College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

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silverskates
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College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by silverskates »

Hello - I started another thread about the downsides of not opening up a taxable account and enjoying the money now instead and after listing out all my financials, the common theme was college savings for my 4 children (oldest child starting college in 5 years). Here is my plan and I'd really appreciate feedback on what I'm missing and if I'm being unrealistic in my assumptions.

Here is my rough plan on how college will/could be funded for each child:
1. Money saved from high school job(s) - guesstimate $10,000 total.
2. Money from grandparents - guesstimate $5,000 total but I have no idea if they'll give more or less.
3. Money earned while in college doing a part-time job - guesstimate $20,000 (5k each year) total depending on how much they are able to work during the school year and each summer.
4. 529 earnings - goal is $20,000 for each child
5. Cash flow from mom and dad - whatever is needed.
6. American Opportunity Tax Credit - $2,500 annually (if we qualify and I admit I might not understand exactly how this works). Is it really annually if we qualify?
7. Depending on how many college level credits they take they might have a half of a year or an entire year completed or more depending on the child so let's pretend they each have half of a year covered before they get to college leaving 3.5 years of college expenses.
8. College selection is important and we have great state schools in our area. We also have great community colleges in driving distance from our home.
9. Option of living at home during college (not my preference but an option if college costs are unrealistic).
10. Living at home for a couple of years and taking courses at a community college to finish generals.
11. Scholarships, etc.
12. Each child can take out a loan if necessary. College isn't for hanging out and dragging out for 8 years and if they go beyond the normal length of time for what is required for an undergrad degree then the bill is on them, not us as parents in my mind.
13. My children will soon be dual citizens of the European Union and maybe they will decide to go to school there. Costs are much less expensive than here.
14. Other ideas...

Great state schools in our area and the surrounding states are averaging around $17,000 for all expenses (tuition, fees, room and meals) so multiplying this amount by 3.5 years (see #7 above) equals around $60,000. Adding up #1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 above gets me to that number. We know this number will go up each year as college costs rise. Obviously, if they go to grad school, private school, doctor, lawyer, etc. this number will be much higher but they'll have some skin in the game too.
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

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bloom2708
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by bloom2708 »

https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/individuals/aotc

Currently $160k income for Married Filing Jointly. Phase out between $160k to $180k. Not eligible over $180k. MAGI is used.

There are a bunch of fees and books are not in the $17k. $17k here turns to $20k fast.

We have 3 kids and saved ~$100k for each. I think $20k or $60k is light. When they go from dorm to living off campus you do save some, but replace with other costs like utilities.

An undergrad can borrow $5,500 their first year. $7,500 the last year. Beyond that, they need a co-signer (you). So it would be your debt too.

There have been some other recent threads. Paying for college is a very personal decision. Skin in the game, teaching lessons, working while attending, borrowing.

Gone are the days when a kid can work the summer and pay for college. It is just too expensive. Our 2 oldest could not save anywhere near $10k from summer jobs. They have expenses and $12/hour won't get you $10k in a summer. Probably closer to $3k.

We want our kids to focus on school and not trying to put in 40 hours on top of school.

Cash flowing with 4 kids is going to be difficult, so I'd save more. I'd get to at least $80k per kid by the time they start. You can shift between accounts. $20k 529 just doesn't seem like enough to me. Especially if they go a bit further away.

In the end, you can read ideas here, but you decide how it goes. It sounds like you don't want to save anymore than $20k each kid. So you will just have to figure out how to make it work as they get rolling. Good luck!
"We are here to provoke thoughtfulness, not agree with you." Unknown Boglehead
gips
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by gips »

silverskates wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 1:28 pm
Great state schools in our area and the surrounding states are averaging around $17,000 for all expenses (tuition, fees, room and meals) so multiplying this amount by 3.5 years (see #7 above) equals around $60,000. Adding up #1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 above gets me to that number.
"great" is a relative term, off the top of my head, the schools with great state flagship schools are va, ca, tx, mi, wi. I'm sure I'm missing a couple of others. anyhow. are you one of those states? do you have a plan if your kid gets into a top 20 school?
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silverskates
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by silverskates »

gips wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 2:14 pm
silverskates wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 1:28 pm
Great state schools in our area and the surrounding states are averaging around $17,000 for all expenses (tuition, fees, room and meals) so multiplying this amount by 3.5 years (see #7 above) equals around $60,000. Adding up #1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 above gets me to that number.
"great" is a relative term, off the top of my head, the schools with great state flagship schools are va, ca, tx, mi, wi. I'm sure I'm missing a couple of others. anyhow. are you one of those states? do you have a plan if your kid gets into a top 20 school?
Yes, we have reciprocity with one of those states. Also, we don't have a plan if one of our kids gets into a top 20 school, I guess we'll cross that bridge if it happens. We could have kids go to a trade school or not go to college either. It's very hard to know what will happen.
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Things to consider:

Co-ops. Many schools have them and they aren't a Northeastern, who is the best known for them. I utilized my college's little known co-op when I ran out of money.

