dwilterd

Paying for college

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dwilterd

When I went to college, my total bill each year (after Stafford loans) was around $3000 ($2700-maybe $4000). That didn't include books or travel expenses, but did include living on campus. I was able to make enough money during the summer to pay the first semester bill and my parents were gracious enough to scrape together the funds for second semester each year. I was married by my senior year so dh paid for that year along with my semester internship that followed. 

Now, it's time for my kids to go to college. My alma mater is more than double the cost from when dh and I attended 20 years ago! Where I only needed to come up with $3000/year, dd18 would have to find around $10,000 after loans and significant merit aid (she's a way better student than I was with much higher test scores and grades). Part of her problem is that darn EFC (expected family contribution). Since it is based on OUR income, it seems unfair to expect her to be able to come up with all the money on her own. I guess I'm writing this post because it hadn't really occurred to me until I saw someone else point it out on another message board. A student was lamenting the fact that his parents are very wealthy, so he will not qualify for ANY financial aid, yet they refuse to help him pay for college at all. He's stuck with the entire amount, but with no way of getting a good job to help pay for it. I feel for some of these kids. 

I don't need advice for dd18, we're looking at several options that won't cost as much as our alma mater. I guess I just had a thought I wanted to share and see if anyone had a different way of looking at it.

 

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Bendxap

I wouldn't be surprised at all that that's the way things work.

The FAFSA also takes into account how much money your going-to-college-kid has in his bank account/s. I can't remember exactly but it seems to me that last year the timing changed on when you do a FAFSA and that could also affect the money in the kid's account. Like I said, I don't really remember (We don't have to do a FAFSA this year! Younger graduates in May.) but because of the timing, Younger didn't have to "confess" all the money he made last summer at his very well-paying internship. 

We are thankful for all the scholarships, grants, and school-specific money both our sons got. And yes, some of that was because we are poor. I honestly don't know how normal people in the US afford to go to college.

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dwilterd

When we started having kids, I just didn't see how we could afford to try to save for their college expenses. I sort of stuck my head in the sand and hoped things would just work out somehow. Later on, I heard of people who were just letting their kids figure out a way to pay for college and that sounded pretty good to me. Now that it's right in front of us and I'm realizing our kids will be on the hook based on what the college thinks WE can afford rather than what my kid can afford, it's just a different ballgame than I anticipated. Dh makes decent money at his job and we are comfortable, but not wealthy. We don't have $10,000 to put toward her education without taking loans. I'm thankful she has opportunities to find affordable options through merit scholarships, but I fear her younger brother will have to aim more for community college and see what happens after that. Even CC will be quite a bill to figure out, but at least he should be able to live at home. 

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Bendxap
10 minutes ago, dwilterd said:

When we started having kids, I just didn't see how we could afford to try to save for their college expenses. I sort of stuck my head in the sand and hoped things would just work out somehow.

Yup, that's me, too. Hubby was the one that decided we needed to do something other than a savings account back when my parents gave us inheritance money. Because of that, we've been able to pay the bit that needed to be paid without loans or going into debt. (The boys did take the subsidized loans, too.) Our boys didn't have summer jobs until the summer before Older started college because we were always do a lot of traveling, visiting friends and supporters and doing presentations in churches. 

10 minutes ago, dwilterd said:

. . . but at least he should be able to live at home. 

That makes a huge difference! Older would have lived off-campus his last year (of three years) but he understood that the college didn't let you until you were 21. (He graduated at 20.) Later he found out that if the student's parents live out of the country, you can live off-campus. Oh well. 

Younger started living off-campus his junior year and it's made a huge difference in what we have to pay. At first he said he wanted a meal plan so that he could eat in the cafeteria and spend time there with friends. But after living off campus and working during the summer, he found that he could feed himself much cheaper than what the meal plan would cost. :) 

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dwilterd

Another frustrating thing about financial aid is that if a kid does get a decent job and starts saving money, that just raises the EFC even higher. Now they're on the hook for what Mom and Dad are "supposed" to cover (meaning what the federal government and colleges expect them to pay) PLUS a high percentage of what they've been able to save. Such a frustration. It's no wonder 4-year liberal arts colleges are struggling with lower enrollment.

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SewWhat?

