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Old 02-20-2007, 10:35 AM   #1
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Paying for College Education

I'm interested to hear what everyone thinks about this topic. Last night I was watching the news and they did a short segment on the best ways to save for your child's college education. The man they focused on said he began saving before they even had their first baby. I was really, really shocked by this, considering I just got married and will probably have kids say seven years from now. I have not even been able to start a retirement fund, let alone saving for college. Is this something I'm supposed to be doing? The new segment made it sound normal, like it's expected. They interviewed a financial planner that said "All you have to do is save just $150 a month now [as in, newlyweds planning families for the near future] and add more later." I feel pretty bad b/c there's no WAY on God's green earth I can save $150/mo for the future education of a hypothetical child. I suppose that makes me a bad parent to begin with. Is this really normal?!? The whole segment left me dumbfounded, considering my husband and I are already $100,000 in student debt (a lot of this is from private banks as well as federal loans) and he is back in school full time so that will only grow, and then if I go to grad school....don't want to think about it!

I know it's fairly normal for parents in the US to pay for college. I did not think this was normal until I started school and realized I was in the minority (our household attitude is, you want it, you work for it, and my parents could never afford to help me w/ school even if they wanted to). But what about Canada, Europe, etc? Is it common for parents to start saving before or as soon as a child is born? Do you have to take out loans from the government and private banks?
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Old 02-20-2007, 10:44 AM   #2
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I too was surprised how many parents pay for their students' college! That wasn't even an option for me.

Luckily though, I had scholarships and I worked. But I'm also often surprised about how much people pay for college too. Especially after learning about scholarships and grants and other options to reduce tuition. There's really SO MUCH free money out there, but a lot of my students didn't even apply for any of it, their parent(s) just reached into their pocket.

I guess what I'm saying is don't feel like you have to resort to loans. I mean, I think it is wonderful you are thinking about this so soon, but, there's definitely ways to get other people to pay for college.
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Old 02-20-2007, 10:48 AM   #3
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It's a sad thing. Many families have such a hard time paying the bills they need to live with they can't even think of saving for that far ahead, and even if they do they end up digging into it the next time the electric is in danger of being turned off. It would be great if everyone could get a scholarship but of course they don't. I am afraid some student loans these days are starting to take advantage of people and put them in the hole before they're ever making a living. My dream is that the government would pay for them but that's not happening in America any time soon, I know. In the past, a person could make a good living without a degree but that isn't true anymore. Despite this sad fact it's getting harder and harder to pay for education, leaving some good people sentenced to a life of shitty jobs and low pay.
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Old 02-20-2007, 11:06 AM   #4
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I don't even want to know what it's going to cost by the time my kids are college age.
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Old 02-20-2007, 11:11 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by phanan
I don't even want to know what it's going to cost by the time my kids are college age.
Yeah, no kidding! My husband and I were 100K each, for our undergrad degrees. I was a pretty smart cookie in high school, so I did get scholarships and need-based aid from the school, but 25k - the max. scholarships and aid = still thousands leftover.

I was thinking we'd start saving for retirement, maybe a house or even a car...but saving for my non-existent kids' ed. when I'm not even done w/ my own sounded pretty absurd at the time. The news people should have interviewed some couples OUR age.
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Old 02-20-2007, 11:26 AM   #6
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I'm amazed by how many parents foot the bill for the kids' college education. I also think that saving up from when the kid is very young...or before the kid is even born...has good intentions, but it's also deciding for the child that they are going to go to college. College isn't for everyone.
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Old 02-20-2007, 11:31 AM   #7
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The government in the UK pays most of the tuition for most of the less well off families. Tuition fees at the moment are capped at £3000 a year a year, previously it was £1200 a year back. You get assessed based on your parental income how much of a grant you get and how much of your fees you pay, so it can range from you paying the whole lot to a fraction of the cost.

The government loan is also assessed on parental income, from 2005-06 I got around £4,500 from the government as a loan, which you pay back after your course once you start earning above £12,000 a year I think at a pretty low interest rate which I need to check up on.

That said I dropped out of uni after first year now trying to get into medicine at another uni, I reckon by the time I finish I will owe in total about £20,000 in loans from the government...I find that scary, the amount you owe is tear inducing
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Old 02-20-2007, 11:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by LJT
The government in the UK pays most of the tuition for most of the less well off families. Tuition fees at the moment are capped at £3000 a year a year, previously it was £1200 a year back. You get assessed based on your parental income how much of a grant you get and how much of your fees you pay, so it can range from you paying the whole lot to a fraction of the cost.

The government loan is also assessed on parental income, from 2005-06 I got around £4,500 from the government as a loan, which you pay back after your course once you start earning above £12,000 a year I think at a pretty low interest rate which I need to check up on.

That said I dropped out of uni after first year now trying to get into medicine at another uni, I reckon by the time I finish I will owe in total about £20,000 in loans from the government...I find that scary the amount you owe is tear inducing
Were you at UU before?

I'm paying the full £1200 a year for my university course because I started before the £3000 fees were introduced. The difference is I pay now but nowstudents get a loan every year and after their degrees they pay it all back once they are earning a certain amount. In my first/second year my parents paid part of it or I paid myself with savings from working, third year I still paid half fees despite living abroad (something they are trying to change at the university ). This year i'm relying fully on my loan.