If the high school or a club has rowing (crew), that's one of the easiest and most lucrative scholarships to achieve.

Consider summer school instead of working in the summer. Some schools have discounts for summer courses.

Look into what community college courses are pre-approved at the college. My son took community and state college courses in his senior year and officially went part time. $700 for community, $900 for state was far cheaper than $4500 a course at his private college. By going part time, he also avoided the laundry list of BS fees colleges add to the bill for full time students.

See what merit aid a student might be offered. Even if it looks like they're going to community college, you really want to consider what a state 4 year school might give them. Understand that transfer students after 2 years of community college will likely pay full boat with zero aid. My son's school (he transferred) specifically says on their web page that transfer and foreign students are offered NO merit aid ever.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid
gips
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by gips »

our default plan was for our kids to attend our mediocre state schools in ny, we started with similar $ numbers but all three kids got into top 20 schools. Our plan was for them to attend schools in the top 20-40 range with merit scholarships if we couldn't afford the top schools. Worked out to be about he same price as state schools. In the end, we were able to afford their first choice of schools.

my suggestion, depending on the student, is to spend about $1000 for an sat/act tutor. We received 100x return in terms of the merit scholarships they earned for being high sat score applicants.
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silverskates
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by silverskates »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 2:26 pm Things to consider:

Co-ops. Many schools have them and they aren't a Northeastern, who is the best known for them. I utilized my college's little known co-op when I ran out of money.

If the high school or a club has rowing (crew), that's one of the easiest and most lucrative scholarships to achieve.

Consider summer school instead of working in the summer. Some schools have discounts for summer courses.

Look into what community college courses are pre-approved at the college. My son took community and state college courses in his senior year and officially went part time. $700 for community, $900 for state was far cheaper than $4500 a course at his private college. By going part time, he also avoided the laundry list of BS fees colleges add to the bill for full time students.

See what merit aid a student might be offered. Even if it looks like they're going to community college, you really want to consider what a state 4 year school might give them. Understand that transfer students after 2 years of community college will likely pay full boat with zero aid. My son's school (he transferred) specifically says on their web page that transfer and foreign students are offered NO merit aid ever.
Thank you for the feedback and ideas.
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silverskates
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by silverskates »

gips wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 2:30 pm our default plan was for our kids to attend our mediocre state schools in ny, we started with similar $ numbers but all three kids got into top 20 schools. Our plan was for them to attend schools in the top 20-40 range with merit scholarships if we couldn't afford the top schools. Worked out to be about he same price as state schools. In the end, we were able to afford their first choice of schools.

my suggestion, depending on the student, is to spend about $1000 for an sat/act tutor. We received 100x return in terms of the merit scholarships they earned for being high sat score applicants.
Thank you for the suggestion on the tutor. We'll definitely add that to our college plan.
GlacierRunner
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by GlacierRunner »

I am a little concerned about estimate of 3.5 years of expenses. It is possible that your child will have college credits of one semester prior to attending school, but that does not mean that those credits will be applicable to their chosen major. They may still have eight or nine semesters of work to do at the university.

Also in order to get them through school quickly, you might want to provide them with some additional career guidance. Some schools will do interest testing and career counseling. Help them find and use those resources before they leave for school.

Once they have found a career and major that interests them, they will need to plot their path for success. Help them find those resources and understand them before they leave for school.

They might also want to consider minor course of study to strengthen their major course of study. Help them explore those options while they are in school.

For what it's worth...my experience 20 years ago was that I was able to save between $5k and $8k per summer working full-time; I think your estimate of summer college and part-time work is low; I also did not have $10k saved from high school jobs, more like $5k.
CZjc1330
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by CZjc1330 »

A lot of careful planning, thinking, etc. Congrats!!
General suggestions
1. Great that they are working p/t and saving. Thay will have many good results.
2. Yes, by all means all shld attend local CC. They are excellent; most states guarantee all credits will be accepted.
3. Attend, if possible, your State University. Low tuition, relatively speaking. and excellent educational options.

I was a dean for 15 yrs and a college pres., and chancellor for 20 yrs. Plus I worked all the way thru to a Ph.D. as a student. My observation: Students who contribute to their expenses by working invariably succeed in college and later in life.
Congrats to your family!
Beehave
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by Beehave »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 2:26 pm Things to consider:

Co-ops. Many schools have them and they aren't a Northeastern, who is the best known for them. I utilized my college's little known co-op when I ran out of money.

