It’s Not Necessary To Pay For Your Kid’s College Education

****** Disclaimer (Edit): This post is in no way meant to reduce the accomplishment of those who had their parents pay for college for them, nor is it meant to be a compare/contrast of people that pay for their own vs. have it paid for - the purpose of it is to say "great if you can pay for your kids education. But if not, don't lose too much sleep". *******

Jefferson recently posted at See Debt Run about the pressures of paying for his three children's college education. I think it's very noble that Jefferson and Michelle are trying to pay for their kid's education; the cost of tuition is only rising, and it's expensive to get a degree. Some might argue that education isn't as necessary now as it was a few years ago, but I disagree.

I'm not going to get into the pros and cons of  post secondary education, but I'm going to talk a little bit about why it's not necessary to pay for your kid's college education.

My Story

Since I was little I knew I would go to college. My "dream" was to be successful in whatever I did when I was older, and my wonderful mother drilled it into my head that knowledge is important, and education is one way of gaining knowledge.

I also knew from a relatively young age that I would not have any parental help in paying for my post secondary education.

See, my parents divorced when I was eight, and my mom didn't have the money to help me as a single parent carrying a mortgage, and paying for two kid's college wouldn't ever become a reality.

When I was in high school, I worked two jobs to save up for my first semester. That was, for the most part, a fruitless effort, being that I just spent all of my money, but I was able to take out a loan to pay for it and it worked out fine.

I stopped taking out loans in my second year and have paid for my tuition out of pocket ever since. It takes a lot of hard work, and I had to prolong my education by about a year so that I could work and pay tuition (and living expenses - I moved out in my first year), but it was worth it. I did it all by myself. I learned a few underlying lessons along the way, that I would love to share with everyone, but especially parents who are worried about paying for their kid's education. Because I'm almost grateful that it wasn't handed to me.

Here's what I learned:

Hard Work Pays Off

I have always had to work, whereas many of my peers didn't have jobs. I go to a college that is known for it's flexible scheduling, and as such, there are many working individuals who take night classes as well.

My program is based largely around group work, so I have anywhere between 1-4 big group projects in any given class I'm in. Usually, my group is very diverse; the instructors set it up this way to give us a broad range of experience with different people.

In my experience, the working individuals - the people who have to work to put themselves through school - get just as good grades - if not better (in most cases) than their more privileged peers.

Because we have to pay for the courses, we actually want to be there. We value every last cent that comes out of our pockets and goes into the program that we're in, and therefore, we value the knowledge that is given to us (the service we receive).

Some of our peers don't value it as much because they don't know how much it takes to pay for a single semester.

You Are Responsible For Yourself

In my first semseter, I worked full-time and took five courses. I failed a course. It sucked. I cried. Then I moved on.

I learned a lesson from that; I learned that I was responsible for myself. My failing a class was due to my own error; I couldn't blame anyone else for it because I took on too much. It was my fault.

Nobody was going to pick me up and set me on the right path, I had to do it for myself. I have to be responsible for knowing my own limits, knowing what I can and cannot do, and recognizing my strengths and weaknesses.

I learned that if I slipped up and failed a course again, I'd have to pay for it twice. It's expensive. Plus, if the textbook was updated I'd have to get a new one, and I'd have to relive the same boring course again. I had to be responsible for my own life, my own finances, and my own education.

Living Within My Means

If I didn't figure this out, there's a good bet that I would either be in debt, or not in school at all.

I had a shopping habit in my first couple of years that got me into a bit of trouble, but then I smartened up with my money once I really sat down, looked at where it was going, and looked at how much debt I'd be in if I kept spending it the way I was while still having to pay for school and living expenses.

Many of my peers who didn't have to pay for college still don't truly understand the value of a dollar, because they haven't had to work their butts off to put themselves through school.

Forking out a few thousand dollars every few months really teaches a young adult about how to handle money in a way that a lecture from the parentals doesn't quite accomplish.

You Can Do Anything You're Willing to Work For

Lots of people think I'm crazy, especially when I'm working full-time and am enrolled as a student full-time. They don't even know about my blog or side hustles!