I agree, not fair at all how they figure it out.

Kids too poor to pay, because parents are supposed to pay based on their income. But, if their income is just getting them by, let alone paying for college, then you're stuck. But, we have always told our kids that if they wanted to go to college they would need to figure that out. I've never been of the mind that parents 'should' pay for their kids' college. 

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Little Women

Most people in this country feel that college, the last preparation for adult life, is still part of the parents' responsibility, especially if the parents are deemed to be able to afford it.    It's considered that they should be willing to sacrifice for it, even.    Nobody has to agree with that, of course, but their kids will be at a huge disadvantage if they don't. 

Easy credit has also really hurt kids--if they couldn't borrow, the colleges would either close or have to charge less.  Since they can borrow, the schools can charge as much as they or their parents can borrow!   Thus prices can go up and up.   It was supposed to help kids in need, but it has wound up hurting them and everybody else.  

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SewWhat?
20 minutes ago, Little Women said:

Most people in this country feel that college, the last preparation for adult life, is still part of the parents' responsibility, especially if the parents are deemed to be able to afford it.    It's considered that they should be willing to sacrifice for it, even.    Nobody has to agree with that, of course, but their kids will be at a huge disadvantage if they don't. 

Easy credit has also really hurt kids--if they couldn't borrow, the colleges would either close or have to charge less.  Since they can borrow, the schools can charge as much as they or their parents can borrow!   Thus prices can go up and up.   It was supposed to help kids in need, but it has wound up hurting them and everybody else.  

I disagree that it puts our kids at a huge disadvantage if we choose not to pay for their college educations. While googling to find out how much of the US work force has gone to college I found that 2/3 do not have a degree. You can just watch a few episodes of Dirty Jobs to know you can earn a living wage without a college degree. (like my husband, diesel mechanic on garbage trucks working for the same company 25y now) That's just the 'dirty' jobs... There are tons more types of 'clean' jobs where you don't need a degree. Military is an option too, as my oldest found. Middle child wants to get certified in ELS. It won't be a 'degree', just a certification. But, he can earn good wages doing it once he's done. (he tried college for a year and decided it's not for him... which, surprised me since he's my smartest kid)

College is not the be all-end all for a high school graduate.

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Little Women

I think that's true for some types of people.  People who have mechanical minds, eg, can have a decent career in either car or diesel mechanics, though in the experience of my family, those jobs have a high rate of "oh, sorry, the company can't afford you any more."     Some people will be great plumbers or electricians, and may be able to work for themselves.   

The problem with that is that most of these jobs do not work well for females--I've seen female electricians and once in a great while a female car mechanic, but never a female truck one (bigger income) nor a female plumber.   Another problem is that these jobs cause quite a bit of physical distress on the body, and many of these workers have to stop in their mid-50s, with much tougher employment to get at that time.   

In the past few years, when there were a lot of college graduates to choose from, even a lot of pretty basic secretarial positions wanted an AA--if you had 2 candidates, one with an AA and one without, the one with it was almost certainly going to get the job.  There is no reason why this has to be so, but it often is.  And most of that sort of job does not pay enough for a family to live on very well.    

Or if you are like my family, very bookish and also somewhat clumsy, none of the hands-on jobs are going to be a good fit for us!   Lol--we are much better off in college-based jobs--trust me, you do not want dh trying to fix your car, even if he might understand the way the engine works better than most people.    :)   

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tess in the burbs

Dh and I both paid for our college education.  I think my mom might have contributed more if I had stayed at home, but she had just remarried and her paying anything toward us kids of hers caused friction.  It still does today b/c they pay to come visit us but they never go see stepdad's kids.  He doesn't want to go see his kids.  So he doesn't see paying money for mom to come see her kids/grandkids.  My mom is the one who's hurting through all the drama but I realize now that the arguing about who's paying for what started way back when they married and I was in high school.  My sister lived with dad so he was going to pay her college, not mine.  I was mom's responsibility.  

So I went to a state college and paid it myself.  I paid $2300 for fall semester.  I remember b/c I was so proud I paid it all.  So $4600 for tuition/room/board for a school year.  I had other expenses and did go through savings quickly.  I worked all summer to save up to do it again.  I did have some rent help from dad one year, and mom paid for books one year.  I only got loans my Sr year so I could work less and study more.  

