Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

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Regattamom
Posts: 198
Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:40 pm

Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by Regattamom » Wed May 29, 2019 12:45 pm

scottinmet wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 12:23 pm
ChinchillaWhiplash wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 9:34 pm
Right now not putting $s in taxable. Want to have the Heloc paid off by end of the year. Mortgage is a refi. Hope to maybe downsize once kids are out of house. Would be good to get out from under our dream house, but would have to move to nearby town with worse schools. Job situation is real good with high pay for field and area. Nearest state college is 2 hours away, so living at home is not an option. He was going to take a gap year and work to save money, but is now excited to go to college. He did not even think he could get in with his low gpa. Nearest community college is over 1 hour away. We suggested this before he got accepted. Thinking is best to pay off the Heloc asap, set an amount for taxable, and direct extra to 529. Probably can make it work with the federal student loans. I refuse to get into more debt with the parent Plus or private loans. The interest rates are pretty high and we sure as heck don't need to take on more debt. Work can be prolonged for a few extra years. Maybe just part time. Once the Heloc is paid, that should free up cash flow for taxable and 529. Will probably be able to cut back on some spending to free up more $s. Hoping he will excel in the college environment and qualify for merit based scholarships as well. Definitly will be putting $s aside for daughter's 529 as it has some time to grow. She is more driven and wants a job at 13. She also has money saved in a bank account. It's like a night a day difference between the 2 siblings.
I think people are beating up on CW a bit much on here. Yes he has made some financial decisions that haven't turned out well, he travels a lot, sends his kid on overseas vacations, buys sports cars, and lives in a big mansion. Sounds like a typical physician. On the other hand, he does have a realistic goal for retirement, he is going to cash flow his son through college, and sell his mansion when it makes more sense. In spite of past financial issues, he is still on track to retirement, and he'll live much more comfortably than 95%+ of the population.

Sometimes people get wobbily when there are competing goals that must be prioritized, especially when the stakes are so high. There is also frustration at son for not being more dedicated to his schooling, something that must be almost incomprehensible for a physician. In any event, CW sought advice and now appears to have a good plan. It may not be the perfect plan, but with a physician's income he doesn't need a perfect plan.
Where does he say he is going to cash flow his son through college? The whole point of the original post is that he does NOT plan to help with cash beyond the $30k saved and he does not plan to co-sign loans. Edit: I see where he says direct money to 529 but it is not clear if it is son or daughter's 529.

MtnTraveler
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by MtnTraveler » Wed May 29, 2019 12:52 pm

I definitely think you can afford to pay or help pay for your kid's college costs but it sounds like the family budget will need to be modified. Only you can determine if it is something you really want to do or not. I've got a kid who will be a junior next year at one of the UC schools and while her education is fully funded I've been communicating with her since she was 13 on what the stipulations would be. She knows that she has to maintain a certain GPA, that undergrad will only be funded for 4 yrs, that she is expected to pay 5k a year toward tuition, etc. One thing I absolutely did not want her doing is to basically focus on partying and spend 7 yrs getting a bachelors because she knew college was being paid for. What have you been communicating with your son and daughter regarding college costs/funding? I think it's important not to go back on what you've said all along but putting stipulations on the deal is reasonable.

The one thing I learned from my daughter and her friends during their junior/senior year of high school is that the desire to get away from parents and spread their wings is crazy, crazy strong. That could very well be what is making your son looking forward to college after a lackluster high school career. Good luck!

LiterallyIronic
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by LiterallyIronic » Wed May 29, 2019 12:55 pm

HornedToad wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 12:31 pm
LiterallyIronic wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 12:28 pm
HornedToad wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 12:12 pm
LiterallyIronic wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 11:38 am
HornedToad wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 11:07 am


His kids can also choose to resent him and not talk to him ever again as well.

By not helping with college he's basically saying that retiring 1 year earlier, a dream house, and international vacations are more important than [fully paying for] his kids going to college.

He doesn't have to pay for all of it by any means, but not covering enough to where they can get loans to go to college is cruel compared to all of his other choices to make it possible.
Fixed that for you. And maybe it is more important. Who are any of us to say? We all have a finite number of dollars, regardless of how big the number of dollars is. We all have to prioritize the goods/services we want to spend those dollars, from most important to least. And if you only have enough dollars to make it part way down your list, then that's the way the cookie crumbles.
You actually didn't fix it. The kid won't be able to afford to go to college because there will be a gap between expected family contribution and the $0 that OP would pay and the kid won't be able to get loans to cover it. I'm not saying he should fully pay for college if its not a priority. He should pay enough so the kid can cover the rest with loans + work and go at a minimum IMO.

Now, even if he doesn't pay, the kid might go by getting emancipated or going to college in his 20s, but he certainly wouldn't be able to go at 18 years old where there's a ~$15k/year gap between available loans and tuition and no way of paying for it.
Yes, because that's the only college on the planet and so the only options are going to that college or none at all. /s
Maybe you missed the title of the original post? Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

If they contribute nothing, I think it's fair to say he won't be going to college without getting away from his parents or joining ROTC/etc because the state has an EFC and won't be giving loans sufficient loans to make up for the EFC
So go to a cheaper college in that state or go to a college in a different state. This is not a difficult concept. Colorado Mountain College has an in-state tuition of $4,320 per year (two semester of twelve credits each). https://coloradomtn.edu/tuition-costs/, for example.

cshell2
Posts: 136
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by cshell2 » Wed May 29, 2019 1:02 pm

LiterallyIronic wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 12:55 pm
HornedToad wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 12:31 pm
LiterallyIronic wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 12:28 pm
HornedToad wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 12:12 pm
LiterallyIronic wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 11:38 am


Fixed that for you. And maybe it is more important. Who are any of us to say? We all have a finite number of dollars, regardless of how big the number of dollars is. We all have to prioritize the goods/services we want to spend those dollars, from most important to least. And if you only have enough dollars to make it part way down your list, then that's the way the cookie crumbles.
You actually didn't fix it. The kid won't be able to afford to go to college because there will be a gap between expected family contribution and the $0 that OP would pay and the kid won't be able to get loans to cover it. I'm not saying he should fully pay for college if its not a priority. He should pay enough so the kid can cover the rest with loans + work and go at a minimum IMO.

