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Our oldest daughter is completing her sophomore year at an expensive private college. Luckily, she is an amazing student and earned much in academic scholarships and grants, so it’s better, but we are struggling and it’s still more than state schools. She is extremely happy there and is thriving in college. She is currently earning enough money to study abroad for her first semester next year. She knows we can’t send her, so she’s earning the right to go, even if it means additional student loans.
Our youngest in still in high school and has never been what you would call a model student. She has no desire to go to college, but she loves photography and will enter a mentorship program for it next year. Hopefully this step (along with certification in cosmetology) will begin her dream career in fashion photography.
I think the only obligation a parent has is to love their children and support their decision, whether it means college or not. Forcing a child to go to college when they don’t want to be there or have a different dream is pointless and using college tuition as a manipulation tactic is awful!]]>
Being recently out of college myself, I can totally relate to this post. I’m not expecting a child anytime soon so I haven’t really thought about the whole raising and paying for college thing but I know that some degree parental input (whether it be financial or simply moral) is essential regardless of age or occupation.
Because I come form a family with very modest means, my college tuition ended up being a 50/50 kind of deal. I was lucky enough to be a little bit intellygant to I managed to pretty much breeze through high school and when college time came around, it was more a matter of where to go instead of whether to go.
I was offered a partial scholarship to a famous university in the northeast but in the end, I had to go to State school because even after the scholarship and financial aid, private school was still about 200% more expensive than State.
To bring my little story back on topic, I’ll say that parents have a responsibility to enable their children to live up to their potential. Many factors come into play and helping your child financially can be a great asset to a child when he/she is ready to blosom. The involvement of parents must be adapted for every single child. Nothing must be decided in advance.
Here are a few extreme scenarios:
1. Parents make it very clear that the child will get a free ride in college no matter what. Kid gets complacent and drops out/flunks everything/or worse.
2. Parents will pay for college but the child must follow in the family footsteps and carry the “family legacy”. Kid succeeds (or not) but may grow deeply unhappy.
3. Parents make it clear that they will not pay for college and that the gravy trains stops at HS graduation. Kid learns the value of tough love but may grow distant to his parents for missed opportunities (i.e. better, pricier school).
I think your point of view is leaning towards #3 and I think it is a bit early to decide already.
Something you didn’t mention in the post is the child’s maturity. Rather than have the “here’s the deal” college talk at the dinner table one night, I think it’d be much better to have the “college’s coming up, let’s make a deal”.
The key is balance. Giving your kid a freebie or throwing them out after high school are decisions that should not be made without first consulting the interested.
Building strong morals and values are very important to a child’s development but so are flexibility and open-mindedness.
Another option I’ve heard of that solves the “I’ll pay for college so I can tell you what to do with your life” problem is generous parents can set up a trust fund that can be used for educational expenses at any age or for anything once the recipient reaches a certain age (say, 30).]]>