"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.