Dh did all loans.  Not ideal but his family didn't have the money to pay for college but he didn't qualify for any money either.  Not sure why.  I will say that my parents had nothing to do with college applications or money.  I remember filling out the FAFSA form but she didn't want to give any info up about their income.  Since she remarried my Sr year she told me I didn't qualify for anything.  It's quite possible we didn't even turn in the form that first few years.  I know I did one when I got the loans.  

All this to say DH and I were thinking our kids would do the same.  Work hard, pay your own way with some loans here and there.  We would contribute if we could.  But now I feel differently.  I don't wish I had saved up tons of money...we had to choose between life insurance and college savings and some retirement and we couldn't do it all.  We did a little retirement and a lot of life insurance until they will be out of college.  Can't change our choices and not sure I would.  However, I do think we will help more than originally planned.  We have 2 more years to figure it out.  I could work, but I don't want to start working until both are in college.  So I can't work/save and put it toward them.  I think one can get merit aid, but not sure about the other.  If it's all due up front in one 10k payment I don't think we can do it.  Until now dual enrollment wasn't on my radar but now it is.  Especially DD who wants to go for the AA degree with it.  I'm also telling them to consider doing a local school.  Get the merit aid and commute.  Plenty do here.  DD is focused on little scholarships. She's got a book about them and will be applying to everything under the sun to get little amounts to help her pay for school.  I honestly think she could pay her own way between those little $$ amounts and working.  She wants to work now but no one will hire at 14.  My other kid doesn't want to work and really isn't mature enough to consider college even though he talks about it.  How will he afford it?  I don't know.  I hope he will consider a 2 year college locally that can get him skills that pay for work and eventually go to college when he can afford it.  

I don't like the system.  I think asking families to contribute so much is wrong.  They don't know my story.  They don't know our financial hardships.  They don't care about it either.  It is our hope to find a cheaper place to live this summer.  I know we need to start putting more money aside.  I'm preparing my kids for the reality they may need to work a year before going to school.  I can't feel bad about that.  I worked hard to pay for school.  I expect them to do the same.  I'm hoping it works out.  If not, they will just wait a year or two before going.  Maybe for one it would be a good idea...help mature a little.  For the other I'm pretty sure she will do what she has to in order to get there ;-)

I do think there are great jobs that don't need college.  I'm hoping my kids will consider all their options.  

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Mazurka

I remember a conversation on the boards several years ago -- I don't know if it was here or on TWTM.  Basically, folks were joking about marrying their kids off to each other so that they would be considered financially independent!  Marriage is one way to gain that, and I think the other was was to have a baby.  And then a judge could declare financial independence, but apparently that was really hard to get.

I think 26 is way to old for parents to be financially responsible.   I really feel sorry for the kids whose parents have assets and are not willing to contribute.  Those poor kids have to wait util they are 26 to be financially independent for college applications!  By then probably most of them have chosen other options, or maybe then they get married and have babies and gain their independence otherwise.  Of course,  then it is even harder to go back to school.

I was talking with the new dental technician at my dentist's office a few weeks ago.  She said she had good grades and got accepted to several schools, but decided not to go.  She said her parents weren't very supportive.  So she went to work for a year and decided working for minimum wage was not a good thing.  So she trained to be a dental technician at her local community college.  It didn't take much more than a year, and she got employed by my dentist who first hired her as an intern while she was still in tech school.  Now she's going back to school to study auto mechanics.  She feels why not?  Working at the dentist's, she is always off on Friday (4-day office), so she figured she'd do something good with that time.  I was really impressed with her.  She said her sister went to college right out of high school, studied for 3 years, dropped out, and now she owes a ton in student loans and she doesn't have a degree.   Meanwhile, the dental technician owes nothing, has a decent job, and is working towards an even more lucrative job if she wants it.  And even if she never works as an auto mechanic, being able to do a bit of your own car work can save a ton of money, too.  

 

Edited by Mazurka
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Mazurka

We haven't saved specifically for our children's further education, either.  We had a life insurance policy that we were supposed to be able to turn into college funds by the time they were ready to go, but that turned out to be a huge joke.  HAHAHAHAHA.  At least we have a life insurance policy, right?  