Now, even if he doesn't pay, the kid might go by getting emancipated or going to college in his 20s, but he certainly wouldn't be able to go at 18 years old where there's a ~$15k/year gap between available loans and tuition and no way of paying for it.
Yes, because that's the only college on the planet and so the only options are going to that college or none at all. /s
Maybe you missed the title of the original post? Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

If they contribute nothing, I think it's fair to say he won't be going to college without getting away from his parents or joining ROTC/etc because the state has an EFC and won't be giving loans sufficient loans to make up for the EFC
So go to a cheaper college in that state or go to a college in a different state. This is not a difficult concept. Colorado Mountain College has an in-state tuition of $4,320 per year (two semester of twelve credits each). https://coloradomtn.edu/tuition-costs/, for example.
Well, you can't just declare yourself a resident and get in-state rates, and establishing residency as a student for subsequent years is not always that easy (I'm near the MN/IA border and people try it all the time) But, I agree there are states where even out of state tuition is a cheaper option.

psteinx
Posts: 3259
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:24 pm

Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by psteinx » Wed May 29, 2019 1:03 pm

LiterallyIronic wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 12:55 pm
So go to a cheaper college in that state or go to a college in a different state. This is not a difficult concept. Colorado Mountain College has an in-state tuition of $4,320 per year (two semester of twelve credits each). https://coloradomtn.edu/tuition-costs/, for example.
Per their 2011-12 CDS (They probably have a more recent one posted, but I couldn't readily access it):

They accepted 100% of applicants.
They don't require their applicants to have even a HS diploma.

And per your own link, in-state (but not in-district) cost of attendance, for those living there, taking only 12 hours/semester, is $17,924/year (on-campus). Bump it up to 15 hours, and you're around $19K. Cheaper than $25K, sure, but still beyond what a kid can reasonably pay without any parental assistance. And to attend a college where some of your fellow students may not even have a HS diploma, and I'm guessing where the academics are not stellar, overall.

EDIT: Oddly, if I add up the individual line items for their in-state COA, using the on-campus rather than off campus figure, I get $16,784, rather than the $17,924 figure they show. On the one hand, it's conceivable that the $16.7K figure is correct (or not). On the other hand, it doesn't exactly inspire confidence in this institution that the basic math on their website does not appear to sum correctly...
Last edited by psteinx on Wed May 29, 2019 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Wellfleet
Posts: 534
Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:18 pm

Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by Wellfleet » Wed May 29, 2019 1:10 pm

Yes, OP can afford to pay for their kid's college 100% in my opinion. If nothing else, push back retirement beyond 61 and 64.

snowman
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Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:59 pm

Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by snowman » Wed May 29, 2019 1:16 pm

Based on thread header ending with "(at all)?", I thought we are talking about family making about $40-$50K/year. There was another thread by OP I responded to, I had no idea at that time we are talking about family making $300K+... Here is OP's response from that thread:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=280416#p4529769

"I have been advocating for him to attend a satellite college nearby to get his core classes and prove he could perform at the college level. Unfortunately he spoke to a recruiter and already applied to the state college before talking to us. He is dead set on attending this college and very excited, so hate to derail his plans at the moment."

So it seems like CC is nearby, and OP hoped that option makes the most sense (I tend to agree with that), but then the kid applied to state college without talking to his parents first, got admitted, and presented his parents with unplanned expense. So now his parents feel guilty and are afraid to say NO, but the expense is not in the budget (is there one?) hence yet another post.

The whole situation is such a mess! Parents not speaking with kid and vice versa, driving luxury cars and living in a castle, taking international trips, no sense of discipline and hard work instilled in the kid. I can go on and on. This is definitely Dave Ramsey territory, and truly an insult to millions of families who every year piecemeal income, financial aid, personal savings, scholarships, loans, military service - whatever it takes - to put their kids through college.

This thread is definitely not about affording to pay (at all) for college.

MtnTraveler
Posts: 201
Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2014 7:32 pm

Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by MtnTraveler » Wed May 29, 2019 1:18 pm

So go to a cheaper college in that state or go to a college in a different state. This is not a difficult concept. Colorado Mountain College has an in-state tuition of $4,320 per year (two semester of twelve credits each). https://coloradomtn.edu/tuition-costs/, for example.
Colorado Mountain College does offer some bachelor degrees but it's basically more of a community college. It is very popular with kids who want to work in the ski industry or do a lot of skiing their first two years of school. The OP has said in previous posts that his son is leaning toward astrophysics so a CMC bachelor's would not work in that situation. For astrophysics UC-Boulder or School of Mines is the place to be but the tuition is much higher than 25k a year at either school.

SC Anteater
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by SC Anteater » Wed May 29, 2019 1:31 pm

MtnTraveler wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 1:18 pm
So go to a cheaper college in that state or go to a college in a different state. This is not a difficult concept. Colorado Mountain College has an in-state tuition of $4,320 per year (two semester of twelve credits each). https://coloradomtn.edu/tuition-costs/, for example.
Colorado Mountain College does offer some bachelor degrees but it's basically more of a community college. It is very popular with kids who want to work in the ski industry or do a lot of skiing their first two years of school. The OP has said in previous posts that his son is leaning toward astrophysics so a CMC bachelor's would not work in that situation. For astrophysics UC-Boulder or School of Mines is the place to be but the tuition is much higher than 25k a year at either school.
In state tuition at CU is $12,500 a year (note, tuition and fees only). Colorado state is similar.

I'd be surprised if the school if question was Mines, given the son's reportedly poor GPA.

R&B is another $14K ish or so.

