs.
- No "rebate" if costs are lower except the "scholarship rule" below.
- 8 semester limit, must "go away" to college - no living at home + commuter college.
- No reduction in support for jobs during summers or part-time work during the school year - they get to keep and hopefully save most of that income.
- If they apply for and receive any merit scholarships other than ones granted by the university as part of initial admission offer, they keep 50% and I benefit 50%.
- If they have exclusive access to a family vehicle at school they pay gas, insurance and maintenance.
- No family financial support after August following their HS graduation if they "opt out" of college or want a year off. Move out and Bank of Mom and Dad is closed.
- No family financial support following college graduation or eight semesters paid, whichever comes first.


I don't have rules thought out to the same degree as you do but I'm basically thinking along the same lines give or take.


I had help! :D These rules in their first iteration were set up by my German immigrant great-grandfather who homesteaded and farmed wheat in North Dakota in the late 1800's.
Only one child could stay and farm for economic reasons (the land could only support one family) so he implemented a "must move away so far but I will pay" set of rules for all the other kids. He felt North Dakota was too limiting if you weren't going to farm so I think he required kids to go at least 300 miles away. The "rules" have been passed down and refined in the three generations since then with great results. I'm not aware of a sibling, or older relative that ever failed to establish themselves in a professional career and be completely financially independent after college. My father imposed a farther than 500 mile rule on myself and my sibling in addition to the rules above because we were still based in North Dakota. I dropped the mile limit because Colorado is so isolated, many of the best deals and colleges are somewhat closer than 300-500 miles away and 300-500 miles from Denver is typically a lot of empty nothing. But it's still a move out and go to college with help or move out and get nothing deal. I remember "the rules" being communicated to me and my siblings from a very early age and we did the same with our kids.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby Rick Ferri » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:00 pm

DTSC wrote:
Rick Ferri wrote:I paid, but I had rules:

4) No body piercings or tattoos while I pay the bills.

Rick Ferri


Not even one that says "USMC"?


My son (who is in the USMC now) did that a few years ago to cover up a his stupid college tattoo. That's another long story.

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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby Rick Ferri » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:04 pm

Dave76 wrote:
Rick Ferri wrote:3) You're earning a degree in a subject where you can get a job and have a career.



So, the purpose of college is to pursue a career, not an education. Is it any wonder why so many young minds are impoverished?

Today's colleges and universities are nothing more than glorified technical schools. The launch of Sputnik ruined higher education, and I think an overhaul is long overdue.


Let's not be political. Of course I would have paid for some soft pseudo-degree in underwater basket-weaving. The problem is that I'd still be paying their bills now - and that wasn't going to fly. So, when we made progress on the real career degree idea, that's as far as the conversation was going in my house. They can become educated on 1500 century art and literature on their own dime.

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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby gator15 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:25 pm

I expect to pay 100% of my child's school expenses. I have one child and the day he was born I began placing money in his 529 account. I paid for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I don't agree with some of the comments regarding if you have "skin in the game" you are more likely to take your education more seriously. I worked 25+ hours per week through both undergrad and graduate school and felt I would have been a better student had I not worked so much. I graduated with decent grades, but think I would have been more focused if I didn't have to juggle both work and school. Also, the cost of an education will be much more than I paid for school. My child won't be able to earn enough throughout high school and college to fund his education. I don't want him burdened with student loan debt so I will do what I can to help fund his education. Though I don't feel like I owe to him to fund his education, I realize the struggle I had juggling both a job and school and don't want him to go through what I went through.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby letsgobobby » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:35 pm

20(!) Years ago my parents paid for everything plus $100-$150/mo spending money to attend Stanford. I also worked 5-12 hr/wk for some extra spending money. So I expect to do the same for my kids. However, I probably wouldn't pay for them to attend a second or third tier private school. The almost top tiers, like Amherst, would be a close call, but I'd probably pay. I don't think I will pay to send them to an out of state public university.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby RobInCT » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:38 pm