If the high school or a club has rowing (crew), that's one of the easiest and most lucrative scholarships to achieve.

Consider summer school instead of working in the summer. Some schools have discounts for summer courses.

Look into what community college courses are pre-approved at the college. My son took community and state college courses in his senior year and officially went part time. $700 for community, $900 for state was far cheaper than $4500 a course at his private college. By going part time, he also avoided the laundry list of BS fees colleges add to the bill for full time students.

See what merit aid a student might be offered. Even if it looks like they're going to community college, you really want to consider what a state 4 year school might give them. Understand that transfer students after 2 years of community college will likely pay full boat with zero aid. My son's school (he transferred) specifically says on their web page that transfer and foreign students are offered NO merit aid ever.
+1
I'm retired from an early teaching career at a top state school and then over 30 years workng in corporate industry. I now teach part-time at a community college to keep mentally alert and contribute to my community.

If finances are not an issue, go to a great 4 year school with the full college experience. But if finances are an issue, community colleges are filled with excellent instructors if yu choose carefully. This upcoming semester I'll be teaching one class section only. It will be in person, limited to 15 students with specially prepped and cleaned facilities and everyone masked and separated. I think students will pay about $300 for the three credit course, with credits guaranteed to be transferable to all the in-state 4 year colleges. Community college a massive bargain if students tread at all carefully through the opportunities.

Also, be aware that high school students can usually enroll in their local community college and earn tranferable credits before starting their 4 year college. This can be a great way to save on future tuition, and also it can provide a future relief valve if a student later on wants to graduate from their 4 year college "on time" but wants to take a reduced credit load one or two semesters, for example a semester in which they need to take an especially challenging STEM class.
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silverskates
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by silverskates »

CZjc1330 wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:10 pm A lot of careful planning, thinking, etc. Congrats!!
General suggestions
1. Great that they are working p/t and saving. Thay will have many good results.
2. Yes, by all means all shld attend local CC. They are excellent; most states guarantee all credits will be accepted.
3. Attend, if possible, your State University. Low tuition, relatively speaking. and excellent educational options.

I was a dean for 15 yrs and a college pres., and chancellor for 20 yrs. Plus I worked all the way thru to a Ph.D. as a student. My observation: Students who contribute to their expenses by working invariably succeed in college and later in life.
Congrats to your family!
Thank you, CZjc1330! I am very much in favor of them working and paying a portion of expenses themselves. Thanks for your feedback!
OldBallCoach
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by OldBallCoach »

CZjc1330 wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:10 pm A lot of careful planning, thinking, etc. Congrats!!
General suggestions
1. Great that they are working p/t and saving. Thay will have many good results.
2. Yes, by all means all shld attend local CC. They are excellent; most states guarantee all credits will be accepted.
3. Attend, if possible, your State University. Low tuition, relatively speaking. and excellent educational options.

I was a dean for 15 yrs and a college pres., and chancellor for 20 yrs. Plus I worked all the way thru to a Ph.D. as a student. My observation: Students who contribute to their expenses by working invariably succeed in college and later in life.
Congrats to your family!
As a football coach I could not agree 100% more than the above advice...and the poster that says crew is an easy deal have you lost your mind? Those kids get their share of the work for that money. The best way is to be 6'3 265, have great speed, be a 3.9 GPA and get a full ride at just about any football playing school in the country for a male. Female I got nothing...LOL..I only coach men. My daughter got a nice full ride playing volleyball and is now a college coach.
OnTrack2020
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by OnTrack2020 »

We have 2 kids that just graduated in May, 1 that just started college, and a high schooler. For the 2 that just graduated, we had around $50,000 in total in taxable accounts for them.

