College is so expensive that most parents can’t afford to pay for it, but if they can, should they?
“There are decent arguments to be made both for and against parents who pay their children’s school fees,” said Giovanni Braghieri, CEO and co-founder of MyConsultingCoach. “On the one hand, refusing to pay for your children’s higher education is a valuable lesson in managing your personal finances and being financially responsible. On the other hand, student loans are an overwhelming economic burden that has only increased over the years, while the incomes of graduates have stagnated.
Read: Students can save $ 11,451 by living at home while in college – but at what cost?
See: How parents should invest now to pay for their education later
GOBankingRates asked experts to explore the pros and cons of both sides of this complex and difficult question.
Not paying could give them a character building experience …
Centuries of parental wisdom and common sense remind us that children, like people in general, tend to appreciate things more when they have to work and sacrifice themselves to get them. People who spend their days on college campuses see the results every day in real life.
“We understand that students tend to fall into two buckets,” said Will fish, specialist in medical education, doctor in training and online educator. “The first is made up of students who are apathetic and unmotivated with regard to their education. The second is made up of those who take their destiny into their own hands and view their college education with a deep level of seriousness and focus. For the record, I have never met a single student in this first camp who is self-financing or takes out large loans to pay for his college studies. Students who do not have the financial support of their parents seem more motivated to succeed and make the most of the opportunities that come their way.
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Braghieri agrees – at least in theory.
“It’s true that being responsible for your personal finances builds character,” he said. “It also teaches smart decision making, like choosing cheaper colleges over ones they can’t afford and getting part-time jobs to fund their education. While this is all well and good in theory, the reality is usually quite different. “
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… or decades of student debt
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There was a time when college was financially accessible and the enduring love of “if you want something, you have to work for it” could be a practical life lesson. Today it’s more like you want something, you have to go into debt for it.
“Part-time jobs are not enough to cover the expenses of higher education these days,” said Braghieri. “Students would have to work so hard that it would jeopardize their academic performance. “
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Additionally, if a parent has the income to pay but chooses not to, it can put the child in an impossible corner.
“If the child’s parents are making enough money, then federal grants, scholarships and loans are out of the question,” Braghieri said. “Without the income-oriented repayment plans that come with federal loans, the student has to rely on private loans. They should be the last resort.
Finally, trying to teach your kids lessons about money management as they head to college is a bit like brushing their teeth for the first time on the morning of your date. at the dentist.
“If parents didn’t nurture their children’s fiscal responsibility before college, they shouldn’t be expected to be able to shoulder the burden of funding their own education,” said Braghieri. “Responsible management of money is a value instilled from an early age, not when the child is about to enter adulthood. “
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Either way, have a plan – and be on the same page with grandparents
The best strategy is to strategize – plan early and start saving with a tax-efficient account like a 529 plan.
“Youunless they put money aside for college, they would have to take out loans or sacrifice their retirement funds, ” Braghieri said. “It is not advisable to spend retirement savings on tuition, or anything else for that matter. This is money you won’t be getting anytime soon. PLUS loans are a potential solution, but keep in mind that you can overborrow them and they come with high interest rates. You should always maximize federal loans before exploring other options. The rest of the tuition fees should be covered by personal savings and part-time jobs. It is only when you have no other options left that you should turn to private loans. You will need to co-sign for your child, so make sure there is some form of co-signer release policy.
Find out: The hidden costs of education at all levels
It is also important to present a united front on the issue with the child’s grandparents if they had hoped to contribute.
“Helping your grandchild fund his college education is truly a gift that will last a lifetime,” said Jack Schacht, Founder of MyCollegePlanningTeam.com. “But to get the most out of it, you have to do your homework. Talk to your grandchild and / or parents about their goals and plans. Do your research as a family. And by all means, take advantage of the many resources and experts available to you. Together you can do this.
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Last updated: September 13, 2021
This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Should You Pay For Your Child’s College? Experts weigh