LiterallyIronic
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Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2015 10:36 am

Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by LiterallyIronic » Wed May 29, 2019 1:35 pm

cshell2 wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 1:02 pm
Well, you can't just declare yourself a resident and get in-state rates, and establishing residency as a student for subsequent years is not always that easy (I'm near the MN/IA border and people try it all the time) But, I agree there are states where even out of state tuition is a cheaper option.
Move to the state in question, live there for a year, get a driver's license for that state, then enroll. Whatever the requirements are for in-state, do it. That's how I got in-state tuition in Utah. Moved here, worked for a year, then started school. You should be able to find out what the requirements are and meet them.
psteinx wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 1:03 pm
LiterallyIronic wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 12:55 pm
So go to a cheaper college in that state or go to a college in a different state. This is not a difficult concept. Colorado Mountain College has an in-state tuition of $4,320 per year (two semester of twelve credits each). https://coloradomtn.edu/tuition-costs/, for example.
Per their 2011-12 CDS (They probably have a more recent one posted, but I couldn't readily access it):

They accepted 100% of applicants.
They don't require their applicants to have even a HS diploma.
Perfect. OP's son will have no problem getting in.
psteinx wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 1:03 pm
And per your own link, In-state (but not in-district) cost of attendance, for those living there, taking only 12 hours/semester, is $17,924/year (on-campus).
You'll notice I quoted the price of tuition. I literally could not care less about the other quoted prices because they can all be whittled down. Live in a tiny apartment with five other people and eat nothing but rice and beans while buying used international paperback versions of your textbooks. And, in fact, where you live and what you eat are not costs of college. You have to live somewhere and eat something whether you're enrolled in school or not. Tuition + fees + books is it.
psteinx wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 1:03 pm
On the other hand, it doesn't exactly inspire confidence in this institution that the basic math on their website does not appear to sum correctly...
LOL
MtnTraveler wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 1:18 pm
So go to a cheaper college in that state or go to a college in a different state. This is not a difficult concept. Colorado Mountain College has an in-state tuition of $4,320 per year (two semester of twelve credits each). https://coloradomtn.edu/tuition-costs/, for example.
Colorado Mountain College does offer some bachelor degrees but it's basically more of a community college. It is very popular with kids who want to work in the ski industry or do a lot of skiing their first two years of school. The OP has said in previous posts that his son is leaning toward astrophysics so a CMC bachelor's would not work in that situation. For astrophysics UC-Boulder or School of Mines is the place to be but the tuition is much higher than 25k a year at either school.
I never said that OP's son could become an astrophysicist, lawyer, doctor, or what-have-you on their own dime. I said he could go to college.

Can we please end this derailment now and get back to OP's conundrum?

SC Anteater
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Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:50 pm

Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by SC Anteater » Wed May 29, 2019 1:38 pm

Utah is really easy to qualify as an instate student, like you did. Most states don't make it that easy. California it's pretty much impossible unless you're 24+.

cshell2
Posts: 136
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by cshell2 » Wed May 29, 2019 1:41 pm

SC Anteater wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 1:38 pm
Utah is really easy to qualify as an instate student, like you did. Most states don't make it that easy. California it's pretty much impossible unless you're 24+.
Yes. A lot of states are well aware that people are trying to do this and make it difficult for the under 24 crowd. As in it's where your PARENTS reside (and have resided for X amount of time), not where you live.

stoptothink
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by stoptothink » Wed May 29, 2019 1:43 pm

SC Anteater wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 1:38 pm
Utah is really easy to qualify as an instate student, like you did. Most states don't make it that easy. California it's pretty much impossible unless you're 24+.
Well, Utah is right next to Colorado and it also has among the cheapest university options in the country. I'm in Utah as well, I know dozens of people who did exactly what LiterallyIronic did and cash-flowed their own school with no parent assistance. You might not like it, but it's an option. Sad reality, people who don't have their finances straight sometimes have to make sacrifices, even when it comes to education.

The most important thing is that OP expresses these concerns with their child.

snowman
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by snowman » Wed May 29, 2019 1:45 pm

MtnTraveler wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 1:18 pm
So go to a cheaper college in that state or go to a college in a different state. This is not a difficult concept. Colorado Mountain College has an in-state tuition of $4,320 per year (two semester of twelve credits each). https://coloradomtn.edu/tuition-costs/, for example.
Colorado Mountain College does offer some bachelor degrees but it's basically more of a community college. It is very popular with kids who want to work in the ski industry or do a lot of skiing their first two years of school. The OP has said in previous posts that his son is leaning toward astrophysics so a CMC bachelor's would not work in that situation. For astrophysics UC-Boulder or School of Mines is the place to be but the tuition is much higher than 25k a year at either school.
Cannot comment on Mines, but tuition and fees at CU Boulder are $16K fixed for 4 years at College of Engineering (lower at other colleges except for Business). So definitely much lower than $25K, not the other way around. In addition, CU Boulder will pay 100% T&Fs to in state residents that are also Pell Grant recipients. Kids that also get merit scholarships can use them to offset living expenses. I understand this does not apply to OP's family, but in general CU Boulder is now quiet cheap for low income CO families.

Living on campus first year (mandatory) adds $14K, but that goes down significantly in years 2-4. My daughter is engineering major there that's how I know. OP's son could completely avoid $14K scam by going to CC his first year, however he has made up his mind already whether his parents like it or not. There doesn't seem to be a single adult in OP's household.

psteinx
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by psteinx » Wed May 29, 2019 1:51 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 1:43 pm
Sad reality, people who don't have their finances straight sometimes have to make sacrifices, even when it comes to education.

The most important thing is that OP expresses these concerns with their child.
Well, a good time to talk college finances (and college planning generally), with your HS kid is circa October of his senior year (or earlier). SAT/ACTs should be known by then, 3 of 4 years of GPA, and son and parents can research colleges, talk finances, and so on. Then both parties can adjust plans accordingly, and in particular, the kid can apply sensibly.

It appears that wasn't done here, or at least, wasn't done very well. The question is what to do NOW, in May, with college starting (ideally) circa August. It appears that planning and communication may have been subpar on both the parents' and the kid's part, but of the two, I would place the greater onus on the parents - they're older, hopefully more mature, and at least one has presumably been through this process before. Also, let's not forget:

They make ~$300-350K!!!!!!

cherijoh
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Location: Charlotte NC

Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by cherijoh » Wed May 29, 2019 2:02 pm

psteinx wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 11:55 am
IMO, there's a lot of unrealistic thinking by OP here, and in OP's previous posts on this forum.

From this thread and some skimming of OP's previous posts (some of this may be inaccurate):

* ...plus perhaps 20-25% equity in a ~$1M house. <-- I don't believe this is correct - see this post from Feb.
* There was originally some plan for OP's son to travel to Kazakhstan to attend college there. It seems there is no strong connection to Kazakhstan in the family - why this highly unusual plan? <-- The son was going for his HS graduation present, which still makes it an unusal destination.

stoptothink
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by stoptothink » Wed May 29, 2019 2:07 pm

psteinx wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 1:51 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 1:43 pm
Sad reality, people who don't have their finances straight sometimes have to make sacrifices, even when it comes to education.