Here are my suggestions:
silverskates wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 1:28 pm
Here is my rough plan on how college will/could be funded for each child:
1. Money saved from high school job(s) - guesstimate $10,000 total. If they are working year-round, then probably. However, if they are working more hours in the summer versus the school year, then that number will probably be too high. Also, they are not going to want to put every penny working into a college fund.
2. Money from grandparents - guesstimate $5,000 total but I have no idea if they'll give more or less. Maybe, but then again, maybe not.
3. Money earned while in college doing a part-time job - guesstimate $20,000 (5k each year) total depending on how much they are able to work during the school year and each summer. This is going to depend on what type of job they have. If it is a work-study, then probably not. Our son could only work so many hours.
4. 529 earnings - goal is $20,000 for each child Depending on your income, you can probably make this work.
5. Cash flow from mom and dad - whatever is needed. This will probably be the largest source of funds. Every paycheck I wrote a check to savings, so when the time came, we could pay the tuition. It was hard, it was a sacrifice, but it worked.
6. American Opportunity Tax Credit - $2,500 annually (if we qualify and I admit I might not understand exactly how this works). Is it really annually if we qualify? It is annual and if you qualify, it comes as a credit on your tax return. We took the credit and then applied it toward the next year's tuition.
7. Depending on how many college level credits they take they might have a half of a year or an entire year completed or more depending on the child so let's pretend they each have half of a year covered before they get to college leaving 3.5 years of college expenses. Yes, this will work and it will certainly save money at the end. Also, your child is probably going to want to move out of the dorms in their junior or senior year and not do a college food plan. This will definitely save money. However, make no mistake, they probably are not going to want to graduate mid-term. They still may need/want to take a few classes in order to graduate with friends.
8. College selection is important and we have great state schools in our area. We also have great community colleges in driving distance from our home. Our younger son who graduated in May did the community college route, but he lived on campus in another town. We spent pretty much every penny for tuition, room, and board for a two-year degree. Our child that just started college is attending a local community college very close to our home and received a renewable scholarship from a local organization that pretty much will cover the entire year. I want to add to this that a good two-year college degree program while living on campus can easily cost $25,000.
9. Option of living at home during college (not my preference but an option if college costs are unrealistic).This is a good option.
10. Living at home for a couple of years and taking courses at a community college to finish generals. This is another good option.
11. Scholarships, etc.Look around and definitely have them apply for scholarships through your community, your place of employment, etc. The high school guidance counselor should also bring that to your student's attention when they are in their senior year. Our oldest when to a private university and received great scholarships. It was enough to bring the cost down to be pretty equivalent to that of in-state schools.
12. Each child can take out a loan if necessary. College isn't for hanging out and dragging out for 8 years and if they go beyond the normal length of time for what is required for an undergrad degree then the bill is on them, not us as parents in my mind.I don't recommend this at all. Our oldest child took out a loan his first year---a small one because we didn't know what things were going to look like going forward into the remaining college years. We basically took the money we had set aside for him and split it over 4 years, and then worked around that number, so we basically had a little over $6,000 for each year, but since we needed more, then we looked at where the remaining funds would come from. We did not have him take a loan for his remaining years, just his freshman year.
13. My children will soon be dual citizens of the European Union and maybe they will decide to go to school there. Costs are much less expensive than here.
14. Other ideas...If you receive any bonuses, those could go toward college costs. Also, tax return money beyond what is received from the education credits. Dividends were another source.

Great state schools in our area and the surrounding states are averaging around $17,000 for all expenses (tuition, fees, room and meals) so multiplying this amount by 3.5 years (see #7 above) equals around $60,000. Adding up #1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 above gets me to that number. We know this number will go up each year as college costs rise. Obviously, if they go to grad school, private school, doctor, lawyer, etc. this number will be much higher but they'll have some skin in the game too.
Last edited by OnTrack2020 on Mon Aug 17, 2020 4:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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TxAg
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

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appliancejunk
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by appliancejunk »

bloom2708 wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 2:08 pm When they go from dorm to living off campus you do save some, but replace with other costs like utilities.
That made me laugh. I remember thinking that several years ago with our child who is now in grad school.

Oh boy, first year of undergrad is over and I'm going to save some money this next year I thought. I don't have to purchase the meal plan next year or or pay for the dorms.

Then he joined a frat house and ended up living there his second year. Frat house rent and fee's cost way more than the dorms. After four years of undergrad and four years of grad school it's been my experience that the first year of undergrad is the cheapest and every year after that cost more than the previous year. Good luck
MathWizard
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by MathWizard »

per the American Opportunity Tax Credit

Yes this is annually per child, up to 4 years.
This is for qualified expenses, the easiest being tuition, based on spending $4K.
(Assumes you have that much in taxes, which is easy for you.)
Must be undergrad study, and student must be a dependent.

By annually, they mean tax year, which does not align with the school year, so
if they get out in 4 years (say fall 2020 through spring 2025) that is 5 tax years.
I picked the first 4. You never know if they drop out or get married so that they are
no longer a dependent, so take the credit as soon as possible.
You can use 529 money in the 5th year, giving it more time to grow.
bloom2708
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by bloom2708 »

appliancejunk wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 4:43 pm
bloom2708 wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 2:08 pm When they go from dorm to living off campus you do save some, but replace with other costs like utilities.
That made me laugh. I remember thinking that several years ago with our child who is now in grad school.