We have a couple of things to help us if we need them.  Years ago we purchased a tract of land for a vineyard, but we haven't worked the vineyard in years and it is now in disrepair.   Lucky for us, though, the value of the land has increased in the 20 years we've owned it, so that might pay for one kid to go to college, if it's not a very expensive one.  My mom also set up a Roth IRA for all of her grandkids to split, so they might each get $6000 out of that, which is not much, but it will help, especially for the one who plans to go to CC.

Ironically, my DH's underemployment might be the thing that works best in our favor.  He's been making about 25% of what he used to, which really doesn't pay the bills, and we've had to use quite a bit of our savings, as well as the money from the sale of our previous house.  However, having a low income will mean that in some cases we will pay less.  We didn't plan it that way, and I hope to heck that a good job comes through for DH, but in the meantime, we might as well make lemonade.  Now, that will only work for schools that only require one to show income, not assets.  I know there are some schools that require one to show assets as well.  So much research yet to do. 

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Moxie1
1 hour ago, Mazurka said:

And even if she never works as an auto mechanic, being able to do a bit of your own car work can save a ton of money, too.

An aside, my mechanic (that I went to engineering school with decades ago) has a young (to me) female working doing auto inspections.  She is competent, able and making good money.

I am now having to deal with this college payment issue.  My oldest ds received a full tuition & books scholarship unexpectedly.  We paid for room and board. Oldest dd was proactive.  She hunted down grants and scholarships.  We ended up paying 2K per month. (but her school was 58K per year).  She now has offers for 2 full scholarships with TA job for grad school. 

With the oldest two it helped that we were listed as retired and they both got in-state credits.  Now I have to figure out how to pay for youngest dd.

-- When I went to college and grad school I do not remember doing any of this paperwork.  College was $500 a semester and I won some scholarships.  Grad school I had to take loans for - started out at what I thought was an astounding $211 per credit hour and by the end went up to almost $500 per credit hour. And that was decades ago.  I shudder to think what it is now.

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dwilterd
2 hours ago, Mazurka said:

I remember a conversation on the boards several years ago -- I don't know if it was here or on TWTM.  Basically, folks were joking about marrying their kids off to each other so that they would be considered financially independent!  Marriage is one way to gain that, and I think the other was was to have a baby.  And then a judge could declare financial independence, but apparently that was really hard to get.

I think 26 is way to old for parents to be financially responsible.   I really feel sorry for the kids whose parents have assets and are not willing to contribute.  Those poor kids have to wait util they are 26 to be financially independent for college applications!  By then probably most of them have chosen other options, or maybe then they get married and have babies and gain their independence otherwise.  Of course,  then it is even harder to go back to school.

I was talking with the new dental technician at my dentist's office a few weeks ago.  She said she had good grades and got accepted to several schools, but decided not to go.  She said her parents weren't very supportive.  So she went to work for a year and decided working for minimum wage was not a good thing.  So she trained to be a dental technician at her local community college.  It didn't take much more than a year, and she got employed by my dentist who first hired her as an intern while she was still in tech school.  Now she's going back to school to study auto mechanics.  She feels why not?  Working at the dentist's, she is always off on Friday (4-day office), so she figured she'd do something good with that time.  I was really impressed with her.  She said her sister went to college right out of high school, studied for 3 years, dropped out, and now she owes a ton in student loans and she doesn't have a degree.   Meanwhile, the dental technician owes nothing, has a decent job, and is working towards an even more lucrative job if she wants it.  And even if she never works as an auto mechanic, being able to do a bit of your own car work can save a ton of money, too.  

 

I think it's actually 24, but your point stands.

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SewWhat?
4 hours ago, Little Women said:

I think that's true for some types of people.  People who have mechanical minds, eg, can have a decent career in either car or diesel mechanics, though in the experience of my family, those jobs have a high rate of "oh, sorry, the company can't afford you any more."     Some people will be great plumbers or electricians, and may be able to work for themselves.   

The problem with that is that most of these jobs do not work well for females--I've seen female electricians and once in a great while a female car mechanic, but never a female truck one (bigger income) nor a female plumber.   Another problem is that these jobs cause quite a bit of physical distress on the body, and many of these workers have to stop in their mid-50s, with much tougher employment to get at that time.   

