Baby Makin' Mama raised this issue on her blog the other day, and it really got me fired up, so I thought I'd raise the same issue with you today.
How do you plan to pay for your child's education?
These days, college is essential. Whereas a college degree used to make you stand out from the crowd, now it's as perfunctory as a high school diploma, and - thanks to our shocking economic downturn years back - it's not uncommon to compete with 500 other college grads for an administrative position. In short, the job market sucks.
As you know, I have been completely self-sufficient since the age of 16, and paying for my education was no exception. Though I received the occasional grant and scholarship, I was a first-generation college student whose parents had no idea what needed to be done in terms of applying for scholarships, and I graduated in December from high school, leaving me without the added bonus of a college guidance counselor. Where I should've had scholarship coming out the wazoo (I graduated fourth in my class at 16), I was lucky to get my application in and essays completed on my own.
My parents did not put even a dime towards my education. When I left for college I had 21-month-old and 3-month-old sisters, so a big part of it was an inability to afford it, but seeing as how I was once told that if they won the lottery, they still wouldn't buy me a car (in all seriousness!), I'm pretty sure that with their particular values, they wouldn't have contributed anyways.
D's parents were also not in a position to help, though for other reasons that irritate the crap out of me, so I'll abstain from writing about them here. In sum, though, he wasn't even planning to go to a big school so as not to have to incur much debt, but got into UT and couldn't pass the opportunity up. They carry a bit of his loan burden now, which we're thankful for, but between us, we have over $100K in school loans.
So when it comes to pondering Ava's future educational expenses, I feel strongly. I will NOT be allowing her to go into debt for her education. I also am not one who feels that a college education is optional (the life experience alone is irreplaceable), and so while we will more than prepare her with her applications for scholarships and grant and other federal aid, I also have a realistic view of our nation's (and therefore FAFSA's) financial future, and it's grim. As such, we put aside money into an account for her, and all monetary gifts and extra income we get (tax returns, etc) head straight into there. When it gets to a certain point, we'll put the money into a high-interest CD to help it to grow even more.
But could I live with her graduating from college in $40-50K of debt? Absolutely not. Do I want my grandchildren to someday be affected by my inability to save and plan ahead for Ava's inevitable education? Hell no.
Where do you stand? What are your plans for paying for your child's education?
(Note: I'm still away, enjoying my grandma and watching Ava get to know her nana, but I'm very interested in hearing your comments about this issue!)