I disfavor a one-size-fits-all approach. I think the goal of college is to set children up to be successful in life. For some, that may mean keeping them on a tight financial leash at State U. and requiring them to work a part-time job and take out loans to cover part of their expenses so that they learn how to manage finances, live within their means, organize their time, etc. For some that may mean covering full tuition + living expenses at an elite private institution in order to give them maximum time and opportunity to nurture a special talent or intellectual gift that will return great dividends down the road (elite grad school, elite-track career, etc.). For some it may mean a probationary period at community college to demonstrate a commitment to higher education before any other money is spent.

I am very grateful to my parents for funding 100% of my elite private education. They were able to afford it without compromising their own financial futures, and I was a responsible, motivated child who did not waste the opportunity. My college education set me up for where I am in life today. I truthfully don't know that I'd have achieved as much if I'd gone to my State U and had to work 20 hours a week the whole way through. That said, I had classmates for whom State U would have been a better choice. I think it really depends on the kid.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby MnD » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:40 pm

lovenox11 wrote:They will probably pay 30k/yr; total of 120k

But I will not pay for them. I will do everything to set them up academically to succeed (i.e. good middle/HS helping them get scholarships). Then they will take out loans to cover the rest and learn financial responsibility of having debt.


Are you aware that kids cannot generally get student loans in their name until the expected family contribution is met?
If your EFC is $30K/yr, the offer of financial aid to your young adult, including loans, is going to be zero or thereabouts.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby zebrafish » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:49 pm

gator15 wrote:I don't agree with some of the comments regarding if you have "skin in the game" you are more likely to take your education more seriously.


I think it really depends on the kid as to how they respond. I was fortunate enough to have my grandparents fully fund my education at a private college, and I was highly self-motivated. I took pretty good advantage of the opportunity and things have worked out well for me. I think it was money well spent.

However, there were plenty of kids at my school who goofed off, partied, and coasted. Then they all got haircuts, bought a suit, and went to work on Wall Street...

I plan to pay for my kid's college. If my kids are responsible and I can afford it, I will be willing to pay more to reward their hard work. If they are irresponsible, then I won't pay big bucks.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby Tom_T » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:53 pm

lovenox11 wrote:
crowd79 wrote:None. I fully believe kids need to be taught financial responsibility at a young age, and should work and save while in their high school years and during summer breaks as well as paying your way thru college with part-time work. Studies show kids that pay their own way through school take their education more seriously (since it's their money and loans) and are more financially disciplined through life. They can also attend school in their own hometown for a yr or two (to get in their liberal studies credits in) after high school and live at home for "free" before transferring to another college. This is how I did it...


It's impossible to save up $100k to pay for college as a high school student. A lot of comments here come from people who went to college back in the day when a year at state school was $2k. Those days are long gone. Therefore there is not much motivation to work your butt of in high school to save up that 5-7k that will make absolutely no impact on the actual cost of education.

Teaching financial responsibility is great, but sometimes these posts have a hint of "we used to walk to school in the snow, uphill both ways." ;)

I put myself through college. I had part-time jobs from age 15 on, and I had a partial scholarship. But, tuition was around $80/credit, at a private school. A full year, spring and fall, would cost me $2000 or so, plus fees and books (I commuted to school.) It wasn't that hard to save up money to pay for it. If my dad had to toss in a little money, it wasn't a big deal. And part-time jobs weren't hard to come by.

My plan is for my kids to contribute whatever they can via work & grants. One child, in high school, could possibly get a little money for sports from a smaller school, so that would be a bonus. I will cover the rest. That said, expensive private schools aren't in my budget, so if anyone wants to go there, they'll have to figure out the finances for themselves.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby livesoft » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:56 pm

Many of the folks who have responded have stated elsewhere on the forum that they are physicians. It is very unlikely that their kids will get any meaningful financial aid. If the young adult gets accepted to a private elite college, then it is unlikely that they get meaningful merit aid because everybody admitted to such universities is deserving of merit aid. Sure, they might get some local Kiwanis or Lions club money, but not really enough to pay the price tag. Of course, they can go to a 2nd tier private school such as the university mentioned in the OP which gives out lots of merit aid which makes that university less expensive than the state flagship, or they can go to the state flagship.

