COLLEGE BOUND: How much should parent be paying for kids' college expenses·

Posted By: Matt in Budget on 05/30/2014 at 12:58:20

College is expensive, and not all moms and dads are created equal when it comes to income or how much money they have on hand.

That point is glaring and ultimately may answer the question as to just how much financial responsibility parents should have when it comes to college. Books, tuition, room and board plays into the bulk of the money that would be spent, but just exactly what should be loans that the students assume versus how much comes out of moms' checkbook.

One misstep parents might make when it comes to college is to take the approach that they don't want their son or daughter to start their post college life in a tremendous amount of debt. That mentality often fosters feelings at home of guilt, undue financial pressure and stress, and the feeling that money is tight and perhaps a second or even third job might be necessary.

No parent wants their kids to be inundated with debt after graduation but simply paying for everything might not really be the financial lesson that needs to be taught in this instance. Most parents don't have that kind of income, even if they've been putting money aside to the so called college fund.

The onus of what to do about college rests on both kids and parents from a financial standpoint. Would be, college bound students must make it a point to find as much financial aid as possible that they'd qualify for, along with pursuing any grants as well.

For parents, college should be the first lesson on how to manage money, and this monumental task can be a teaching tool moving forward. Parents must take the opportunity to sit down with kids and go over, line by line, all of the college expenses and highlighting who is paying for what.

It also wouldn't hurt for parents to figure out a game plan for their kids as far as letting them know what they'll owe and how to pay it back.

Far too many college students receive that first post college loan payment and are stunned to see the financial figure they'll be paying monthly over the next decade. If that's the case, both parents and students are at fault for not having better prepared one another.

As far as what parents should pay for, there's no golden rule of sorts, and some moms and dads might be just fine taking on the entire college bill. That is short sighted thinking and isn't the kind of budgeting 101 lesson your college kids need.

Even if parents leave only a few thousand bucks as the responsibility for their kids, that's still money those same kids will need to account for and pay back. They may gripe and groan initially, but kids will thank their parents for ironically teaching them about money long before they graduate.


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