Oh boy, first year of undergrad is over and I'm going to save some money this next year I thought. I don't have to purchase the meal plan next year or or pay for the dorms.

Then he joined a frat house and ended up living there his second year. Frat house rent and fee's cost way more than the dorms. After four years of undergrad and four years of grad school it's been my experience that the first year of undergrad is the cheapest and every year after that cost more than the previous year. Good luck
Yes. Choices. Our daughter is living in a small house next to campus with 3 other roommates. Base rent is $300 (location dependent). Then they split utilities. For us, it is a bit cheaper, but I can see with choices where it might not be. Living solo. Living with only one roommate. Living in frat house :D .

Full Dorm + Full Meal Plan is pretty steep. But, if one increases and one decreases a bit, it could be very similar or more off campus.
"We are here to provoke thoughtfulness, not agree with you." Unknown Boglehead
Regattamom
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by Regattamom »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 2:26 pm
If the high school or a club has rowing (crew), that's one of the easiest and most lucrative scholarships to achieve.
This is absurd. I am very well informed about high school, college, and masters rowing. For young men, scholarships are almost unheard of. And for young women, it is very hard to obtain a meaningful scholarship that makes it worth getting up at 4:00 am and working out twice a day until you have blood coming from the callouses on your hands. This comment shows no respect for the level that Division 1 athletes are competing at.

Edited to add: I can't tell you how many mis-informed parents I have seen sign their daughters (and a few sons) up for rowing thinking it was their meal ticket to paying for college. I can count on one hand the girls that I know that received substantial scholarships. Get ready to be disappointed unless you have a really strong, tall girl who likes to be in pain.

The articles that talk about how many scholarships are given out are misleading because rowing teams only have 20 full scholarships maximum to dole out. They can break them out in 20 percent, 10 percent, 50 percent, etc. Many young women only have their books covered. Most young women do not make it all four years on a crew team. And many of the full scholarships are going to international students. Look at UWs top eight for example.
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Harry Livermore
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by Harry Livermore »

Some good responses so far from the BH crowd. I think you will find that there are many ways to address college costs and each family's strategy will look very different. Have you browsed around collegeconfidential.com?
OnTrack2020 gave a pretty thorough response. Encourage your kids to do as well academically as they can; merit aid is really the best form of funding for middle and upper middle class families. Not all schools will be generous with this.
Variables that I would consider:
one or more of your kids may not actually want to go to a state school, or one with reciprocity
community college may not work for all kids (if feels like 13th grade)
one or more kids may not finish in 4 (or 3.5!) years
one or more kids may not be able to earn what you have estimated (or may want to take cc classes in the summer)
AOTC could change (or you may not qualify as of now anyway)
I salute you for keeping an open mind and not just blindly following the "college costs $X so that's what every family needs to save" crowd (I'm not necessarily saying that is the BH crowd) And, of course, being a parent of 4 kids, you already understand that each of their paths is different.
I think it's as solid a plan as anyone could come up with.
When we started having kids in the late 90s-early 00s, I looked ahead and tried to estimate college costs 18 years later. I came up with $80K/ year by the time our youngest (2024 HS grad) would be going, which was shocking and demoralizing. Nevertheless, I stepped up and saved as much as I could. Like you, I also started to realize that there are many paths: state school, 2 years' cc, merit aid, even trade school if one of my kids showed an aptitude.
My $80K estimate for 2028 grads of top private universities may in fact be low!
But so far, the first two are attending schools within our budget, made possible in part by their outstanding performance in high school, and good standardized testing scores, which netted very decent merit aid awards. There is a poster here who astutely notes that if your kid has high scores that would get him/her into a top private, there are many schools "one notch down" that will offer large sums of merit aid to get that kids, and their test scores, onto the team.
Best of luck!
Cheers
cshell2
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by cshell2 »

I think your estimate for what the student can contribute from work might be high, especially the 10K while in high school number. Some kids maybe, but my son was heavily involved in extracurriculars Sophomore and Junior year and didn't have time for a job. He started working the summer before Senior year and ended up setting aside about $2500 in the year prior to school working maybe 10 hours a week, then he spent about half what he made... :oops:

Good grades, high test scores and extracurriculars were as good as money in the bank for him though because he ended up with scholarships worth more than he could have made in a year.
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by johnny »

bloom2708 wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 2:08 pm
Cash flowing with 4 kids is going to be difficult, so I'd save more. I'd get to at least $80k per kid by the time they start. You can shift between accounts. $20k 529 just doesn't seem like enough to me. Especially if they go a bit further away.
+1

Save a lot, save early. In the end, cash flow is the big issue. If the dilemma is between 529 savings and taxable, you probably can't oversave in 529. But regardless this dilemma probably doesn't show up until kid #4.