I'm not trying to be cheesy, but the fact of the matter is, the amount of pride I feel when I can actually say that I put myself through college .. it's just a great feeling. I think it's great when anyone goes to college regardless of who pays for it, but there is something so deeply satisfying and enriching to be able to recognize what you want, and go after it no matter what the obstacle.

It's very character building, and to be honest, if I didn't have to pay for my education I almost doubt I'd be as productive and ambitious as I am today (though I guess, if they're personality traits, they wouldn't just go away).

I guess it must be similar to how people feel when they run a really long marathon for which they've trained for ages, or when they see a company that they've built take off (to a much larger/smaller degree). To accomplish something that you've put sweat, tears, nervous breakdowns, sleepless nights, and empty savings accounts into (and probably some blood somewhere along the line ;), but that you've really wanted to do no matter the cost (emotionally, financially, and physically) is pretty cool.

What Will We Do?

Obviously, every parent wants to help put their kid through college (if even to just ensure that they go). We hope to be in a financial position to do so, one day. We'll definitely save up to help them with the expense if it's feasible, but we probably won't lose any sleep if it's not.

I do recognize that I don't have any kids right now so my opinion might change on the subject when I do. A friend of mine went through her Bachelors degree by paying for it herself, and taking out student loans (a hybrid). She worked her butt off, got through college, learned a lot from the experience, and her parents paid her loan after she graduated successfully (without telling her they were going to).

I like this idea. That way, you set your kid out on the path to independence, they learn a whole lot, and then they don't have to wallow in student debt.

Plus, if they think they are paying for it, they are less likely to waste your money on a couple of years of a program they have no interest in pursuing before switching.

I'm sure I'll change my mind a thousand times when I actually have kids, and I'm sure there are a lot of kids who just elected not to go to college because they didn't have financial support through it (but I have a theory that if they do that, they never really wanted it anyway), but in my experience it's reasonable - and even in some cases a good idea - to elect not to help children with their education.

What do you think? Did you have financial help through college or did you do it on your own? If you have kids (or want kids), what are you planning on doing? 



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67 thoughts on “It’s Not Necessary To Pay For Your Kid’s College Education

  1. When I was in high school I made it my mission to find a job that would pay my tuition. Thankfully they paid most of it.

    When I have children, I will most likely pay for their education. Hopefully by the time they are off to University, I would have already done a good job teaching them about money, so they don't have a sense of entitlement.

  2. My parents paid for my college 100%. I was responsible for incidentals. We spent all our lives not having Stuff (dishwasher, dryer, nintendo, vhs, etc.) because they valued education more than things.

    I got mostly As with a few Bs my first semester when I overextended myself (Differential equations, junior level Spanish, stupid freshman seminar, Chemistry 101, teaching with upward bound, private tutoring, grading.) I cut back on the paid work after that. I was able to take only jobs that would further my career-- grading, teacher assisting, research. I double majored in two difficult majors.

    I got into the #1 graduate school in the country in my field. I now make a reasonably good amount of money and could make more if I decided to change careers out of academia. (I think we're in the 5% last time I checked.)

    So, the point here is that paying or not paying for your kid's tuition isn't the only important thing, and depending on the kid, not paying can encourage them not to be slackers or it can cause them to not be able to achieve academically to the level they could reach if they weren't spending so much time working or worrying about their future debt loads etc.

    Additionally, it seems more unfair when wealthy parents don't pay because their kids don't qualify for financial aid and are stuck with much larger debt. This can keep them from going into any field that isn't lucrative enough to pay off their high interest loans. And money isn't everything.

    1. Post author

      Agree completely about the wealthy parents part. You can't get loans to pay for it, and you don't have anybody to pay for it, so then what?

      I guess my take on it was more from the point of view that if parents are struggling to pay for it, it's not necessary. It's fabulous if the parents are wealthy and can!

      1. High income parents can be bad with money or just not value higher education... so they can still struggle to pay, but instead of using character building as an excuse not to pay for their kids' education they should probably see a financial adviser.

