Saturday, January 19, 2008

College obligation?

Are you obligated to pay for your children's college if you can afford it? Meaning you already have a secure retirement, paid for home, and lots of extra money? Are you still obligated to foot the bill for college?

Does it make you less of a parent if you choose not to? Or are unable to because of poor financial choices in the past?

When did paying for college become an obligation? Now it's no longer raising your children till 18, it appears it's until at least 22. Is 22 the new 18? Are parents now required to pay all bills until the child finishes college?

And afterwards does it give the right for the child to do what they want? Or are they obligated to defer to their parents wishes because the parent paid for college?

Does parents financially helping mean they have a hold of $$$ over their children for the rest of their lives?


Anonymous said...

LAL, you're asking a lot of thought-provoking questions here. I'm interested in reading your answers to them.


Stephanie said...

Interesting...try my in-laws. They are still paying for their son's laziness....and he is 27. If I were 27 and still living off my parents, I would contemplate suicide. It doesn't get much worse than off of your almost retired parents...

Fabulously Broke in the City said...

Personally I'd front only 50% of my kid's tuition, and more if they get really exceptional grades (and prove it) year over year

I wish my parents had done that for me, but c'est la vie, I learned a LOT MORE than if they had.

I live w/ my parents, but I pay rent, my own food and I help clean/cook (my parents are getting too old for that junk)....

MEG said...

These are really thought-provoking questions, especially the last ones regarding whether or not the "kids" owe the parents for paying for college.

I don't think parents are obligated to pay for college, even if they can afford to. However I do think as a student and as a parent I would look down on any parent who refused to help in any way with their children's post high school development/education if they could seriously afford to. One reason is that students can't get many student loans and grants if their parents have assets they could contribute. The government and lenders assume that parents with money can and will help.

I'm not saying parents should offer to foot the bill for 4 years at a private university plus paying for all bills and trips during that period, especially if the student has very little in the way of motivation/direction. But I do think they need to have a reason for their decisions and discuss them openly with the student.

As far as kids having obligations to the parent to do what they want if they're paying for school...yes, I think they have that. If the parents are shelling out tons of money for college, they have every right to demand the student keep up a certain GPA and even perhaps that they study a certain curriculum. I wouldn't personally want to pay $30K a year so my kid could major in basketweaving (which is actually a major in some places!).

But after college the students' obligations to the parents disappear, just as the parents' obligation to help the student does.

Data Babble said...

My parents did not pay for my college and I think I appreciated college more than my friends who had theirs paid for. I don't like having to pay on the student loans now, but I don't regret it. That being said, if I had the money, I'd like to help my (future) children with college expenses, but not all expenses.