We never really saved for a college education for our girls, although we always knew they were probably going to attend. We were just too busy living our everyday lives and affording what we needed at the time.
Raising children is not cheap and especially ones that are active in sports. We saved money but it was for our retirement, extras the girls needed or unexpected expenses.We definitely feel that getting a college education is important, but we've paid for everything our children need for 18 years, so it is up to them to pay for their future.
I did a lot of research and spoke with a lot of different people and we found that those students who were paying for their own education held jobs, took it more seriously and were more motivated to get in and out. Those whose parents were paying tended to relax and take their time.
In our opinion, there comes a time when you have to grow up and be responsible. There's nothing wrong with working to pay for your own education. In the end, you will have more gratification and the satisfaction of knowing that you accomplished something on your own. There's a sense of ownership and pride in knowing that you did it.
We gave up a lot to give them everything, and who's going to take care of us when we retire? If I give them our retirement to pay for their education or take out loans that I will be paying back the rest of our lives, my husband and I will be in debt forever, and I can't live that way.
After giving up so much for our children for so many years, we deserve a future for ourselves as well. We were not low income, or a minority, or a first generation college attendee, so did not qualify for any grants. We get the basic $2,500 from FAFSA and the rest is up to us.
At the beginning of our daughter's senior year, she had all these big dreams to move away and go to college and I wasn't going to tell her otherwise.
We visited campuses and supported her in any way we could, all the while knowing that she was going to have to pay for whatever choice she made on her own. Then we sat down and discussed the numbers.
You could go away to college and come out of school with a debt of $80,000 or more, or stay home and get the exact same degree at a college right up the street while we continue to support your living expenses. You can keep your job and come out with half the debt or you can go to a junior college and have even less debt. It's all about growing up and making choices. A lot of parents pay for their children's college education. We have decided not to.
Don't get me wrong, we will help out our children whenever we can. Just like we've done over the past 18 years but this is their life now and it's time to take responsibility for it.
In fact, between some extra funds we gave to her for her graduation, gifts, private scholarships and her job, she may very well have her first year paid for without a loan.
Now, would she have worked as hard if it was just given to her? I'm not so sure! There's nothing wrong with working hard for what you want. You know we love and support you and will be here to guide you and help out whenever we can, but you're 18 now, so welcome to adulthood and the "real world!"
In about seven weeks I’ll be sending my third son off to college in Tennessee. So far, I’m 3 for 3 and I must say I am extremely proud that my sons have chosen to go away to school.
I was raised in a home where higher education wasn’t promoted—it wasn’t discouraged but it wasn’t encouraged either. I believe the main reason was because my parents thought it was too expensive and most definitely not something my family could afford.
The main thing that changed when I raised my children is that higher education is promoted. It's not only is it strongly encouraged, its expected. Education is expensive, but not having an education is a detriment to the success of my children’s lives.
Life has not been easy for my husband and me. Unfortunately, a college fund for our children was just not possible. My children have known all of their lives that hard work pays off and they have always known that they would have to work their way through college. My sons are getting by with working, grants, loans, and whatever support we can send them. They are happy with their choice and enjoying their “starving student” college experience.
I feel that every person, young and old, should have an opportunity to a higher education. If an education is what you desire, then you should go for it.
So many people waste time and money on things that will not last. They go into debt for clothes that will fade and not fit after a while or be out of style. Loans are taken out for cars that we can’t even fill with gas anymore. It is so cliché but I truly feel that education is an investment in the future of my children. They are putting themselves on the line, investing in their own future. Through the process of working their own way through college they are learning responsibility, diligence, perseverance and gaining an appreciation for their own lives.