        1. Dawn

          It is entirely possible to go through college, two semesters a year, full-time and still pay for your tuition without any loans, or at least being able to pay them off within the semester. I go to a good, but inexpensive 4-year school. I work a part time job and am looking for a better paying one. I live in my parent's house, but I'm getting close to moving out. I take a school payment plan that spreads out my payment over the semester and costs $25 extra. Students don't have to take a loan. however, every situation is unique. I believe wealthy people do not need to fully fund thier students and should only partially fund if they feel it is necessary, not as a general rule. this took a while to say, sorry. and you could certainly be right. I may be making wrong generalizations. 😀

  3. I definitely agree with you! We are very much alike. My parents didn't give me money for college (even though I think my dad would have, but that opportunity didn't present itself).

    I had to pay for college, my own place to live and everything else at the age of 18. Yes I did leave with debt, but it worked out well.

  4. I agree with Nicoleandmaggie - it's more about the personality of the child. I didn't want to fail a course because I didn't want to fail a course or take it again. I knew exactly how much each course cost me. My mom was quite happy when I figured out that taking an extra course each semester was free and I did that many semesters, saving them a full semester's tuition and living expenses!

    I don't think it's reasonable to spend $20K a year on clothes either. Again, it's not representative of income or means, but personality.

    Every person I knew whose parents paid for their education had a different philosophy on it. Some parents paid for parts, some parents paid for the whole thing. Some kids goofed off and didn't care and spent all of their money. Some kids put a ton of effort into their schoolwork and saved their money.

    I would have hated taking on debt to finish my degree, but I don't think I would have worked full-time either. I don't know a single person from my program who worked full-time or part-time during their degree and many of them were paying for their own degree - our degrees were lucrative enough that that simply wasn't worth it.

    An engineering degree is character building, regardless of who pays for it.

    I agree though that if parents can't afford to pay for their children's education, they shouldn't. If I have kids, I will definitely be paying for a good portion of their school, but I want to make sure that they understand how much it costs. If you can't afford to pay 100%, you can pay for little things, like buying them groceries occasionally or paying for them to fly home at Christmas if they went far away.

    My parents made enough money that I wouldn't have gotten any government-funded student loans and I only could have gotten private ones, which would have been really expensive.

    I also had high-paying internships, so I could have theoretically paid for a pretty good portion of my schooling once I had an internship under my belt.

    1. Post author

      "An engineering degree is character building, regardless of who pays for it." <--- YES. About any degree, not just engineering, but totally agree. I don't think my friend has a personality that would lend itself to spending $20K on a wardrobe, I just don't think she fully understands how much money 20K is.

  5. Emily @ evolvingPF

    We will try to help our children pay for college. I want my kids to be able to focus on their studies when they are in school. Honestly, I never met or heard of a single person at my college who worked more than 10 hours per week (and it was a very small community). The coursework was simply too demanding to allow for such an enormous timesink.

  6. Seriously, thank you for this. My wife and I are trying to save for our daughters' college educations and saving is really tough for it. I think my wife and I have resigned ourselves to helping pay for a portion of college and having our girls pay the rest. So many people get mean about us thinking this way, but honestly, ti's their education at that point! It's nice to hear that you're doing fine with having had to pay and that it's okay for students to pay their own way if they must!

  7. I definitely wasn't helped through college although if we have children I would like to help them a bit (if we're able...which to me means we're doing well on our retirement savings).

    If I help them get through college I will definitely have a few requirements for them though: they will have to work (probably throughout the year) and will have to maintain a certain GPA throughout college.

  8. I'm not sure, I agree and disagree.

    I paid for my university education, but it was a struggle and the debt I have now is an unnecessary burden. I think I'd strike some sort of deal with my kids: like I"ll pay tuition & fees, but you're not allowed to live at home and you have to buy your own books (or vice versa).

    I don't want to raise bratty spoiled children but I also don't want to bar them from a post-secondary education just because of the cost.

    I know I WILL pay for my children to TAKE A YEAR OFF between high school and college. I hate the idea of going directly from high school into university. I'll give them $5,000 NOT to go (and $0 if they do go) right out of high school. They can use my free $5,000 to backpack Europe or something but if they jump right into university studies 2 months after high school education I'm going to be super disappointed.