In the past few years, when there were a lot of college graduates to choose from, even a lot of pretty basic secretarial positions wanted an AA--if you had 2 candidates, one with an AA and one without, the one with it was almost certainly going to get the job.  There is no reason why this has to be so, but it often is.  And most of that sort of job does not pay enough for a family to live on very well.    

Or if you are like my family, very bookish and also somewhat clumsy, none of the hands-on jobs are going to be a good fit for us!   Lol--we are much better off in college-based jobs--trust me, you do not want dh trying to fix your car, even if he might understand the way the engine works better than most people.    :)   

I do think that college parents tend to think college is the expected for their own children. Like, I went to college, of course my kids will too. Because we all want our children to do better than we did.  Unfortunately I've seen some pretty miserable young adults because they did not want to go to college but their parents pretty much forced them to. 

I"m leaving it up to my kids. I stress to them look at us. I was able to stay home and homeschool my kids and we were one income, from a man who never went to college. It is true that it's pretty hard on his body. But, the car accident we were in last year is the reason he's physically compromised and can't work right now as he recovers from surgery. 

I can't comment on the females in trade... I've not done any research on it. Though, I will say my dad used to be a floorman and he knew another well thought of floorlayer who was female.

3 hours ago, Mazurka said:

I remember a conversation on the boards several years ago -- I don't know if it was here or on TWTM.  Basically, folks were joking about marrying their kids off to each other so that they would be considered financially independent!  Marriage is one way to gain that, and I think the other was was to have a baby.  And then a judge could declare financial independence, but apparently that was really hard to get.

I think 26 is way to old for parents to be financially responsible.   I really feel sorry for the kids whose parents have assets and are not willing to contribute.  Those poor kids have to wait util they are 26 to be financially independent for college applications!  By then probably most of them have chosen other options, or maybe then they get married and have babies and gain their independence otherwise.  Of course,  then it is even harder to go back to school.

I was talking with the new dental technician at my dentist's office a few weeks ago.  She said she had good grades and got accepted to several schools, but decided not to go.  She said her parents weren't very supportive.  So she went to work for a year and decided working for minimum wage was not a good thing.  So she trained to be a dental technician at her local community college.  It didn't take much more than a year, and she got employed by my dentist who first hired her as an intern while she was still in tech school.  Now she's going back to school to study auto mechanics.  She feels why not?  Working at the dentist's, she is always off on Friday (4-day office), so she figured she'd do something good with that time.  I was really impressed with her.  She said her sister went to college right out of high school, studied for 3 years, dropped out, and now she owes a ton in student loans and she doesn't have a degree.   Meanwhile, the dental technician owes nothing, has a decent job, and is working towards an even more lucrative job if she wants it.  And even if she never works as an auto mechanic, being able to do a bit of your own car work can save a ton of money, too.  

 

Another thing to remember too if you start in a low job many times you can benefit from your boss paying for you to go to college. Christian's new job is night maintenance at a retirement community. He came home from orientation saying maybe he'll train as a CNA, because they'll pay for it. My mom was an aid at a hospital while they paid for her to to go school to become a nurse. My older brother was 'this close' to getting his engineering degree but never did finish. He did get a job in the field he wanted though, and several years later his job paid for him to finish.

3 hours ago, Mazurka said:

We haven't saved specifically for our children's further education, either.  We had a life insurance policy that we were supposed to be able to turn into college funds by the time they were ready to go, but that turned out to be a huge joke.  HAHAHAHAHA.  At least we have a life insurance policy, right?  

We have a couple of things to help us if we need them.  Years ago we purchased a tract of land for a vineyard, but we haven't worked the vineyard in years and it is now in disrepair.   Lucky for us, though, the value of the land has increased in the 20 years we've owned it, so that might pay for one kid to go to college, if it's not a very expensive one.  My mom also set up a Roth IRA for all of her grandkids to split, so they might each get $6000 out of that, which is not much, but it will help, especially for the one who plans to go to CC.