Many people use HELOC to help with cash flow. So extra house payments can be another savings vehicle. Whatever you do, stay away from parent loans!
simas
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by simas »

Regattamom wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:50 pm
Jack FFR1846 wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 2:26 pm
If the high school or a club has rowing (crew), that's one of the easiest and most lucrative scholarships to achieve.
This is absurd. I am very well informed about high school, college, and masters rowing. For young men, scholarships are almost unheard of. And for young women, it is very hard to obtain a meaningful scholarship that makes it worth getting up at 4:00 am and working out twice a day until you have blood coming from the callouses on your hands. This comment shows no respect for the level that Division 1 athletes are competing at.

Edited to add: I can't tell you how many mis-informed parents I have seen sign their daughters (and a few sons) up for rowing thinking it was their meal ticket to paying for college. I can count on one hand the girls that I know that received substantial scholarships. Get ready to be disappointed unless you have a really strong, tall girl who likes to be in pain.

The articles that talk about how many scholarships are given out are misleading because rowing teams only have 20 full scholarships maximum to dole out. They can break them out in 20 percent, 10 percent, 50 percent, etc. Many young women only have their books covered. Most young women do not make it all four years on a crew team. And many of the full scholarships are going to international students. Look at UWs top eight for example.
crew is among the hardest physical activities one can do and Regattamom (name telling :) ) is completely correct on that. early morning/middle of the night wake ups, travel with the team on buses , multi-day, hard workouts multiple times a day. people do it because they love the sport, and it is a very difficult, very physical sport..
DarthSage
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by DarthSage »

I think your ideas are good ones, but the real key here is flexibility. As a parent of 4, you're probably used to that! I also have 4 kids, and each has/had a different approach to college.

I wouldn't count on huge earnings either in HS or during the school year in college. It's very student-dependent, but as others have said, making grades and extracurriculars a priority will potentially pay off in scholarships/merit aid. My DD17 is in the International Baccalaureate program (not offered everywhere), and her classes, like AP classes, count for college credit. Of course, they're more work, so a part-time job during the school year isn't possible for her (barring the odd babysitting gig).

I don't think it's unreasonable to let your eldest know that you can afford $X, and that you'll work with them to plan out how to plug any gap.

Another thought: on community college. It can be a great choice for some students/majors, but it's not for everyone. A STEM student would be ill-served--they aren't going to transfer in to RPI or Georgia Tech or wherever, and only spend 2 years there (probably 3 or more).

Our circumstances are different, but here's what we've done/plan to do:

DD25 wanted the pricey private school. We said fine, but we won't pay for grad school. She graduated, got her dream job, and starts grad school this fall...which she's paying for (there may be tuition reimbursement. I dunno--not my problem!)

DS23 has Asperger's and several other issues. He's on the 10-year plan. He graduated from community college and starts at the local branch of State U tomorrow. He'll commute 2 miles each way. It's working for him.

DD17 wants law school. We said we'd pay for State U (flagship, she refuses to go local. This actually makes sense, the flagship has a law school.), and have enough left to budget for law school. Or, if she goes private, see Sis, above. She's doing the IB program, which should give her a boost--if not early graduation, at least room to take interesting electives.

DS14 wants engineering school. He's planning on dual enrollment (HS/State U local branch) for his last 2 years of HS. He likely won't be getting financial support for a master's (but likely won't need it--tuition reimbursement is common in the field).
MMiroir
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by MMiroir »

Some good advice on this thread. Many people on this site will push going to a community college first to save money. IMHO, this is a bad idea for many kids as community college will not be challenging for those smart enough to go to a four year college. A much better BH idea would be to push your kids academically to earn a merit scholarship. Particular attention paid to test scores as quite a few public flagship schools offer merit aid based on a combination of test scores and grades.

For example, Alabama’s out of state tuition and fees are $31,000. They offer the following scholarships to OOS students.