    1. Post author

      YES. Travel is SO IMPORTANT .. I'd rather pay for my kids to travel than go to school, if I absolutely had to chose between the two, but I'd want to make sure that my kid went to school (it's important to me).

      1. Fascinating. The rule in my house was we had to go to first year, then we could take a year off. The logic was, once you were out of the school system it was easy to stay out. ie - I had friends who would miss admission dates and what not, simply because they weren't in the loop. The "one year off" often turned into 5 years working at Starbucks and going to Thailand.

  9. I like the idea of the parent who paid for the student loans as a surprise after college. That would give their child a real opportunity to accept financial responsibility without getting saddled with big post-college debt.

    In my case, my mom paid my tuition and I was quite grateful for that. I'm now realizing that this delayed my financial maturity and made me not really value my courses enough. In my mind I was just there for the diploma at the end. I didn't stop to think how much those courses each cost.

    So when I have kids I will try to find a good middle ground, where they are encouraged to go, but will have to accept some responsibility. I'll be sure to remind them how much the courses cost anyway.

  10. Kylie Ofiu

    My parents paid for our first year if we wanted, but ultimately our tuition was our responsibility, as was buying our own car etc. I think things like this are our own responsibility, not our parents. Great post and you have a done a great job.

  11. My parents paid for my first year (well, what was left after my scholarships), then they made an ultimatum I disagreed with. I left home, put myself through the last 3 years, gave them back their car, and vowed never to borrow money from my parents ever again.

    But my husband's parents put him through school and even have us the remainder of his college fund to use as a downpayment on our current home.

    Seeing it from both sides and how my husband and I turned out, I don't think who pays for school is what matters. I think the only thing that matters is how the student sees school. If they view it as a 4 year party, then no matter who pays, they're screwed. If they see it as a stepping stone to the next part of life, then whoever is paying will see their money's worth. 🙂

  12. I was in a similar situation, except my parents divorced right when I was going to college. So I had expected some help. And the government expected them to help me. Didn't happen. Everything panned out in the end. I'm now going back to school for a field I don't necessarily need a degree in to work. It's because I was married before that I'm able to get the grants that are allowing me to go (plus scholarships.) I worked my butt off in the years in between, but all that allowed me to do was pay the bills and not much more. I wasn't willing to go into debt when I knew I wouldn't be making a huge huge salary to pay it off when I graduated. I think if you can help, you should help your children. You don't want them getting stuck at one of those "in between" jobs. I'm not bitter about what happened. I never would have explored the field I'm in if it hadn't worked out the way it did. But I'm very lucky I discovered it. You should work hard to pay for it yourself, but if you're a parent whose income limits grant and other financial aid opportunities, I feel like you have some kind of obligation to help.

  13. I think as a parent, you want what's best for your kid and their education. I completely agree with what Crystal said above: "I don’t think who pays for school is what matters. I think the only thing that matters is how the student sees school".

    I believe education after high school is important, but the education and the process of getting said education have to be important to the student regardless of how the tuition is being paid.

    My parents paid for my tuition, but I paid for everything else on my own: books for school, parking permits, car payments and maintanance for the car, any other living expenses, etc... while working a full time job the whole time. It was hard, but I'm glad for the experience.

  14. I paid for my first year of college with student loans, just the amount for the tuition though. After my first year I joined the military and the benefits paid for almost everything after. I don't know what I will do when we decide to have kids. I think I will probably start putting money away into some sort of college savings investment account for him/her/them, but they will not know about it. Maybe do what you were talking about, pay it after they get the student loans. The only thing I am sure about is that I'm not going to just pay for everything, there will be incentives to get good grades. They will need to earn it.

  15. I did have college paid for by my parents but there are so many options available now that it's not necessary. I will however do my best to pay for as much of my children's education as I can.

  16. I had some help from my parents in paying for college tuition. I made it easy on them though because I went to a state school and got some scholarships to help with the cost.

    I think helping your children pay for college is great if you have money left over after fully funding your own retirement. However, until that point, having your child take out federal student loans is a good move because it teaches them the value of a dollar.

  17. I took on most of my college tuition but my parents helped pay for a portion of it. Worked out well for my situation.

