Don’t Pay for your Child’s Education

Posted by Mrs Money on September 3rd, 2008

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The other day I read an article that said not to pay for your child’s education.  My first thought was “wow, that’s extreme”, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.

One of my biggest fears in having children is that we won’t be able to support them financially.  Now, I know all of you that are parents are laughing at me right now.  That’s okay.  I know many people say that you’ll never be able to afford to have children.  The numbers just don’t add up, but when it actually happens and you do have a child, you are able to support them (for most people).  I guess I’ve always thought that I’d pay for my children’s college.  Thinking about having kids doesn’t seem so scary when you take out the college.

Pros on parents not paying for college:

  • Parents are more able to pay off debt, save money, and fund their own retirement.  Kids can get loans for school, but you can’t get a loan for retirement.
  • Kids will value their education more if they pay for it themselves.  I know I didn’t take some classes very seriously because I wasn’t paying for them.
  • Kids can learn responsibility and have the opportunity to save money to pay for college.

Cons:

  • College is expensive! Kids are going to have to take out loans to fund their education.
  • Is it right to make them pay for their own education?
  • They will be in debt when they graduate.  That’s not fun!

I guess I’m on the fence.  I think that when the time comes, we’ll save for our children’s education.  We’ll save as much as we can for them, but if we can’t fund it 100%, no big deal.  We’ll make sure our retirement accounts are in good shape first.

Are you going to (or did you) pay for your child’s education?  Why or why not?

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5 Responses to “Don’t Pay for your Child’s Education”


  1. Jackie says:

    I honestly think it depends on the child. No matter what we do, everytime we buy something for my step-son, he does not appreciate it. I am not going to foot a $110K + education for him to blow away like his toys, nintendo ds, portable dvd player, etc. I notice that when he buys something though, it stays in mint condition.

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  2. I paid for my own college education. My parents were not able to help me out, so I took out loans. Even though I ended up with debt, I am okay with this. It taught me a lot. I have friends/cousins who had their college educations paid for by their parents. I think how we now treat money and saving is different.

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  3. Mrs Money says:

    Jackie- That is interesting. Isn’t it crazy how much college will cost when he is ready?

    Midwest Chick- I am glad to hear this! We had over $38,000 in student loans… quite a chunk of change!

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  4. Bill says:

    A thought provoking post but I’m not buying any of the cons.

    College need not be expensive, although post-secondary educational costs are outstripping inflation. Nonetheless, many more affordable schools remain and their enrollment will benefit.

    I paid for my degree and bear no grudge against my parents. I am reaping the benefit from it. Why should I not pay for it?

    Finally, many students enter college with debt these days but that condition is more absurd than leaving college in debt. I’m reminded of a classmate of mine who worked only a part-time job on campus and paid his own way on nothing more than that income. He was very frugal and actually graduated with money in the bank.

    Good post though.

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  5. Mrs Money says:

    Bill- It’s great to see your point of view. I think it’s awesome your friend was able to do that. Thanks for commenting!

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