Ironically, my DH's underemployment might be the thing that works best in our favor.  He's been making about 25% of what he used to, which really doesn't pay the bills, and we've had to use quite a bit of our savings, as well as the money from the sale of our previous house.  However, having a low income will mean that in some cases we will pay less.  We didn't plan it that way, and I hope to heck that a good job comes through for DH, but in the meantime, we might as well make lemonade.  Now, that will only work for schools that only require one to show income, not assets.  I know there are some schools that require one to show assets as well.  So much research yet to do. 

Hubby being off work recovering 3mo right after the accident worked in Sophie's favor too on the financial aid front...  She got some grant money that Christian never got.

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Countrymom9

Neither dh nor I finished college and we have never pushed it with our dc. We have never had enough money to save for their college OR our retirement (I regret the latter now!) Look at my signature...all except one of our graduates have gone to college and often have advanced degrees. Some of them had student loans. It's not ideal, but it's also not the end of the world. They were frugal in their college choices for the most part, and frugality keeps the size of the student loans from being an overwhelming burden.

Some got great academic scholarships. They deserved them because they worked hard. All of them have worked while in college. I worked when I went to college (I had a baby and dropped out with one semester left). Working is not the end of the world either.

Easy credit has definitely allowed colleges to say, "The sky's the limit" when it comes to costs.

Currently, ds17 is planning to go to cc and take a nine months' welding course, then get a job as a welder. They make pretty good money. He says he will probably take cc courses while he's working, then finish at a four year, when he's more certain of his calling. We think that's a good idea. He used to want to go into engineering, and he may yet, but really, he is just not mature enough for advanced academics right now. 

Dd15 is being less realistic. She wants to go into medicine, and since one of our older dds is a doctor, she has a pretty good idea of the path and costs involved. She is bright and well-disciplined.....but she has not yet gotten into the idea that she is going to need to pick a college based on the bottom line. We have a very good four-year private college half an hour from us that offers wonderful scholarships to minorities and working-class whites in an effort to diversify. She could live at home and attend. Our doctor-daughter graduated from that school with no loans. It's a good path for dd15. At least she has some time to grow into the idea! She has expensive tastes, rich friends, and wants everything just so right now. I'm hoping God will be merciful enough to mature her in that regard in the next year!

One more thing in regard to parents' contributions....dd21 attends our local cc. After my dh was dx'd with cancer, I went to the financial aid office with diagnosis in hand and explained that she needed to be considered self-supporting, as she is in actuality. They had us sign a statement in this regard, and now they only consider her income. I would not wish cancer on anyone, but other circumstances may affect things similarly. It's always worth a try, if you have mitigating circumstances.

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the geographer
1 hour ago, Countrymom9 said:

 

Dd15 is being less realistic. She wants to go into medicine, and since one of our older dds is a doctor, she has a pretty good idea of the path and costs involved. She is bright and well-disciplined.....but she has not yet gotten into the idea that she is going to need to pick a college based on the bottom line. We have a very good four-year private college half an hour from us that offers wonderful scholarships to minorities and working-class whites in an effort to diversify. She could live at home and attend. Our doctor-daughter graduated from that school with no loans. It's a good path for dd15. At least she has some time to grow into the idea! She has expensive tastes, rich friends, and wants everything just so right now. I'm hoping God will be merciful enough to mature her in that regard in the next year!

 

Is that the college my dd is at? She LOVES it there and really, I wouldn't be surprised if she stays in the area when she graduates. Unfortunately our dd will have loans.

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Merry
9 hours ago, dwilterd said:

Another frustrating thing about financial aid is that if a kid does get a decent job and starts saving money, that just raises the EFC even higher. Now they're on the hook for what Mom and Dad are "supposed" to cover (meaning what the federal government and colleges expect them to pay) PLUS a high percentage of what they've been able to save. Such a frustration. It's no wonder 4-year liberal arts colleges are struggling with lower enrollment.

I'd have to pull the FAFSA worksheet (I do it by hand each year so I can see exactly what counts and how much), but if I recall correctly, the first $6500 kids earn is exempt. However, if it shows up in their savings account, then it counts against them. 20% of kid savings is expected to go towards college, while only 5% of parent savings is expected (over a certain amount, usually around $20,000 give or take, depending on the parents' ages). 

 

8 hours ago, Little Women said:

 In the past few years, when there were a lot of college graduates to choose from, even a lot of pretty basic secretarial positions wanted an AA--if you had 2 candidates, one with an AA and one without, the one with it was almost certainly going to get the job.  There is no reason why this has to be so, but it often is.  