  18. I think paying for college yourself is a huge responsibility. Kudos to you! My BF did the same exact thing - loans + tried to pay out of pocket then later learned responsibility and started working more.

    We all make mistakes but I think paying for your own education is a huge learning tool. A lot of my friends are so spoiled, they are just now learning how to manage finances (rent/utilities/paycheck) AT THE AGE of 25. I mean it's ridiculous.

    I was lucky enough that the govt paid for half of my tuition (my dad is a military vet) and I went to a cheaper state school. My mom did something like what your friend's parents did - she forced me to work while going to school. I paid for all of my living expenses. It was stressful and it's how I got into credit card debt. They're making me pay for law school though which is 1 billion times more expensive. Part of me wishes they could just help me out but c'est la vie. Knowledge is power, and if I need to take out loans for furthering my education, then I gotta do what I gotta do.

    Lovely post!

  19. Justin @ The Family Finances

    My parents didn't pay anything of mine once I turned 16 and got a part-time job. From that point on, I just accepted that whatever I want in life I just have to work for. I graduated high school near the top of my class and earned several scholarships. Since my family was borderline poverty, I also received a lot of state grants to help pay for college. Those plus scholarships allowed me to attend college and only take out around $5,000 in loans. But I worked 30 hours a week all through college and still graduated with honors (3.9 GPA).

    I'm still planning on helping our son pay for college and started a 529 the year he was born. I know my contributions won't be enough to pay his entire way, but it will help.

  20. I have to politely disagree. I've been financially independent since I was 16 and my parents didn't pay for my education, it all came from me and college was incredibly difficult for it - working full time and going to school full time. I think if you're choosing to be a parent, you should also be choosing to ensure they are on a good path. There are ways to teach financial responsibility without leaving them to pay for their own higher education.

  21. Jeff and I have talked about this often. We know that we will not just be handing over a wad of cash to our teenage children when the time comes. If I'm helping to pay for the education, I'm going to have something to say about where they go to school and what they want to study. If they have a problem with that, they can go ahead and pay for it themselves. 🙂 (I don't foresee that happening...)

  22. I paid for my own University degree through working part time jobs, summer jobs, and at me mum and dads shop. I've recently went back to school and paid for that as well, all 5 years of it.

    Mrs.CBB paid for her own education even though she received OSAP, and recently wrote a blog post about this experience and it got me thinking. Kids today almost expect their parents to pay for their education. Then there comes the parents that can and the parents that can't. I think striking a deal is a great idea. Kids need to learn early that money doesn't grow on trees and they SHOULD be participating in paying for their education. If we don't step up to the plate now there's no hope. Not every parent can pay, nor should they. If you can,have them participate and work summer jobs etc that might be ideal rather then sending them on their way with x amount of $. They will thank you. Just my opinion. Great Post Mr.CBB

  23. Well, my hypothetical children are going to be the smartest, prettiest/handsomest hypothetical children the world has ever seen, so they'll get free rides.

    Problem solved.

    I like the idea of paying a loan back but not letting your college-aged kid know until they graduate.

    1. "Well, my hypothetical children are going to be the smartest, prettiest/handsomest hypothetical children the world has ever seen, so they’ll get free rides."
      - obviously! Everything will be perfect and you can sit back and beam 🙂

  24. Great post! My parents helped pay for my living expenses during college. For three years, I received 4K to 5K a year. This is a lot for my parents. They had to work more and sacrifice some things. The rest I paid for with scholarships (85%). I worked really hard in high school and it paid off because I was graciously offered a great scholarship at my university. In college, I worked even harder to get more scholarships. I still feel guilty for taking my parents' money. I plan on repaying my mom little by little.

  25. My mom could NOT pay for my college education and luckily I was able to get merit scholarships for most of my undergrad expenses. Graduate school is where most of my loans came from--ugh. My husband had his college paid for 100% and I know that's the expectation from his family that we will do the same.

    With a baby on the way now, we plan on setting up a fund as soon as it's born and encouraging the grandparents to contribute to it. We plan on putting money in it too (and doing this for each kid that we have). Once the kids start working, they will be expected to contribute as well. If we're able to pay for all of it through this method, great. If not, well, they will be responsible for the rest. Even though my husband had his education paid for, he admits he took it for granted and "milked" it.

