Moms Talk: Saving for College
Local moms dish advice on parenting topics.
Tuition isn't going down, so what are your strategies for higher education? Are you going to encourage your kids to pay for college themselves through work and scholarships? Have you started saving? How important is it that your kids attend college?
For us, we do have college accounts set up for each of our children. We honestly haven't put as much money in as we would like. It is hard to believe, but my oldest will graduate in six years. I personally had parents that paid for college, and it was a great help. We hope to do as much as we can to provide for our children's higher education either by university, trade school, etc.
One strategy we hope to use is paying off our mortgage and diverting that money to pay for tuition. Again we are years away, so we are not sure how that will work.
I would not bank on any of my children getting scholarships. I have talked with too many people, and this is their only hope. I feel some money set aside is better than nothing. Of course, we plan to research scholarship opportunities when the time arises. But most people can't reasonably expect that to pay for everything.
Something Missouri MOST has right now is a matching grant plan. Here is the link to see if you qualify:
If you do qualify, be sure to check deadlines and get it in soon. You can open an account when you send in the application (if you don't already have one).
My husband and I have been striving to live debt free. He had a few college loans that we consolidated and paid off a couple of years ago. I hear too many people graduating with mounds of debt. I hope my children don't have to stress about debt at such a young age. I know some might be unavoidable, but we will work with our children to help them as much as possible.
This subject stresses me out a little bit. We, too, are focused on living debt-free, but I do think that the debt of a college loan is well worth it. I got married with a hefty student loan debt, and at times it seemed silly because I had a pretty short career before staying home. But my husband insists he wouldn't have traded the satisfaction of having my degree for the money.
This type of prioritizing is what guides our thinking about our kids, too. I hope that when my kids are all in elementary school that I can work a little more and we can save some for them, but I have other goals, too. Even more than I want them to go to college, I want them to understand financial responsibility and also not be a burden to them as they raise their own families.
So we have prioritized retirement savings over college savings. I hope to save for them, but I also believe that if they want to go to college, they will make a way. I'm not saying this in a flippant way, because I know costs are getting steep and it's not easy to provide for a family without a degree. We will do our best.
We do have college accounts set aside for each of our kids, but as previously stated... we have no idea if it will be enough. My kids do know that the accounts exist, and we have told them for quite some time, that if they earn scholarships (academic or otherwise), then that money can be used in other ways. My best friend was able to purchase a car for college since she earned a full scholarship (including room and board). I hope that that motivates them to aim high in school...so far, so good!
It's very important to us that our kids attend college, and we discuss that and related topics quite a bit. Hopefully they will want that for themselves as well! I, like Lisa, will have to face that sooner than it feels like it should happen! Yikes...they really do grow up "in the blink of an eye!"
Like Jennifer we do have college accounts set up for both kids. We put as much as we can but again it will probably not be enough when they go to college. Both kids know we have the education funds and they both understand that they need to go to college. Scholarships will be good but we cannot solely rely that that will be possible and achievable in 10 years.