I managed to make it through college without financial assistance from my folks. The husband managed to make it through college without assistance from his folks. We are both reasonably happy, reasonably successful, reasonably well-adjusted people.
In all my reading about financial matters, I keep running across articles about saving money for your kids’ college. Start as soon as you have the baby! they say. Saving just $10-$12K a year with an 8% return will leave you with enough for 4 years at a public school (at 90K a year, youch). I’ve read all kinds of articles about how parents are having to choose between retirement or paying their kids’ school bills. To me it’s an easy choice: 401k.
I guess I’m just heartless, but I don’t feel like I owe my kids a college education.
I will be the first to admit, that I was a little lucky when it came to being able to pay my school bills. As a Japanese American female, majoring in computer science, with good grades and even better test scores, I was what scholarship folks call “a good investment.” Oh, and coming from middle-America with a moderate financial need didn’t hurt either.
The husband got some good scholarships too, some based on merit, some on merit and financial need. He took out a modest student loan. And he got his degree.
So now here we are, with our degrees, in a very different world than the one we grew up in.
We are now in a world of entitlement, where ALL the kids in the local high schools drive nicer cars than anything I could have dreamed of when I was in high school. Where all the kids take SAT prep courses. (I took the SAT once; the $20 fee was not insignificant at the time.) Where all the kids are counting on money from mummy and daddy to put them through college.
With the cost of school rising faster than the rate of inflation, it does seem that expecting scholarships and loans to cover the full cost of school might not be reasonable in 20 years. And with our cushy white-collar jobs, our children won’t be eligible for anything need-based.
So how to balance out our desire to raise non-entitled children, while also not dooming them to a lifetime of paying back student loans? We haven’t figured that out yet. Good thing we don’t have kids yet …