  26. I guess there is more than enough time to plan for college once a baby is born. Even if it's not enough to cover full payment, as long as it contributed much to make college days run more smoothly for the child.

  27. Simple Rich Living

    I am with the camp that my parents couldn't afford to pay my post secondary education. I knew they would if they had the means. I wasn't good (nor was I really bad) with money throughout university (because if I was I would be a lot better off right now). I don't have kids but when/if I do, I would help pay for a portion of it and have them work to pay for a portion.

  28. My parents paid for roughly 1/4 of my college costs. I did have a lot of scholarships, and I went to a state school, so it wasn't as expensive as it could have been. I only worked part time during the school year (starting when I was 16) and full time over the summer, which covered my living expenses and all but my last semester of tuition. Actually, it would have covered my last semester, but I knew I was moving out of state after graduation, and I decided that a student loan was less evil than some sort of personal loan to cover moving expenses/first month's rent/security deposit/etc.

    Even though student loans are annoying, and it sucked starting out as a married couple with almost no money in the bank, I wouldn't change anything about what I did. I, personally, would not have been able to work full time during the year AND pass all of my classes for both of my majors, AND participate in the other activities that I used as a resume builder. I knew I wanted to go to grad school right after college, and for me, taking extra time to get my bachelors degree would not have been worth not having student loans.

    I hope to be able to help my theoretical future kids out with college costs, but I will make sure they have to cover some of their living expenses. It seems to me that paying for stuff helps build financial responsibility, but what you get out of college is more determined by personality.

  29. Katie

    I wasn't helped but that's mainly just because I have an independent streak in me and I take pride in being able to do things on my own. On the other hand I think a lot of parents feel the need to pay for their kids college expenses to make sure that they go to college. Not everybody has the drive to get an education and without having help paying for their expenses they may not even try to get a degree.

  30. Hailey

    I was one of the kids who had university paid for (sorta)... my parents paid for tuition every year and textbooks and a few other things. But, I had to cover my living expenses. I didn't work while going to university, so I took out student loans to help cover the costs. (I went to a school provinces away from home, so I also had to pay for flights home at Christmas + end-of-year... those add up!).

    I now owe about $24K in student loans. Some of my friends probably look at me as one of the spoiled kids (parents helped me when they could). BUT, I like to think that I'm learning the ropes, I pay more than the minimum on my loans every month AND I give $250 to my parents every month to help them out (one parent is off work due to illness).

    So, I do think I was spoiled to have help, but either way, I'm appreciative and I'm still paying loans back.

    One friend of mine had her parents pay for everything (food, tuition, rent, clothes, everything), but she was very appreciative and knows the value of a dollar. The only jealousy I have is that she is miles ahead of me when it comes to buying a house, traveling, etc. because she has no debt.

    Congrats on putting yourself through school, I really admire that and applaud your hard work!

  31. I applaud you for posting this - in the Canadian situation, there is no way that an individual would not be able to go to post-secondary. Also, when people have to pay themselves, (I feel) they are more likely to pick something with a paycheque at the end. That said, I believe there is a balance between parents paying and not paying. As others have mentioned, it all comes down to the person.
    My spouse and I disagree regarding paying for kids tuition. Spouse got to keep summer earnings, mine were basically gone by mid Sept, after tuition and books. My spouse figures that he would never have finished school if he had to pay for it, because he really hated 3rd year. I'm in the camp that there needs to be some contribution by the student so that they value the dollars. This is the same reason I am against completely free university education. [I'm all for subsidy, like we have now.]

  32. congratulations! Your situation has put you light years ahead of so many graduates who had the bank of mom and dad pay for their years of partying!

    My wife and I have already told our kids that we'll pay for 2 years of community college for the fundamentals, but they are on their own for the rest. I know many people who sacrifice their own retirement for their children's college, but you can't take out a retirement least not yet anyway. 🙂

  33. Go you for all your hard work and moreover, recognizing the responsibility you have for yourself--something way too often overlooked in today's society.