The most important thing is that OP expresses these concerns with their child.
Well, a good time to talk college finances (and college planning generally), with your HS kid is circa October of his senior year (or earlier). SAT/ACTs should be known by then, 3 of 4 years of GPA, and son and parents can research colleges, talk finances, and so on. Then both parties can adjust plans accordingly, and in particular, the kid can apply sensibly.

It appears that wasn't done here, or at least, wasn't done very well. The question is what to do NOW, in May, with college starting (ideally) circa August. It appears that planning and communication may have been subpar on both the parents' and the kid's part, but of the two, I would place the greater onus on the parents - they're older, hopefully more mature, and at least one has presumably been through this process before. Also, let's not forget:

They make ~$300-350K!!!!!!
No point in crying over spilled milk. Sure it would have been better to have this discussion a while back, but now is better than never. Options are fewer now, but there are still options.

psteinx
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by psteinx » Wed May 29, 2019 2:08 pm

cheri - I derived my house price estimate from their mortgage payment, assuming it was a 30 year straight line mortgage, with something like a 25% (or maybe 20%) down payment. But maybe I neglected to account for the fact that insurance, taxes, and/or PMI may be bundled into that payment amount.

As for the Kazakhstan thing - I'm pretty sure there was talk in OP's prior posts about son attending college in Kazakhstan, and there was also talk about travelling to Kazakhstan - maybe for leisure, or maybe in connection with the possible college plan.

psteinx
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by psteinx » Wed May 29, 2019 2:13 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 2:07 pm
No point in crying over spilled milk. Sure it would have been better to have this discussion a while back, but now is better than never. Options are fewer now, but there are still options.
Indeed, but the burden of dealing (financially) with the lack of planning falls heavier, IN MY OPINION, on the parents at this point. Parents have the financial wherewithal to support kid attending state U., but OP is reluctant.

Sure, kid COULD take gap year, work and attend CC, go to Kazakhstan, or whatever, but cutting him off from a rather conventional plan (going to state U as a full-time, residential student), for a kid who seems to at least have some solid potential (high SATs), albeit weak discipline, seems unduly harsh, when the financial sacrifice needed by the parents would not be particularly high.

cherijoh
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Location: Charlotte NC

Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by cherijoh » Wed May 29, 2019 2:16 pm

cshell2 wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 1:02 pm
Well, you can't just declare yourself a resident and get in-state rates, and establishing residency as a student for subsequent years is not always that easy (I'm near the MN/IA border and people try it all the time) But, I agree there are states where even out of state tuition is a cheaper option.
I went to University of MD for undergrad and at the time (many moons ago) NJ sent far more students to U of MD than any other state (besides MD of course). Even our out of state tuition was considered cheap by NJ standards.

iasw
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by iasw » Wed May 29, 2019 2:17 pm

Can we stop piling on these folks?

stoptothink
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by stoptothink » Wed May 29, 2019 2:18 pm

psteinx wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 2:13 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 2:07 pm
No point in crying over spilled milk. Sure it would have been better to have this discussion a while back, but now is better than never. Options are fewer now, but there are still options.
Indeed, but the burden of dealing (financially) with the lack of planning falls heavier, IN MY OPINION, on the parents at this point. Parents have the financial wherewithal to support kid attending state U., but OP is reluctant.

Sure, kid COULD take gap year, work and attend CC, go to Kazakhstan, or whatever, but cutting him off from a rather conventional plan (going to state U as a full-time, residential student), for a kid who seems to at least have some solid potential (high SATs), albeit weak discipline, seems unduly harsh, when the financial sacrifice needed by the parents would not be particularly high.
Don't disagree, but judging OP is pointless. The only thing that is constructive is laying out options and reaffirming that the most important person in this conversation is the child (who doesn't seem to be sitting at the table yet).

jodydavis
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by jodydavis » Wed May 29, 2019 2:24 pm

Have your son take a gap year, work, and save up for college. (I know he is excited about going now and would prefer to, but you can insist upon this as a condition of paying for his college). This will help with the college finances and give you another year to get your own finances in order. Perhaps best of all, it will increase the likelihood that he will make the most of his college experience, by being more focused, as it sounds like he is smart but not very motivated.

MtnTraveler
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by MtnTraveler » Wed May 29, 2019 2:27 pm

Cannot comment on Mines, but tuition and fees at CU Boulder are $16K fixed for 4 years at College of Engineering (lower at other colleges except for Business). So definitely much lower than $25K, not the other way around. In addition, CU Boulder will pay 100% T&Fs to in state residents that are also Pell Grant recipients. Kids that also get merit scholarships can use them to offset living expenses. I understand this does not apply to OP's family, but in general CU Boulder is now quiet cheap for low income CO families.
Sorry I meant with tuition plus room & board, fees, etc.

HornedToad
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by HornedToad » Wed May 29, 2019 2:27 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 2:18 pm
psteinx wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 2:13 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 2:07 pm
No point in crying over spilled milk. Sure it would have been better to have this discussion a while back, but now is better than never. Options are fewer now, but there are still options.
Indeed, but the burden of dealing (financially) with the lack of planning falls heavier, IN MY OPINION, on the parents at this point. Parents have the financial wherewithal to support kid attending state U., but OP is reluctant.

Sure, kid COULD take gap year, work and attend CC, go to Kazakhstan, or whatever, but cutting him off from a rather conventional plan (going to state U as a full-time, residential student), for a kid who seems to at least have some solid potential (high SATs), albeit weak discipline, seems unduly harsh, when the financial sacrifice needed by the parents would not be particularly high.
Don't disagree, but judging OP is pointless. The only thing that is constructive is laying out options and reaffirming that the most important person in this conversation is the child (who doesn't seem to be sitting at the table yet).
Actually the most important people are the parents since they hold all the power and can decide what sacrifices, if any, they are willing to make for their children.

They can also kick out their son when he turns 18 and say hope you make it. That's an option but doesn't mean its the right option.

They should find the right intersection of monetary & emotional support, guidance, and sacrifices/changes in lifestyle they are willing to make and communicate it to their children.

psteinx
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by psteinx » Wed May 29, 2019 2:29 pm

jodydavis wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 2:24 pm
Perhaps best of all, it will increase the likelihood that he will make the most of his college experience, by being more focused, as it sounds like he is smart but not very motivated.
That's possible.