Presidential-32-36 ACT or 1420-1600 SAT-3.50+-$28,000
UA Scholar-30-31 ACT or 1360-1410 SAT-3.50+-$24,000
Foundation In Excellence-29 ACT or 1330-1350 SAT-3.50+-$15,000
Foundation In Excellence-30-36 ACT or 1360-1600 SAT-3.00-3.49-$15,000
Collegiate-28 ACT or 1300-1320 SAT-3.50+-$10,000
Capstone-27 ACT or 1260-1290 SAT-3.50+-$8,000
Capstone-28-29 ACT or 1300-1350 SAT-3.00-3.49-$8,000
Crimson Legends-25-26 ACT or 1200-1250 SAT-3.50+-$6,000
Crimson Legends-27 ACT or 1260-1290 SAT-3.00-3.49-$6,000

If your kids can get a 30 or more on the ACT and a 3.5 GPA, Alabama will be about $7,000 per year in tuition and fees. Here is a link:

https://scholarships.ua.edu/freshman/out-of-state/

Public flagships with similar programs for out of state students include:

Arizona
Arizona State
Auburn
Iowa
Iowa State
Kansas
Kansas State
Kentucky
Mississippi
Mississippi State
Missouri
Nebraska
New Mexico
Ohio State
Oklahoma
Tennessee
South Carolina
Utah

In general, these are rural states that have problems generating sufficient numbers high quality applicants out of high school, and they will subsidize out of state students that improve the academic quality of the student body. They are also major research universities that will provide many more opportunities to students than community college for similar costs. Pushing your kids to get a few more points on the ACT/SAT could save you thousands of dollars.
ncbill
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by ncbill »

Or for U.S. citizens, join the military and have Uncle Sam pay for it:

1. ROTC scholarships (what my kids did)...national or campus-based...pays tuition & fees.

2. Military academies...USMA, USNA, USAFA, USCGA, USMMA...what one of my kids did after a year of the above.

3. In many states, joining the National Guard pays (or waives) tuition at in-state, public schools...IIRC, that usually requires a 6-year Guard commitment.

4. Enlist & use the GI Bill after active duty...IIRC, the Army still has a shortened (2-year) active duty enlistment for certain jobs (MOS) that offers 80% GI Bill benefits (note there is still a Guard/Reserve/IRR commitment afterwards)
Last edited by ncbill on Wed Aug 19, 2020 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jack FFR1846
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

I can only relate that my son's girlfriend got 1/2 of her 4 year full boat in crew scholarship. Not elite in any sense of the word.
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CyclingDuo
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by CyclingDuo »

silverskates wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 1:28 pm Hello - I started another thread about the downsides of not opening up a taxable account and enjoying the money now instead and after listing out all my financials, the common theme was college savings for my 4 children (oldest child starting college in 5 years). Here is my plan and I'd really appreciate feedback on what I'm missing and if I'm being unrealistic in my assumptions.

Here is my rough plan on how college will/could be funded for each child:
1. Money saved from high school job(s) - guesstimate $10,000 total.
2. Money from grandparents - guesstimate $5,000 total but I have no idea if they'll give more or less.
3. Money earned while in college doing a part-time job - guesstimate $20,000 (5k each year) total depending on how much they are able to work during the school year and each summer.
4. 529 earnings - goal is $20,000 for each child
5. Cash flow from mom and dad - whatever is needed.
6. American Opportunity Tax Credit - $2,500 annually (if we qualify and I admit I might not understand exactly how this works). Is it really annually if we qualify?
7. Depending on how many college level credits they take they might have a half of a year or an entire year completed or more depending on the child so let's pretend they each have half of a year covered before they get to college leaving 3.5 years of college expenses.
8. College selection is important and we have great state schools in our area. We also have great community colleges in driving distance from our home.
9. Option of living at home during college (not my preference but an option if college costs are unrealistic).
10. Living at home for a couple of years and taking courses at a community college to finish generals.
11. Scholarships, etc.
12. Each child can take out a loan if necessary. College isn't for hanging out and dragging out for 8 years and if they go beyond the normal length of time for what is required for an undergrad degree then the bill is on them, not us as parents in my mind.
13. My children will soon be dual citizens of the European Union and maybe they will decide to go to school there. Costs are much less expensive than here.
14. Other ideas...

Great state schools in our area and the surrounding states are averaging around $17,000 for all expenses (tuition, fees, room and meals) so multiplying this amount by 3.5 years (see #7 above) equals around $60,000. Adding up #1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 above gets me to that number. We know this number will go up each year as college costs rise. Obviously, if they go to grad school, private school, doctor, lawyer, etc. this number will be much higher but they'll have some skin in the game too.
You've got four kids ages 14 to 5.

Example for our state university using 4% typical annual rise in college costs (fill in the rest of the years)...

