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Should Parents Pay for College?

Should Parents Pay for College? post image

There are many parent debating whether or not they should pay for college for their children. For us, we’re a bit divided. My husband and I want to have a bit of money to help out with college, but we don’t want to give an unlimited line of credit.

We’ve discussed this before as well. Right now we’re focusing on paying down the last student loan before we make any contributions in a college fund. I think that parents should get their own finances in order before killing themselves over a college fund. Hopefully we’ll only have a year or so before we have to sit down again and make a decision about what we’ll do for our little one. For now, I’d thought it would be helpful to go over the pros of paying for college today and then tackle the pros of NOT paying for your kid’s college expenses.

Why Parents Should Pay For College

I’ve heard plenty of reasons from parents about why they have a college fund for their kids. I want to share them along with a few of my thoughts.

  • Having college paid for means they can focus on learning. Parents worry that if they didn’t cover college kids would be stressed over paying bills and getting an education. Instead they’d prefer their kids to focus on studying and getting the best grades.
  • Gives them a debt free start. Parents say that paying for college means that their child begin their adult lives debt free. That can be true, but that also means that the student has to avoid other debts, including credit debt.
  • Gives them freedom to explore options. With no student loans to worry about, students can then try opportunities that may not pay well in the short term, but be a good investment for the future like an internship.
  • Family tradition. For some parents, paying for their kid’s post-secondary education is par for the course. Having their college paid by their parents, they feel an obligation to continue that tradition.
  • They have the money. If parents have the cash to pay for college, some feel like it’s their responsibility to do so.

As for me, I can see the first one being a reason to have a college fund ready. It would make it feel good to know that our daughter can focus on her studies instead of juggling bills. However, just because we pay for college doesn’t mean she wouldn’t have a budget she’d have to keep track of. Going to college isn’t about living in a bubble.

Are You Paying for College?

Of course that is just one side of the debate. I’ll discuss the other in my next post. Until, though, I’d like to hear from you if you’ve been saving up for your children’s college expenses. Why do you decide to help them pay for college? How much are you trying to save up?

by Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

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  1. We are planning on paying for our son’s college, but that doesn’t mean that we are going to give him a free ride. I want him to start saving up for college like he will be paying for it. It would be a great surprise to have him save it up and then give him the money. That should start him out well. While I want him to focus on his education, he will need to learn how to multitask and work alongside his college education.