It's also possible that son will get a minimum wage job at a fast food place, hang out with the other workers there and the handful of HS friends who also didn't leave town, spend much of his paycheck on collectibles, smoke a lot of weed, and in a year, OP will still be complaining about the idea of paying ~$25K (from his $300-350K income) for his son to attend a reasonable in-state college.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed May 29, 2019 2:42 pm

Let's be a little less judgmental and more like Mr. Spoc and simply look at the numbers.

Things desired:
Pay for college for 2 kids.
Pay off debt.
Pay into retirement savings.

One can't do all 3 right now. So it's simply a matter of setting up priorities. The end.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by snowman » Wed May 29, 2019 2:56 pm

MtnTraveler wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 2:27 pm
Cannot comment on Mines, but tuition and fees at CU Boulder are $16K fixed for 4 years at College of Engineering (lower at other colleges except for Business). So definitely much lower than $25K, not the other way around. In addition, CU Boulder will pay 100% T&Fs to in state residents that are also Pell Grant recipients. Kids that also get merit scholarships can use them to offset living expenses. I understand this does not apply to OP's family, but in general CU Boulder is now quiet cheap for low income CO families.
Sorry I meant with tuition plus room & board, fees, etc.
No problem, thanks for clarifying. However, in years 2-4, if student is frugal, picks housing/roommates carefully, doesn't eat out much and doesn't spend money on alcohol and drugs, he/she can attend CUB on less than $25K all in. With potential addition of scholarships, financial aid, work study, summer job etc., the total cost can be substantially less than $25K/year.

stoptothink
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by stoptothink » Wed May 29, 2019 2:57 pm

HornedToad wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 2:27 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 2:18 pm
psteinx wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 2:13 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 2:07 pm
No point in crying over spilled milk. Sure it would have been better to have this discussion a while back, but now is better than never. Options are fewer now, but there are still options.
Indeed, but the burden of dealing (financially) with the lack of planning falls heavier, IN MY OPINION, on the parents at this point. Parents have the financial wherewithal to support kid attending state U., but OP is reluctant.

Sure, kid COULD take gap year, work and attend CC, go to Kazakhstan, or whatever, but cutting him off from a rather conventional plan (going to state U as a full-time, residential student), for a kid who seems to at least have some solid potential (high SATs), albeit weak discipline, seems unduly harsh, when the financial sacrifice needed by the parents would not be particularly high.
Don't disagree, but judging OP is pointless. The only thing that is constructive is laying out options and reaffirming that the most important person in this conversation is the child (who doesn't seem to be sitting at the table yet).
Actually the most important people are the parents since they hold all the power and can decide what sacrifices, if any, they are willing to make for their children.

They can also kick out their son when he turns 18 and say hope you make it. That's an option but doesn't mean its the right option.

They should find the right intersection of monetary & emotional support, guidance, and sacrifices/changes in lifestyle they are willing to make and communicate it to their children.
So, continuing to let the child makes plans under the assumption that it is all covered is fine? I'm not sure what your point is. OP needs to let their son know that they might not be able to cover him, period.

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fortfun
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by fortfun » Wed May 29, 2019 2:58 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 2:42 pm
Let's be a little less judgmental and more like Mr. Spoc and simply look at the numbers.

Things desired:
Pay for college for 2 kids.
Pay off debt.
Pay into retirement savings.

One can't do all 3 right now. So it's simply a matter of setting up priorities. The end.
+1 this thread has gotten mean spirited.

HornedToad
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by HornedToad » Wed May 29, 2019 3:09 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 2:42 pm
Let's be a little less judgmental and more like Mr. Spoc and simply look at the numbers.

Things desired:
Pay for college for 2 kids.
Pay off debt.
Pay into retirement savings.

One can't do all 3 right now. So it's simply a matter of setting up priorities. The end.
He can do all 3. He can't do the 4th one, retire early. That's the rate limiter in this discussion. If it's a priority then other priorities need to drop out.

snowman
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by snowman » Wed May 29, 2019 3:21 pm

HornedToad wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 3:09 pm
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 2:42 pm
Let's be a little less judgmental and more like Mr. Spoc and simply look at the numbers.

Things desired:
Pay for college for 2 kids.
Pay off debt.
Pay into retirement savings.

One can't do all 3 right now. So it's simply a matter of setting up priorities. The end.
He can do all 3. He can't do the 4th one, retire early. That's the rate limiter in this discussion. If it's a priority then other priorities need to drop out.
Agree with that, he can do all 3. With trimming discretionary spending and/or downsizing, he can probably do all 4. OP is fortunate to have many good options.

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ChinchillaWhiplash
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by ChinchillaWhiplash » Wed May 29, 2019 3:42 pm

Monthly expenses/spending:

Fed tax $8450
State tax $1350
Disabilty $440
CPA $360 (S corp they do payroll corp taxes and personal for this price)
Health Ins $2332 (we literally have the highest health insurance rates in the US)
Employee 401k $1583.33
Employer 401k $3041.66
HSA $583.33
Mortgage $3875
Heloc is interest only and original amount was $45,000 in 1/1/17. Now $15k. (putting any extra to this each month
Student loan is currently $1061 and is scheduled to be paid in full in 59 month if no extra put to it
Car ins/umbrella ins is $400 (putting son in car policy increased it $2200 a year)
Term life $109
Utilities around $800-1000'depending on time of year.
Groceries, gas, cloths, general stuff that needs buying $3000 average
DD 529 $250
EF $250

We went about 10 years with no vacations. Mostly just visited family. Wife has decided we need family vacations while our kids are young. Save up and pay for them when taken. No new debt. Didn't used to be this way. Wife used to go on vacation wether we could afford to or not. One reason we ran up $60k + of CC debt.