  34. I think everyone is different when it comes to going it alone or having assistance. My wife's parents paid for her college, but she also used her free time to earn 2 degrees in 3 1/2 years.

    I put myself through college, but I'm fairly certain that I'll be aiding my children.Sure, you can do it on your own, but I also don't want my children hindered by having to work in school as I was. I grew up a lot going to school full-time and working 60 hr weeks, but I don't recommend it.

  35. I payed for half of my college tuition. I wasn't expecting to as my parents didn't give me much warning but it was a wise decision. I worked my @$$ off and finished in less than 4 years.

    If I have a lot of money when/if I have kids I think I will make them pay for a portion of their college tuition because I learned so much from my experience and would want them to learn too.

  36. When I asked my mom about what she was doing to pay for my college education she'd say, "The Lord will make a way." This frustrated me to no end. I thought it was reckless. However, I made sure I received an academic scholarship which covered tuition, fees and most of my books.

    I worked part-time for the overwhelming majority of my college career. Every semester I made either the President's List or the Dean's List. I knew that my destiny was determined by me.

    My mom did start me off with $5,000, and she paid my car note and car insurance. That was a big help, but the rest was up to me. The biggest gift my mother gave me was telling me to make sure I got a degree that was worth the time, sacrifice and loss of income.

    I plan on saving my for my (currently non-existent) children's college education, but I won't stress over it.

  37. I was always a bit bitter that my parents didn't save for my tuition but at the same time, I was working in high school and probably should have done more to save that money to ease the burden. But I didn't. Paying off the debt for the past few years has been a huge burden, but it has also taught me the importance of saving money. I like the idea of giving your kids the loan and then paying off the remainder, but I like to think that I'll cut a deal with my kids where they save up for half of their first year and only then will I cough up the other half. I figure this will teach them to save AND I'll be able to help!

  38. Great post. I paid for tuition and my parents helped chip in for living expenses. I fully agree that kids should pay for at least some of their education - you appreciate something a lot more if you actually have to pay for it! I've known too many people who flunked out b/c they didn't care and Mom and Dad paid the bill.

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  44. I'm coming a little late to this conversation, but basically I'd say I disagree with you. My parents paid for my undergraduate education and I felt very intense pressure to not screw up because they were paying for it. I have very deep respect for both of my parents, so getting straight A's and staying in line was my way of showing that respect. If I had paid for my undergraduate education I would have definitely been MUCH less serious about my studies, as was the case in graduate school when I was paying. I didn't fail any classes - I still got all A's actually - but I definitely didn't take the program as seriously as my undergraduate program.

    I guess maybe it says something about me that I treat other peoples' money with more respect than my own, but I also think that my parents invested an incredible amount of time and energy into making me an appreciative, respectful person who is cognizant that I come from a privileged background and that I'd better not ever get lazy or complacent just because THEY have money….I think there's a post of my own coming on!!

  45. To tie my feelings into a neat bow, though, I'd say that if you raise your kids right, they would never even consider dilly dallying around majoring in basket-weaving for three years or partying their nights away. So I don't think it's necessary to withhold college funding (if you can afford it) to teach them a lesson about responsibility. They will be responsible by the time they're 18 or 19 if you've done your job.

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  54. bb

    My parents did not pay for my education; they did say they would "help" me repay loans when I graduated, and the did. Not alot, I repaid the bulk and paid some semesters in cash. That being said, I'm glad they didn't and I never expected them to. It was MY education, why should anyone else pay for it? We have such a sense of entitlement in this country. Maybe some of you that had your education paid for by parents did well in school. But in my experience, I honestly cannot count beyond one hand the people I went to school with that actually graduated with their parents paying their education. They just didn't accomplish the goals and I have a feeling if it was their money paying for it, they would have.

  55. Post author

    Great comment, Hellen. While certainly it doesn't look good for me to have a Fail on my transcript, I could have one and continue in my program as long as the rest of my grades kept my GPA at a certain, minimum amount - which they did. After failing that course I was able to achieve As and Bs in all of my classes. I bit off more than I could chew and while I was certainly VERY upset that I failed, I definitely learned a lesson from it.

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