Year One Today: $21,420 (tuition, room & board) + $4,180 (books, transportation, spending money) = $25,600
Year Two Next Year: $22,276 + $4,347 = $26,623
Year Three 2022-23: $23,167 + $4,520 = $27,687
Year Four 2023-24: $24,093 + $4,700 = $28,793
Year Five 2024-25: $25,056 + $4,888 = $29,994****
Year Six 2025-26: $26,058 + $5,083 = $31,141****
Year Seven 2026-27: $27,100 + $5,286 = $32,386****
Year Eight 2027-28: $28,184 + $5,497 = $33,681****
Year Nine 2028-29: $29,311 + $5,716 = $35,027
Year Ten 2029-30
Year Eleven 2030-31
Year Twelve 2031-32
Year Thirteen 2032-33
Year Fourteen 2033-34
Year Fifteen 2034-35
Year Sixteen 2035-36

****Looks like the first child could have college costs around $125K to $127K in the scenario - at least at the state university within our state. I would run the numbers for your state university and just to be safe, plan on more than you are currently planning on to be prepared. Also run the scenario for the first two years at CC and the final two at the Big U.

Been there done that as a parent with our children, and as a professor - I would only add that it is most likely going to cost more than your current plans. Demographics pick up again for the current Freshmen in High School Class as that class and those that follow in the years after are currently at record numbers. It will be very competitive in that environment for your younger children regarding scholarships, acceptance, etc... due to the sheer number of students that will be hitting college and university campuses. The best deal is right now due to a dearth, but that changes after 4 years in a large way.

CyclingDuo
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SmileyFace
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by SmileyFace »

Don't let the High-School guidance councilor convince your kid that they should apply to, and attend if they get into, their "Stretch" school. They will give you NO merit aid. What you want is your child to have high scores and apply for great-fit colleges that are one notch down below their scores. These schools will be willing to provide nice merit aid to attract your child and have them help raise their schools average scores. If the school is a good fit and has a good program for the child's career of choice - this is the way to go (and save money). With good merit scholarships - great private colleges/universities can be cheaper than state universities.
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SmileyFace
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by SmileyFace »

A couple of additional notes:
If you are making taxable investments (and fully funding retirement) and planning on "Cash-flowing" part of their college - why not save more in 529's up front and get the additional tax benefits? Not sure how you are calculating your $20,000 529 per child limit - seems low if you can afford to save more.
On loans - Don't assume your kids can simply take out their loans - the amount they can get without you as a cosigner is limited. Also - why strap them with additional unnecessary debt at high rates if you don't need to.
ChicagoBear7
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Re: College costs for 4 kids -- is my plan unrealistic?

Post by ChicagoBear7 »

MMiroir wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 12:00 pm Some good advice on this thread. Many people on this site will push going to a community college first to save money. IMHO, this is a bad idea for many kids as community college will not be challenging for those smart enough to go to a four year college. A much better BH idea would be to push your kids academically to earn a merit scholarship. Particular attention paid to test scores as quite a few public flagship schools offer merit aid based on a combination of test scores and grades.

For example, Alabama’s out of state tuition and fees are $31,000. They offer the following scholarships to OOS students.

Presidential-32-36 ACT or 1420-1600 SAT-3.50+-$28,000
UA Scholar-30-31 ACT or 1360-1410 SAT-3.50+-$24,000
Foundation In Excellence-29 ACT or 1330-1350 SAT-3.50+-$15,000
Foundation In Excellence-30-36 ACT or 1360-1600 SAT-3.00-3.49-$15,000
Collegiate-28 ACT or 1300-1320 SAT-3.50+-$10,000
Capstone-27 ACT or 1260-1290 SAT-3.50+-$8,000
Capstone-28-29 ACT or 1300-1350 SAT-3.00-3.49-$8,000
Crimson Legends-25-26 ACT or 1200-1250 SAT-3.50+-$6,000
Crimson Legends-27 ACT or 1260-1290 SAT-3.00-3.49-$6,000

If your kids can get a 30 or more on the ACT and a 3.5 GPA, Alabama will be about $7,000 per year in tuition and fees. Here is a link:

https://scholarships.ua.edu/freshman/out-of-state/

Public flagships with similar programs for out of state students include:

Arizona
Arizona State
Auburn
Iowa
Iowa State
Kansas
Kansas State
Kentucky
Mississippi
Mississippi State
Missouri
Nebraska
New Mexico
Ohio State
Oklahoma
Tennessee
South Carolina
Utah

In general, these are rural states that have problems generating sufficient numbers high quality applicants out of high school, and they will subsidize out of state students that improve the academic quality of the student body. They are also major research universities that will provide many more opportunities to students than community college for similar costs. Pushing your kids to get a few more points on the ACT/SAT could save you thousands of dollars.
My daughter took advantage of the generous out of state Alabama scholarships. She had four great years enjoying the football games, Greek life and warmer weather, as well as studying very hard. She received multiple MD school admission offers and now is in her 4th year of medical school at a BIG10 campus. The @$100k we saved paid for a nice chunk of medical school. Definitely encourage good high school grades and standardize test scores!
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