Burning Question of the Day: Do you plan to pay for your child's college expenses? Why or why not?
Justin and I have talked long and hard about this. And for us, the short answer is no. From about middle school, we plan to be frank with our kids that we will to help where we can with living expenses and/or tuition, but we will by no means be paying for college or housing in it's entirety. If they wish to attend college, they will need to have the grades to support college scholarships, participate in an activity that would help them receive scholarships, or work and save during the time they're in high school.
If they don't wish to attend college enough to make that happen, they can work, learn a trade, or join the military. Will life be harder in some ways if they don't attend school? Sure. But it's their choice.
In college, I knew more than one person whose parents paid for every dime of their college experience, paid for their housing, and even gave them "fun money" on a monthly basis. Not one of these kids did well in school, and were more interested in partying than studying. More than once I heard them say, "Well I'm not paying for it."
My parents were by no means rich--they helped where they could, and I'm forever thankful for that. But the hard truth is that I turned down acceptance to a prestigious university because I couldn't afford it. The hard truth is that I transferred from a private school to a public school after my first year because we couldn't afford a second year at a private school. The hard truth is that I busted my butt to finish in three years instead of four, because I couldn't afford four. The cold hard facts were that my last term in college, I was working four different jobs, taking 22 credits, and planning a wedding. I didn't walk at graduation, because it was too expensive, and I had more important things to spend that money on. And you better believe I graduated Summa Cum Laude, because I was paying for most of it, and it was important to me to do well.
I don't bring this up to brag, or to say "poor me". In fact, I HATE when my husband or family members bring it up to people like I've done such an incredible thing...because really, it isn't all that incredible. I bring this up because to me, graduating from college was essential. And because it was essential to me, I made it work, and did whatever it took to make it work. It wasn't easy, and it wasn't always fun, but it also taught me absolutely invaluable life lessons about hard choices, sacrifices, and what it REALLY means to work hard. And it's a hard truth that I expect my kids to learn as well.
I know that my opinion may not be a popular one, and I'm curious to hear what you all have to say. So again: Do you plan to pay for your children's college expenses?