The houses were a matter of bad timing and decisions. $350k house for 1st job which didn't work out. Moved from east coast to CO. Bought a house for $237k 100% financed. Was a buyers market where our old house was. Paid 2 mortgages for 1'year and had to spend $5k to sell at closing. Market booming in 2007-8. Wanted house in better location. Bought lot. Started building house. Planned to sell old house when we moved in a big seller's market. In middle of building new house market crashed. Builder needed money that we had saved for down payment to finish to get COO. Had to do 100% finance with interest only $335k Heloc. Had our house for sale several times for many years. Had it rented out for a loss over about 1/2 that time. Market finally picked back up around 2016 in our area. Sold rental house for $279k and walked away with $29k. Paid a chunk of CC debt. Refinanced new house with 10%' down using 401k loan. Got Heloc to pay that back right away. Never had an EF. Always carried large amounts of debt. Never had any financial guidance and was actually paying an advisor. I personally think we have made a TON of progress from where we were.

We still have a lot of work to do obviously. Wife came from a family that did nothing but make bad financial decisions. She went without a lot growing up. She worked very hard to get a good education and job (physician) 12 years of post HS education. She suffers from the delayed gratification syndrome. I also went to school BA, BS and MA. Worked mostly for local government which never paid very well $40k yr. Everyone kept telling us we could afford this and that. Upwardly mobile, they said. They were wrong and we were stupid.

I know I am putting out more info for criticism. Have at it. I will sort through it and try to gain as much insight as possible.

iasw
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by iasw » Wed May 29, 2019 3:49 pm

What is your monthly take-home after all of those taxes and health insurance contributions?

I cannot fathom how utilities are so high per month. What is going on here?

SC Anteater
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by SC Anteater » Wed May 29, 2019 3:57 pm

Well, when your son goes off to college you can take him off the car insurance (he doesn't need a car at college).

My insurance allows away at school kids to be completely off the policy unless they're home for 30 days, so I only need to add them for the summer. Not all do; it's worthwhile to shop around. Mine is through AAA.

ladycat
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by ladycat » Wed May 29, 2019 3:58 pm

OP,
Why not post YOUR ideas about how to fund your son's college (amount & method)?
What will you require of him financially (i.e. require a part time job, not "hope" for one), what consequences son faces in terms of your funding college if son continues to spend frivolously, incurs credit card debt, or does not maintain certain grades or meet 4-year plan to graduation?
Seems like a perfect opportunity for your entire family to have a financial reality check, set goals & expectations, and put the brakes on the multi-generational financial chaos.

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8foot7
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by 8foot7 » Wed May 29, 2019 4:03 pm

OP, just a note to congratulate you on at the very least continuing to post in this thread. The advice here is all accurate, if delivered with an at times unjustified amount of preaching. Lots of folks would run away after some of these responses. If you can mine the gold in here it could change your life. Good luck. :sharebeer

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scubadiver
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by scubadiver » Wed May 29, 2019 4:18 pm

ladycat wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 3:58 pm
Seems like a perfect opportunity for your entire family to have a financial reality check, set goals & expectations, and put the brakes on the multi-generational financial chaos.
^^This is very good advice.

I too would like to encourage the OP who continues to participate in this thread. I sincerely hope the feedback, some of which is certainly difficult to read, helps him and his family as they attempt to get their finances in order.

Because this was referenced in his most recent response, I will say that I don't believe the OP needs to continue delaying all gratification. He and his family do however need to decide what is most important to them and prioritize accordingly. I'm sure their home is fabulous, and if that's what they want, then keep the home. But that probably comes at the expense of visiting foreign countries for family outings until they are on a more solid financial footing.

Good luck and please keep us posted.

Scubadiver

MrBobcat
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by MrBobcat » Wed May 29, 2019 4:35 pm

ChinchillaWhiplash wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 3:42 pm
I know I am putting out more info for criticism. Have at it. I will sort through it and try to gain as much insight as possible.
The past is the past and it looks like you are working your way out of some of the financial messes. I don't think many people go through life without having made some less than stellar financial decisions. On the positive side you guys have way better than average income to continue to dig your way out. Set some goals and prioritize. If retiring early and paying for your kids school is more important than lifestyle, cut back on lifestyle. If lifestyle and paying for kids education is more important, delay retiring. Despite having better than average income, it is still finite, just gotta balance the outgoing and spend it/save it where it's most important to you.

quantAndHold
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by quantAndHold » Wed May 29, 2019 4:49 pm

That's roughly $30k/month in taxes, insurance, and spending. You left out how much income you have.

Your utilities line item is quite literally the highest line item for utilities I've ever seen. What's included in that?

To cash flow son's education, you need roughly $2k/month.

You can probably get $600 out of the gas/groceries/spending line item from just having a budget and tracking spending for those kind of purchases.
Another $500 by slowing down paying off the HELOC.
$200 by dropping son from car insurance.
Depending on why the utility bill is so high, there might also be some wiggle room there.
$400 can come from student loans.
$300 from son working.
If all else fails, reduce retirement contributions.

Also, are you working?

ysette9
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by ysette9 » Wed May 29, 2019 5:07 pm

I see two separate topics here: 1. Can the OP afford college? and 2. Should the son go to college?

1. As many other have noted, with an income like that, of course you can pay for college. You need to take a hard look at your expenses and get them in line. Things that stand out are obviously housing, utilities (wow!!! How about investing in some insulation if you can’t be convinced to downsize right away?), and the misc groceries/food/stuff category.

2. From my perspective as a parent I would mot pay to send my kid off to college if she performed like your son has. Quite simply, he isn’t demonstrating he is ready for college, especially going away to college, so I think you have a good chance of throwing $25k down the drain in the first year with nothing to show for it. That is a bad investment in my mind. Hoping for better performer in the future isn’t a solid plan.

My junior college had on-campus dorms. I commuted 30-45min each way four days a week I had classes and worked the other three days a week until the academics got too tough and I had to focus only on school. Personally, working some dead-end retail jobs gave me great perspective on how tough life is without an education and made me appreciate what school was doing for me that much more. You’ve basically got four more years to shape your kid up to turn him into a responsible man. It is time to be willing to accept his disappointment and start setting agressive but achievable goals: 3.0min GPA, part-time work saving at least 50% for school, researching possible college majors and associated career prospects, etc.