One thing our local CC has said that what local employers like about people with AA degrees is that it shows a willingness to set a goal and complete it, and that's part of what gives the edge to those perspective employees. 

There are some 2 year degrees that can result in livable wage jobs--it can take some looking and research though. 

 

 

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Merry

My experience was similar. I went to a very affordable state school. I was able to declare independence (mid '80's--apparently sometime around the end of the 80's, the laws changed). I could get a Pell Grant, work, and cover all college and living expenses that way. I only had one student loan for $2500 the very first year. 

For years I assumed it would be about the same when my kids would go--but it definitely has changed. Some state schools' tuition is 4-6 times what it was back when I went. And room and board is a huge expense. You can save so much if you have a college in your town just on that! It's definitely affected our choices (my kids will start at the local CC for an Associate's, and possibly transfer. Oldest still isn't sure what he wants to do, he might go back and get a tech degree, or might continue on at a college that does some onsite classes and some online at our local CC. He has no desire to leave home and have the "college experience" LOL! DD will probably go into nursing, and she can get her RN right here in town, and possibly a BSN...she'll have to look at options when that time comes.)

Our CC has some scholarship opportunities, and we've been able to cover costs through that and grants mostly, and have a little saved towards a 4-year degree if they go on. They have saved too from various jobs, but depending on the scenario, they could come out needing loans. Some scenarios they wouldn't need loans and could do it with just working--so, they'll have to weigh a lot of pros and cons. 

 

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mompotter

I went to a private Christian college. I did everything I could do to earn each summer, worked on campus, had a small scholarship, and had free room and 1/2 board, for three years. My parents did the rest. They did not value a college education but knew that I really wanted to go. I graduated with no debt and no job then went on to grad school later (full scholarship and no debt).

I have really encouraged my kids to do it with no debt. We are not in a position to help, but we will do what we can. The plan for now, is for them to do the local CC and live at home for at least part of their education. I have one that has chosen not to go to college and he is working full time. He has no direction and will most likely be unable to work long due to a disability. I really wanted him to go to college and get a degree that would provide more stability later on in life.

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~FreeSpirit~

Both of us are college graduates. I had some loans to pay off due to losing my merit scholarship after the first year but dh ended up keeping a full ride all the way through. We managed since my loans were less than 20k total. Flash forward 20 years and the school we went to has gone from about 20k per year (living on campus) to nearly 80k per year. That’s nuts. 

We hunted for a suitable college for my oldest (ignoring the warning signs that he was not going to do well) because that’s what kids do...they go to college. Well he went. He failed. And now he’s still paying off loans five years later from that one year and we are out the few thousand we contributed for that year. The next kid shied away from taking on debt and moving away...and we listened to her. So she is slowly working through a two year degree from a local community college and THRIVING. She is well respected in her department (journalism), has acquired scholarships to cover her tuition and books and has two part time jobs for paying her other personal expenses. The third child took a year off after graduating but then started school at the community college after realizing that getting a job was hard. We are paying his way right now (~$1500/semester) but he is thriving and excelling in his classes. That’s a big deal to us because he hated schoolwork that last year of high school. The fourth child is a senior in high school but we have her enrolled as a full time duel credit student (~$500/semester) ...much lower cost than her older brother at the same school. She is handling herself well...learning some lessons about time management but overall doing well. 

All this to say that my attitude was once firmly in the kids need to go to a four year school and grow up/get a degree (implied Like I Did) but that has changed. I see m y offspring making progress on a different, less costly, path and I believe the three younger ones will find their way out of our home. I expect all will get two year AA degrees and some will move on to four year programs. The oldest has some medical issues that surfaced so we may have him at home for a lot longer (so we can help him cope) but he is doing well in his own right...working a full time job and paying us rent to live at home. 

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Sandwich in Wi

Each of my kids will have a different experience.  We are not paying for college for any of them, although we do help by sending food back with them, buying some clothes, paying car insurance, etc. while they are in school.

