Sunday, December 18, 2005

Should I Be Paying For My Own College?

This is the question that came up in a recent article I found. Should it be my responsibility to pay for my own college education? There seem to be quite a few people out there that think that a student going to college should pay for their own education according to this piece from a Utah newspaper:

"When a student is responsible for the costs of education they seem to take it more serious, because it is their money. They are less likely to skip class or waste their investment. What is wrong with a child working hard through the summer to earn money for fall/winter semesters — or saving money while working during the summer of the high school years?"

This is a difficult question as I can see the point of view from both sides (even at my young age). I think that helping out students going to college is important if they also realize the value of money. As another person wrote:

"I am from California and had to pay for my education because my parents were poor," he wrote. "I knew how vital it was to get a good education. I did not want my kids to go through the same work/study plan I had to go through. So, I paid for their first year of education.

"During that first year, they each showed little interest in learning. I stopped paying after the first year for each of them. All of a sudden some of them became very interested in studying, when they were paying for it. . . . I guess I learned my lesson after six kids. I will advise my children to not pay for my grandchildren's education."

If a student doesn't realize the worth of the money given to help them through college, then they are not likely to appreciate the help which in the long run will be detrimental to their own personal finances.

I once read an article (okay, I didn't actually read it since I'm still working on rolling over with ease, but I did hear about it) about a woman that was considering going to graduate school. Her father had said he would pay for her education which was going to run about $100,000, but instead of saying he would pay for her education, he phrased it in a different way. He said, "I have $100,000 for you. Please use it as you want."

What this did was make the woman view the money as her own, not as free money from someone else. She ultimately decided to go to graduate school, but to a program that was much less expensive and used the rest of the money for a down payment on a house. I think when you give children the opportunity view the money as theirs, they must consider much more how they want to use it. Of course, this all presupposes that the child has been brought up and taught about personal finances and the way that money works.


Jane Dough said...

I have no idea if this is a wise thing to do or not, but a friend of mine in college had the following deal with her Dad. She took out the maximum allowable of student loans each of her four years of undergraduate. If she graduated in 4 years her Father would pay half of the total loan amount within 6 months of graduation. If she graduated with a 3.5 or higher gpa he would pay 100% of her loan balance within 6 months of graduation.

He did this to motivate her to study hard and do well. He was concerned when friends children were taking the "professional student" approach to undergrad and taking 5 or 6 years to graduate (if they graduated at all).

I know that this carrot and stick approach did get her out of bed on cold snowy mornings to make that 8AM class and she did graduate with a 3.8 gpa and did it in 4 years. She said having to sign those loan docs twice a year make the pact with her Dad real.

Tiredbuthappy said...

I do remember my dad tearing his hair out when my sister and I were taking classes in painting, Sanskrit, etc. He kept asking what kind of edge that would give us in the work force but I didn't really get it. I wish now he'd encouraged me (or rather, that I'd listened) to major in something a little more practical than literature. A nice journalism degree would have looked a lot better on my resume when I graduated at age 20 with virutally no job experience.

Singleguymoney said...

I was forced to finance my own education or not go to school at all. Looking back on it, it taught me alot about being independent. I worked 2 jobs most of my college career. I had a friend whos parents paid for everything and he was a total lazy butt (actually, he still is). I plan to partially, if not fully, pay for my kids education because I did have some resentment towards my mother for not saving a dime towards my education. I know she could not afford to do so but I still felt like there should have been something. I also think she felt guilty for not having any money to send me to school.

Gigi said...

I went to a private school and took out the max in subsidized loans. My parents paid for the rest. Now I'm paying $90 for the next 15 years