FYI, our household income is in the $500+ range and we spend $6k a month less than you, have a more expensive house and have two daycare-aged kids (with associated childcare costs). You can absolutely find areas in your budget to cut while still living a very luxurious life.
Let us go then, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky, like a patient etherized upon a table.

nanosour
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by nanosour » Wed May 29, 2019 5:32 pm

hisdudeness wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 9:40 am
The original post disgusts me. I've probably never made over $40k in a year, I'm a single father, and both of my kids will have at least most of their college paid for through 529s, summer jobs, and whatever I have to add. Realistically, they may have to finish up by taking student loans.
But then again, I ain't ever seen Uzbekistan.
It's called Priorities.
I'll second this. No sympathy for these type of situations.

MtnTraveler
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by MtnTraveler » Wed May 29, 2019 5:45 pm

snowman wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 2:56 pm
No problem, thanks for clarifying. However, in years 2-4, if student is frugal, picks housing/roommates carefully, doesn't eat out much and doesn't spend money on alcohol and drugs, he/she can attend CUB on less than $25K all in. With potential addition of scholarships, financial aid, work study, summer job etc., the total cost can be substantially less than $25K/year.
I think substantially less can be a bit of a stretch. My daughter's first year total wasn't far from 25k (with scholarships, no financial aid) and the only reason her second year at UC-B came in quite a bit under 25k was because she moved in with my brother in January who had just transferred up there. It really depends on major, number of classes taken, and associated fees related to classes.

utvolfan
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by utvolfan » Wed May 29, 2019 5:56 pm

Why spend so much on an international trip as a graduation gift when he needs that money for college? Can those plans be changed or is international travel the status quo amongst his peers?

MtnTraveler
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by MtnTraveler » Wed May 29, 2019 6:11 pm

For a newer home I can't get over how high your utility bill is. I'm thinking that you very well might be on a well and I'm guessing radiant heat so that figure is just gas and electricity but even if it includes water your bill is higher than people I know who own million dollar homes in Douglas county. There has got to be a leach somewhere for your utility costs to be so high unless your house is seriously ginormous. I take it your health insurance was bought on the market? Are your kids on a lot of sports teams? The 3k a month for groceries, gas, cloths, general stuff seems pretty high - have you tracked those expenses to really see where the money is going?

You and your wife earn a ton of money and have made progress in paying things off but it seems that you guys lived above what you could afford for a long time. It'll take time to get caught up. In the meantime retirement is getting closer and now one child is ready to go to college with the other not far behind. I think you and your wife really need to decide what the most important priorities are to you and go forward appropriately. Maybe you don't fund your son's first year of college 100% and make him have some skin in the game. Chances are if you continue paying off debt and not generate any new debt you aren't going to have the same issue with your younger child - you'll be in a much better place financially in a few years.

Topic Author
ChinchillaWhiplash
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by ChinchillaWhiplash » Wed May 29, 2019 7:28 pm

All of our cars are paid for and have 90k, 112k, and 110k miles on them. None are worth more than $15k. We drive all of them at the same time a lot of times. Our utilities are insane. Gas, electricity can be $300 each in the winter. Water is $100+ every month. Wife and son got stupid new phones for $1200 that makes our cell bill $250 month. I still use a flip phone and daughter does not have a phone. Trash $46, internet/landline $230. Nothing is cheap here.

Wife can cut back on discretionary spending and we won't go on vacations. Just trips to see family after this summer. I got her on board with that in order to help pay for college. Son's trip was of his own doing. We gave him $$s to do as he wished with it. Not the best use of the funds, but he might learn something from it. Also, he still plans on study abroad at some point and he wants to check out these areas of the world in person. When he planned this trip he was not planning on going to college right away and was planning on moving overseas. Probably would have not gave him this gift if we knew he would be staying in the US.

So far plan is to get rid of the Heloc. Once that is gone, $2-3k a month will be freed up. Thinking we should just put it all in a taxable at this point. When school expenses come up will pull from this and put into 529 to get state tax credit. Want to support him a good bit for the 1st semester. Will be his 1st time living away from home. Will let him take out fed loans and we will pay the rest for 1st semester. Will demand that he get a part time job either on campus or in town to help contribute to his expenses. Will have to see what the job situation is like there. Unfortunately the town with the college is an even higher HCOL area than where we live now. Hopefully that means the jobs might pay more. It might even be cheaper to live in the dorms. I never lived in dorms, but living was cheaper back east. Shared a room in 2 bedroom apt with 4 other guys. Worked part time and ate a lot of ramen. I'm kind of out of the loop now. Cost of college back then was $900 for 12 credit hours and used books around $300. Things have obviously changed and I was caught a bit off guard.

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Will do good
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by Will do good » Wed May 29, 2019 7:32 pm

Dottie57 wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 11:28 am
smitcat wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 11:16 am
stoptothink wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 10:57 am
mlipps wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 10:44 am
Let me be clear, I think my parents are insane for these choices and I'm fully prepared to give them my last dollar if they need it at some point in their lives. I don't necessarily think parents are obligated to make sacrifices to that extreme. But you don't get to drive a Porsche and live in a mansion but tell your kids (who you've done a terrible job preparing for the real world) that you can't pay for their college.
I don't agree with this at all, what OP does with his money is his choice - whether he chooses a McMansion, travel, and a Porsche over paying for their children's college is totally their choice - but they do need to be very upfront with their child about what this is going to cost them. Sounds like OP's kids may be used to a certain lifestyle and they may be expecting their college education to come at no cost to them. Discuss it with them, not a board of strangers.
I agree with Stoptothink - there is no obligation to pay for college when you have kids.
While I do not follow that path there is no question that the OP can fund his spending and not fund college for his kids.
Why have kids if you are not going to do your best for them? Sometimes parents can’t help. But this is a wierd situation.
+1, if you decided to have kids you should take some responsibility and help as much as you are able.

Herekittykitty
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Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by Herekittykitty » Wed May 29, 2019 7:51 pm

Chinchilla Whiplash: First let me compliment you on being open to learning including downright criticism and to giving information you (reasonably) assume could get you clobbered. Good for you.

It looks to me from what you are saying that you and your wife value education and put a lot into your respective education, that she came from a background that may have been challenging but in any case did not foster good financial habits, and that neither of you went into adulthood, into the marriage, or into her graduation from medical school and completion of residency knowing much about managing money. And after years of sacrifice on both your parts, she got what you describe as "delayed gratification syndrome," and which some doctors call "doc-itis," basically believing that at last the hard work and sacrifice were going to pay off and that anything could be afforded. And listening to advice from others supporting that belief.

