I asked the question a couple of weeks ago if parents are obligated to pay for college? And if they provide college can they expect a return for their investment? Also I posted a poll over whether parents should pay for college or not.
We feel that college is important and we'll be paying 100% of our children's college needs. This is our opinion, please do not say that it's wrong. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and choice. We feel this way because a college education was provided for us. We did not flunk out or party too much even though our parents contributed to our education. Instead we focused and did well because our parents expected it of us. And their contribution to our education was grade based. We performed adequately enough to go to good graduate programs in our respective fields. I would assume the same would be true for our children. Another idea is we might make them take out some student loans which we will pay off contigent on them not partying and flunking out. This way they understand the seriousness and severity of their actions.
But from a very early age we will instill in our children financial responsibility. Both DH and I have had CC from our teenage years before we even entered high school as a mechanism of financial responsibility. And we've both never paid a fee or interest on a CC. Thus I feel the way we were raised made us more responsible adults financially and emotionally. We were coached early and often about money and responsibility by our parents.
Thus, we hope our children will want to go to college. If they choose to not go, then that is also acceptable. We will not force them into a career that makes them unhappy. After all they have to live with their decisions.
Also we feel that while we provide college, it's important that we save for our retirement so we don't feel that our children need to "pay us back" for our support. I believe that no child asks to be born, therefore as a parent you have an obligation for their clothes, food, shelter, and education until 18. It does not need to be fancy or new, but you are obligated to supply these basics willingly and without expectation of a "Return" in the future.
I do understand that some parents cannot afford college, either through unfortunate circumstances, late realization, or just inability. However, I do feel that parents have a responsibility to help their children go to college by supporting them emotionally, guiding them in finding scholarships/grants/loans, and explaining the fiscal responsibilities that come with going to college. What responsibilities? Well explaining that student loans need to be paid back with interest, and not spent foolishly. Showing them what a CC is, how it's properly used, how finance charges accrue, late fees, and why CC companies are at colleges being given out to students. It's not free money. When I meet students who actually thought CC were free money, I blame the parents. They sent their children into the world completely naive and uninformed.
My kids will be neither. By the time they go to college they'll have paid bills, budgeted, and learned basic investing skills. However, after 1 CC, I think students begin to understand CC. And at that point it's their fault for debt.
Anyway that's how I view college obligations. There is more to college than just funding it. It's also in the preparation to handle college maturely. And so if you can't fund college, you should prepare your child to handle it maturely.