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So Monday was about reasons parents choose to pay for their kids' college.

For some parents, they have been planning on this as soon as their kids were born and they have worked hard to give this gift.

Why Parents Shouldn't Pay For College

Now on the other side is the debate, there are just as caring and sincere parents who argue that having their kids pay for their own college tuition is a great opportunity that they want them to have.

Some reasons I've heard boil down to:

  • Self-Sufficiency: I've heard parents say that part of the college experience is to learn how to stand on one's own two feet.  They feel that having their kids take care of their own college education is a valuable learning experience.
  • Family finances: Parents have to look at the big picture when it comes to college expenses. If paying for college means there's no money for retirement than that can be a huge problem.
  • Smarter Consumers: As college tuition becomes expensive, some parents are trying to encourage their kids to be more conscientious shoppers when it comes to getting a degree. They want their kids to have some skin in the game so they hopefully will look for schools that offer a solid education while keeping costs reasonable.

I have to admit that I feel like these  are all very valid reasons not to pay for college. I think that every couple has to look at both the numbers and the family when deciding what to do.

I truly believe that before you can help you children financially with an expense like college, you have to have your finances in order.

After all, you’re trying to help them avoid having a huge debt, so you have to lead by example.

As a result, children should look for other ways to pay for college. Even if you are able to help your children out with some of the expenses, it can ease some of your burdens if they are able to pay for part of it on their own.

One such method is through applying for scholarships. Every school has scholarship information readily available on its website, so your children simply have to read the information and begin applying.

The school's website will also have information on grants and federal loans, giving your children plenty of different funding options.

Many grown children are struggling with supporting their parents during retirement while raising their own families.

Many parents want to do their best to avoid this emotionally and financially draining situation. Having a retirement plan ready now can help you and your children down the road.

Are You Paying for College?

I would love to get your feedback on this huge concern for many families. If you aren't paying for your kids' college expenses, what are your reasons?

About 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..

6 comments add your comment

  1. I plan on saving the full amount for my sons education, but I would like him to figure out how to pay for it without him knowing that we have the money.

  2. My parents expected me to pay for school, and urged me to apply for grants and scholarships to help offset the cost. While I have a ton of debt from school ($65k, although I did a master’s too), I think kids should pay for some of their school themselves. Paying for something (as opposed to receiving it free) makes people value it more because they’ve got a little skin in the game.

    We should do a few things:
    -Help youth realize exactly how much those loans they’re taking out are – i.e. what can $8,000 buy? How long will it take to earn? How long will you be paying that loan? What is the cost per class of your education (so if you skip class because you’re lazy, that hour is worth $xxx and you spent $xxx sitting on your couch watching tv).
    -Help youth realize that they’re not going to get bang-up jobs right out of college that pays a ton. Most people won’t, anyway, so set expectations low.
    -Provide non-tuition support. I took out loans, worked through school and my parents helped me with living expenses when I needed it. Gradually, I needed less and less support from them as I earned more (and spent less on stupid shit).

  3. I paid for college all on my own, but I think when we have kids that we would want to pay for at least some of it. We would have to figure out a way for them not to be spoiled by this though.

  4. In August I will have two children in college. Both worked hard in high school and earned partial merit scholarships. My oldest has been on the dean’s list all four semesters in college and will receive an additional merit scholarship because of this. In my opinion, this is the best way kids can help pay for college. I would rather they maintain their excellent grades and take advantage of other opportunities to enrich their education than struggle to make good marks because they are saddled with paying for college.

    Every family is different, but we have worked hard to save for their educations and we are happy to pay the amount that isn’t covered by their scholarships. They both buy their own clothes and pay most of their gas and incidental expenses with the money they earn from summer jobs. We pick up the rest.

  5. I will be helping my kids with college, but we’ll have a detailed plan on how they’ll be going about it. If they don’t like that plan, they don’t get my money. I’m convinced that if student loans weren’t available to me I would’ve graduated college faster, without debt, and with higher grades. Instead my first semester I took out a few loans, had no financial pain in the process, and made 3 C’s and 1 B. The next semester I took out more in loans (spent the student loan refund check on 100 Tacos for the guys in my dorm to eat) and had 2 B’s, 3 C’s and 1 D. The rest of school continued that way. Had I known the damage student loans would’ve caused after school I would have done it a different way.

    Junior Colleges are not a bad word. In fact I think it’s insane to pay “full retail price” to take your 60 hours of basic coursework like English, Science, Math and History from the 4 year university. Instead, head over to a Jr. College and knock those 60 hours out paying a whopping $1,800 in tuition for all of the coursework and then transfer those credits over to your 4 year university. This gives you some more time to think about what type of degree program you want to pursue and more time to work hard to save up the cash to pay for your degree. That hard work gives you valuable work experience and relationships which will put you ahead of most college graduates and you’ll have a leg-up on the job market.