And combining "doc-itis" with some unfortunate real estate decisions and really bad luck as far as downturns went (and not being prepared for such downturns), the financial SHTF. But to some degree the light went on in the room and you and your wife started scrambling to make up for lost time, got some degree of organization in your finances and are moving in the right direction. Still, there seems to be some doc-itis going on although maybe not as much, and some difficulty prioritizing when everything on the list of priorities can't be done at the desired speed while doc-itis is still going on.

And in the meantime, your son, who is very bright but has not been academically responsible finds out that sure enough he can get into a university regardless of sub-optimal grades, and sets his sights on a challenging career. I'm guessing he, you, and his mother were surprised that he got accepted to the university, that it didn't cross his mind that his parents would consider anything other than sending him or even that it would be difficult for them to do so, and that you and his mother are blindsided by this development and adjusting to changes you and she would need to make for this to happen if you decide to, having set the most recent financial goals assuming the son wasn't going to be able to get into a university. But lo, and behold! He did.

And it may be that there hasn't been any more or better financial discussions in your home (you, wife, son, daughter) than may have happened when either of you were growing up.

Here's some suggestions and thoughts:
1. Stick with the Bogleheads site. Good advice is to be had and ideas generated even when some disagree with each other. Generally the agreement is on investing philosophy and application and disagreement generally is more likely in personal financial decisions.
2. Read regularly on The White Coat Investor site (Dr. Jim Dahle) and buy and read the book of the same name. (BTW he posts here under the name The White Coat Investor).
3. Read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, especially regarding his Baby Steps and advice on budgeting. Some here (not everyone by any means!) think his advice for budgeting and getting out of debt is good and that his investing advice is not. There is a series of Dave Ramsey lectures that can be done online or in person called Financial Peace University you might find useful. His lecture style is hokey and somewhat preachy. I would emphasize that while I stick to my guns in suggesting you at least read The Total Money Makeover, some here will disagree.
4. Get on a written budget, paper and pencil or spreadsheet, whatever makes the most sense to you and your wife. A realistic budget well planned and written and decided on together can bring couples together and is powerful in that it puts the couple in charge of the money rather than vice versa.
5. Don't worry this year about your son wanting to be an astrophysicist. He won't be one his first year in college, he will be taking required courses and maybe an astronomy elective - who knows. Maybe he will do well in college, maybe not. Maybe he will find he is suited for astrophysics, maybe not. Having a challenging goal that helps motivate a person to do well academically isn't a bad thing. And there are too many things that can change between now and when he would actually take that direction at the exclusion of other directions to worry about that today.
6. What should be done about sending your son to the university, I don't know. It seems like a bad time to blindside him with not making it possible if he has had reason to believe you would make it possible if he were accepted (I don't know if he had reason to believe that or not). And I think (I don't know, but it seems likely) you can do it if you get on an organized budget and prioritize to make it possible. On the other hand, it looks like you have told him (before his acceptance to a university) that you recommend his going to a 2 year college first so maybe he wouldn't be completely blindsided, plus it doesn't look like he did a lot to demonstrate academic responsibility which will be necessary to do well at the university (and at a 2 year college for that matter).
7. This last piece of advice is more something to think about than actual advice. I see you have a masters level degree and experience working for a local government. I didn't notice if you are still working and if so in that same work. If you aren't working, think about getting a government job (federal, state, or local) utilizing your skills and that has benefits such as a pension and health care benefits. Stay long enough to vest in the pension. Health care benefits, additional income currently especially while you are cleaning things up, and a future income stream from a pension are not to be sneezed at. I don't know enough about you to know if this last advice is good or irrelevant (it isn't bad advice, I just don't know if it is good or relevant to your situation.)

Best wishes.
I don't know anything.

cshell2
Posts: 136
Joined: Thu May 09, 2019 10:29 am

Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by cshell2 » Wed May 29, 2019 8:04 pm

I'm also very curious about that utility bill. I live in a 3200 square foot, 5 bedroom 3 bath house in MN with a horse barn that has several tank heaters that suck electric in the Winter and I run the AC a lot in the summer and I'm maybe at $250-$300/month average for gas/electric.

Are you including things like cable, internet, and phone bills in that?

Colorado13
Posts: 949
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:58 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: Can we afford to pay for our kid's college (at all)?

Post by Colorado13 » Wed May 29, 2019 8:19 pm

snowman wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 1:45 pm
MtnTraveler wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 1:18 pm
So go to a cheaper college in that state or go to a college in a different state. This is not a difficult concept. Colorado Mountain College has an in-state tuition of $4,320 per year (two semester of twelve credits each). https://coloradomtn.edu/tuition-costs/, for example.
Colorado Mountain College does offer some bachelor degrees but it's basically more of a community college. It is very popular with kids who want to work in the ski industry or do a lot of skiing their first two years of school. The OP has said in previous posts that his son is leaning toward astrophysics so a CMC bachelor's would not work in that situation. For astrophysics UC-Boulder or School of Mines is the place to be but the tuition is much higher than 25k a year at either school.
Cannot comment on Mines, but tuition and fees at CU Boulder are $16K fixed for 4 years at College of Engineering (lower at other colleges except for Business). So definitely much lower than $25K, not the other way around. In addition, CU Boulder will pay 100% T&Fs to in state residents that are also Pell Grant recipients. Kids that also get merit scholarships can use them to offset living expenses. I understand this does not apply to OP's family, but in general CU Boulder is now quiet cheap for low income CO families.

Living on campus first year (mandatory) adds $14K, but that goes down significantly in years 2-4. My daughter is engineering major there that's how I know. OP's son could completely avoid $14K scam by going to CC his first year, however he has made up his mind already whether his parents like it or not. There doesn't seem to be a single adult in OP's household.
Mines tuition is ~$17K for residents and nearly $37K for total cost of attendance per year. They offer Physics degrees, but not astrophysics. There is absolutely NO way a student with a low h.s. GPA will be accepted, so you can cross that off the list. It's a highly selective school, only the Air Force Academy in CO is more selective. Mines receives in the ballpark of 12,000 applications for a freshman class of less than 1,200 students. I'm very supportive of college students working, but for some students, working too much is a guarantee for failure. Only the OP knows whether working during college is likely to help his son mature or if it will result in him flunking out (or something between these two options...)

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