I suspect that the parents who can afford to pay would chip in quite a lot if their child got accepted to a top-25 private university and would also pay for a state flagship --- no matter what they wrote today in this thread. Yes, we all want our kids to get launched and want them to have jobs and experiences in high school and college. Somehow our expectations are not always met.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby steadyeddy » Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:07 pm

In on of these "cost if college" threads sometime back one poster called the push for expensive "name" schools an "arms race" which struck a chord with me. Parents spend fortunes sending their kid to school because the parent next to them is also willing to pay as much and their child can't be left behind. Prices increase accordingly.

I'll pay as much as I can for my kids while also funding my retirement. In my mind college is not dissimilar to buying a house and you can either pay in cash or borrow to maintain liquidity. Some bogleheads will be on either side of that issue, but the important thing to remember is that it's not a once-and-done decision at age 18.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby Bob's not my name » Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:08 pm

You can't really compare past experience to present. My parents paid about 25% of the cost of my college, but back then the cost in adjusted dollars was much lower, and loans were available at 1/3 prime vs. today's 2X prime. My wife's parents paid about 80%.

My oldest (attorney) paid about $70,000 with summer earnings, $15,000 with merit-based scholarships, and $50,000 with loans, and we paid the rest (about $200,000), so we paid about 60%. Earning > $200,000 in first year out of school, so the loans will be paid off quickly.

Number two (engineer) paid about $30,000 with summer earnings, about $10,000 with scholarships, and about $10,000 with a teaching assistantship, and also saved a remarkable amount by cramming credits into senior year to stay under a graduate school tuition threshold. We paid the rest (about $180,000), so we paid about 80%, but the dollar amount for the two kids was about the same. Earning > $80,000 in first year out of school, with no loans to pay off.

Number three (engineer) should be similar to number two. Freshman in the fall.

All of us attended very expensive schools, which, as recent articles have discussed, are affordable for middle class and wealthy, but difficult for upper middle class.

I ballparked the numbers. Maybe you can find an old post of mine and catch me in an inconsistency.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby R2 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:13 pm

We have opted to define a fixed amount that we are willing to contribute yearly to each of our four children.

Our first daughter started college two years ago and we told her we could contribute $16K each year early in the college selection process. She was admitted to a couple of state schools and a couple of private schools. She opted to attend a state school. The amount provided, when combined with scholarships, allowed her to attend college without working. She enrolled in a competitive pre-professional program, and has done well. We are hopeful she will be admitted into her chosen professional program this fall. I don't know if she would have done as well if she had a work study obligation. She works in the summer to make spending money, and any money that she does not use up to $16K goes back into her 529 plan for graduate school.

We are taking the same approach for our second daughter, who is a senior now. She will be picking a college in the next month. We have opted to increase the base contribution and will go back and make things "fair" for our older daughter. Our second girl has two part time jobs and is highly motivated. She has been admitted to the most desirable state schools, as well as a few more expensive, private, schools. She really wants to go to the more expensive private school, so it will be a difficult decision.

I have a coworker that has sent three of his children to the same private school that interests my daughter. He had a few recommendations that I will pass on. I'm not sure we will take his advice.
* Complete as many AP as possible in high school to reduce cost. (We our fortunate our kids can do this.)
* Most scholarships are for four years. Cost can be reduced by taking the full four years to maximize the scholarship. (Finishing in three years would cause you to lose 1/4 of the scholarship).
* Consider taking courses that are not key to your major at a junior college to reduce cost (Community college here costs 10% of the private tuition).