It was great I could manage to pay myself or with the help of my parents but after being away for a while and not living at home anymore it's impossible, if I had fees of £3000 I'd have a crippling amount of debt.
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Old 02-20-2007, 12:00 PM   #9
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UU, as in Ulster Uni? No I was over in Bristol Uni, twas fun........a bunch of students there are suing the uni though, actual contact hours with tutors and lecturers has been cut dramatically in Bristol and a lot of unis especially in the arts ie. English, History etc, some are only getting 4 hours a week, and they are suing on not getting value for money.
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Old 02-20-2007, 12:01 PM   #10
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In australia, if you are an australian citizen you're eligible for HECS (Higher Education Contribution Scheme) Where you pay nothing up front for university, but start paying once you are earning a certain amount per annum - 32K I think.

Depending on what degree you do, it can cost $10000 - $100000 for university.
Of course, you can pay as you go too, and you get a % off the cost if you can do that, but most people I know just paid off Uni once they were working.

I don't think parents should have to foot the whole bill for uni education, particularly not if it puts their own finances in jeopardy!! I certainly never expected my parents to pay - they helped out with text books and that kind of stuff, but i never expected them to pay my fees!!
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Old 02-20-2007, 12:47 PM   #11
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Unless you get a scholarship, a state university is the way to go. Tuition tends to be a lot cheaper (relatively speaking) than most private schools which is important because these days a bachelor's degree is almost worthless. It's now the equivalent of a high school diploma 25 years ago. Everyone has one and an advanced degree really is needed to rise above the pack. The advanced degrees don't come cheap, which is why doing undegrad on the cheap becomes more important.
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Old 02-20-2007, 01:48 PM   #12
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I don't even want to think about it.

I went to a Community College, got a couple of Assoc Degrees in Computer Programming, and then got a job in IT as a DBA. I would consider myself to be doing very well $$$ considering I don't have anything above a 2 year.

My fiancee went to a private college, got her Bachelors in something General, then decided to become a nurse, and went to that schooling. She's now going back to school for culinary arts. That being said:

I think if we have a child, and he/she doesn't qualify for scholarship, then taking the CC route is the best idea. Get your core classes out of the way the first year or two, then transfer up to a state university. At least take the first year or two to figure out what you want to do, then move on to a school that will provide the best education for that study.
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Old 02-20-2007, 02:11 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by BEAL
Get your core classes out of the way the first year or two, then transfer up to a state university. At least take the first year or two to figure out what you want to do, then move on to a school that will provide the best education for that study.
A lot of kids I went to college with tried this. I went to a liberal arts college, so our core was all over the place. They wanted to take easier classes at the CC (mainly Spanish for the language requirement, and biology), considering you don't really care about the core classes. The college wised-up and now doesn't accept all of these credits. Only certain ones will count and even then, you can't use the grades, only the credit (so you can't get all As at the CC to boost your GPA).

My little sister wants to be a physical therapist or occupational therapist, something that definitely does not require a liberal arts degree, so she is going to a state school for a fraction of what my degree cost. My little brother did not go to college and is a carpenter. He's good at his job and is the 4th generation carpenter in our family, but it seems there is still stigma attached to not going to college, even though his skills aren't taught at any college.

I personally didn't mind the liberal arts thing so much, and I really really like that our prof-student ratio was never more than 30 (except required accounting, math, and biology courses). Also, most of my courses were seminar-style rather than lecture-style and that was cool. We were generally responsible for taking all our notes and reading the textbooks and such, and then class was devoted to discussion/debate and supplementary materials. Most profs required attendance and active participation. It was annoying basically being required to attend every class, but it was nice knowing that you added something to the class, rather than just being taught at the entire time. In interviewing for jobs in this area, I did notice preference was given depending on which school your degree is from, but that won't be true when I start looking elsewhere.
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Old 02-20-2007, 02:28 PM   #14
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i, personally, prefer CCs to 4 year schools, because they offer a wider array of programs, different times for classes, have more of a diverse student population, and are more student centered than 4 year schools. plus they don't cost as much!!!
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Old 02-20-2007, 06:19 PM   #15
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Some state schools in the US are excellent - I have no idea why more people don't go to them.

My parents paid for my undergrad tuition and my brother's (and they wanted us to go to the #1 ranked school in the country, which was fine, we would have chosen it as well). They felt it was their responsibility and they would rather forego vacations or whatever else but they wanted to pay for us. They came to this country as poor immigrants (actually homeless refugees to be technically accurate) and saw education as our only way out. That said my Mom did start earning very good $ eventually, and they were in a position to pay for us at that point.

We both then decided on grad school (MEd) or professional school (law) at which point they could no longer completely foot the bill. They are paying living expenses (rent, etc) and we're paying tuition through loans, bursaries, grants, our savings, etc. Because I worked for a couple of years between undergrad and law school, I did manage to invest some $ and because summer student law jobs are very lucrative, I don't anticipate owing more than $17-19K on graduation, which is not an issue for me given the expected salary range.

The problem is amassing huge amounts of debt for a BA which is worthless. Undergraduate degrees are worthless these days unless they are in nursing, teaching or engineering. Everything else, you need to do something else if you want a high paying job. Preferrably a professional program (meds, law, dentistry, pharmacy), etc.

If I had kids, my #1 priority would be to educate them to the highest possible level they would be interested in. No question about it. I see it as my duty, as my parents helped me, to help them. Whatever $ I could afford, would go to their education, first and foremost. If they don't want to go to university for multiple degrees, that's fine as well - it's not for everyone. But I admit I would advocate for it.
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