Oldest graduated top of her public high school class and earned a $9000 scholarship to a state college--total cost/year: $15,000.  This combined with other scholarships she won each year covered one year of school, cumulatively.  She worked since age 14 and had saved up enough to cover one year of school.  She worked summers and a tiny bit over breaks and a few hours a week on campus.  This covered about half of a third year, cumulatively.  And she was an RA for 3 years.  This paid for 3 years of room and board, leaving her with only tuition for those 3 years, so cumulatively, this covered another year and a half of the total cost.  She also lived VERY frugally.

#2 worked since age 14 and then took a gap year after high school working 60+ hours a week at two jobs.  She has saved up enough to cover 2 years of school at a state college.  However, she has yet to be ready to go, so that money sits in her savings account.  She agrees that it is for her education, though. She is also independent of us already, so that should help her when she is ready.

DD #3 has the trickiest road ahead.  She will be a senior next year, so still has 2 summers and a school year before she heads to college.  She's been working since she was almost 16 (she was just not ready before that) and as of yesterday has $11,000 saved up.  She should be at about $20,000 by the time she starts school.  However, because she will graduate from our homeschool, her scholarship opportunities are a little more limited than her older sister's.  Homeschoolers aren't eligible for the pool of local scholarships (Lion's Club, Rotary, inumerable memorial scholarships) distributed through our high school.  She also wants to go into engineering, and feels a little more urgent to get right into college after graduation so as to not let her math and science skills lag by taking a gap year.  Being an RA would help her so much financially, but she's not sure she has the personality for it that her sister does (I think she does).  We'll see as she gets older. As an engineering major, she would have the best chance of a job that will pay for some student loans after graduation.

DS #4.  I'm not even going there.  He won't have the grades for scholarships.  He doesn't like to work hard at anything.  He's just gotten his first job and is planning to save all his wages for college, so that is good. He could do well at community college.

DS#5 could begin working the day he turns 14 if he can get a job.  He loves to work and will save all his money.  However, he is not really college material.  We'll see.  He may just work really hard, live frugally and be richer than his siblings.

Good thread.

blessings, Sandwich

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Stringybark Sarah

Our system possibly works differently. We wouldn’t consider paying for college (university). The course fees accumulate and our son will end up with a HECS (higher education contribution scheme) debt which will sit there until he has an income over a certain level. It is interest free, but I think tied to inflation. My husband paid off his uni debt within two years of graduating, despite us getting married etc in the same time period. 

Our sons youth allowance from the government is based on our parental income, as he lives at home. He can earn up to $200 a week in addition before losing the base amount. He uses that (and the occasional income from working) for his textbooks and travel costs, so that part is ticked off. 

There is no expected family contribution, but there is an expectation that families with a certain income level support their young adults. We have fallen above and below the threshold at times during his uni course, (which affects his eligibility for the government youth allowance) and as we hope our income increases rather than decreases, our son is aware of the need to get work himself (and has been doing so).

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Hunny

Our oldest is going to go to college.  We are starting him off with early college dual enrollment at our local community college starting this fall where he can take up to two classes each semester.  We pay half of the tuition and all fees are waived.  There is a scholarship for STEM classes that the state covers.  So for his math class this fall we went ahead and paid the tuition to secure his spot but we will be reimbursed through the STEM scholarship.  We still have to pay for his books, which are quite expensive if we have to buy them new (over $200).  While he goes to the community college we will pay for the tuition and books.  Once he graduates high school he will transfer to another college and get money for that through his robotics team sponsors.  Depending on where he goes they either pay only tuition or he can get a full ride with all fees, books, and housing included.  This is the only way we can do college for him and he knows that.  He is currently working and saving his money towards college expenses as well.  He doesn't want to have to pay back any loans. 

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Little Women
1 hour ago, Stringybark Sarah said:

There is no expected family contribution, but there is an expectation that families with a certain income level support their young adults. We have fallen above and below the threshold at times during his uni course, (which affects his eligibility for the government youth allowance) and as we hope our income increases rather than decreases, our son is aware of the need to get work himself (and has been doing so).

How does it work to not have an expected family contribution, but still expect that families at a certain income level support their young adults?

 

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Mazurka
On 6/18/2018 at 7:43 PM, Little Women said:

How does it work to not have an expected family contribution, but still expect that families at a certain income level support their young adults?

 

I was wondering about this, too. 

It's interesting how different countries do things different ways.

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