The huge cost differential between junior college and a private institution has me questioning whether it would be better to work over the summer before the freshman and sophomore years, or taking college classes at the junior college to reduce tuition. For example, tuition costs ~$300 for a 3 credit course at a junior college, compared to $3,000 for the private school. So taking two college courses over the summer would save ~$5400. This would seem to be a good financial decision compared to working in a retail or service job. I'm thinking that it would be better to work before the junior and senior year in internships, if available, to build on work experience.

My son will start college two years after my second daughter, and expect his situation to differ significantly . . .

What is "fair" is subjective and I wish you and your children the best. It is great that you are thinking of this farther in advance than most parents.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby stoptothink » Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:30 pm

lovenox11 wrote:
crowd79 wrote:None. I fully believe kids need to be taught financial responsibility at a young age, and should work and save while in their high school years and during summer breaks as well as paying your way thru college with part-time work. Studies show kids that pay their own way through school take their education more seriously (since it's their money and loans) and are more financially disciplined through life. They can also attend school in their own hometown for a yr or two (to get in their liberal studies credits in) after high school and live at home for "free" before transferring to another college. This is how I did it...


It's impossible to save up $100k to pay for college as a high school student. A lot of comments here come from people who went to college back in the day when a year at state school was $2k. Those days are long gone. Therefore there is not much motivation to work your butt of in high school to save up that 5-7k that will make absolutely no impact on the actual cost of education.


You are right, it is impossible for a high school kid to save $100k, that is why you bust your tail to set yourself up for scholarships and then work while in college as well. This topic has been discussed ad nauseum and it always gets heated. I graduated high school in '99, completed my PhD in '11; finished without any debt whatsoever and never received a penny from my single mother. Even though all of my undergrad was paid for (athletic scholarship), I worked as much as the NCAA limits allowed so that I had money to pay for grad school, then worked full-time through 6yrs of grad school. My step-sister, currently a freshman at Arizona State and on a partial track scholarship is doing the same thing; she works along with a full-time academic load and track. There is also the option of knocking all of your GEs out at a much cheaper community college. Having to factor in expenses when choosing your college path is a reality today, and is an experience that will pay dividends the rest of your life.

I am the 2nd of 7, 5 of us have graduated from college in the past decade (with a 6th just beginning), none of us received a penny from my mother and I am pretty certain we all finished with little or no debt. I fight back and forth in my own head about whether or not I will help my (future) kids with their college education costs, I will certainly be in a different financial situation than my mother was, but the idea that it is impossible for a kid to do it on their own these days does not factor into my internal argument. There are 5, going on 6, examples in my own family that show it is possible.
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Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Postby finley » Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:47 pm

I think that one of, if not the most, important things we can provide our kids is an education. My parents paid for 100% of both undergraduate and medical school for me and my siblings. My grandparents did the same for my father. To this day I am extremely grateful for my parents doing this for me. Not starting life with a large student loan was one of the best gift my my parents provided me. I hope to be able to do the same for my kids, but the cost of school is skyrocketing now. Where I went to medical school the tuition has increased by about 125% in the past 10 years and I think many undergraduate colleges have done the same. The kind of debt kids will have to take on to go to quality schools will leave many with the equivalent of a small mortgage payment when they are starting out. I am aggressively funding a 529 in hopes of fully funding it by the time they hit college.

Working while in college can be done, but I think it would be very hard to not have it be a distraction from studying. Maybe if you do not have a challenging major it is easier to do, but I can honestly say it would have hurt my grades and probably my ability to get into medical school. Grades obviously are not everything if you are not going into a professional school like medicine or law, but working too much will hurt your education.

In return for funding their college, I will expect my children to work hard to get a good education. Both of my sisters and myself were fully supported, made very good grades, and all have successful careers. If the parents have the financial means, I see no reason to have a requirement that a kid have "some skin in the game" if they are taking school serious. If, however, they are not taking it serious then it is probably good for them to pay for some of their way.
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