My husband and I have always said that we wouldn’t pay for the kids’ college. I think that came from never have much money to do it. We have savings accounts for the kids that we put money in every month, but we always have to get in there because someone needs shoes, braces, or anything else that kids need. I remember about 12 years ago we had a financial advisor come to our home and tell us what we should be saving each month. I am pretty sure we laughed at him. Not to his face, mind you, but after he left.
As the kids have grown, we realize that we kind of want to help them with their college, but the last post showed how that isn’t really going to happen in any way that is going to make a big dent. Yesterday, I sat the Sophomore and my girl down with my computer and showed them the numbers.
It was difficult trying to explain to my son that it wasn’t his fault and that I wasn’t mad at him. I was just giving them the facts. My daughter was not bothered by it much. She is still in denial. I have to love the optimism that my son had. When I showed him the scholarships that he was eligible for and would probably get, he was excited about how far the price came down. Until he saw what was still left.
I gave them some options.
1. Still go and be prepared for loans in their own name. – They wouldn’t be the first kids to go to a school and have a bunch of loans at the end of it. But, I did talk to them about only going if they have a strong goal. It isn’t a good idea to go to school and try to find out what you want to do. My son isn’t sure what he wants to do, and 12,000 is a lot of money to figure that out. Also, it is a good idea to pick a major that has real career opportunities attached to it. My husband has a degree in English. He picked it because he liked it. Now he isn’t quite sure what to do with it.
2. Apply to other schools- My son has tunnel vision for this particular college. I am happy that he want to go there. It is Bethany Lutheran College. It is the college for our synod. It is small. It is our faith. I think it is a good fit for him. But, maybe another college will have more money to offer him. I told him this year fill in the little bubble ont he PSAT for information from colleges. Who knows what he will find out. We are hoping to take the kids to a college fair too. I just want him to keep an open mind.
3. Spend 2 years at community college- Absolutely this is a good option especially since he isn’t quite sure what he wants to do. He could go to community college now. So frustrating! He is ready now. I wish that he was willing to go now. I told him that he needs to seriously consider the winter quarter. Step up to the plate and all that.
4. Get a job and save money- We want him to do this anyway. He is telling me that he is going to do it after his busy summer. OK.
My daughter sat through this whole presentation smiling. I asked her what she thought about the whole thing. She said that since she want to be a meteorologist she has to go to UW and that won’t be as expensive. Oh dear, I said. You can expect it to be about the same. “Oh,” she said. She has 4 more years. She isn’t worried yet.
Two years ago, I was worried about getting my homeschoolers into college. My worry has shifted to paying for college. I think getting in is going to be the easy part.
edited to add: I just checked the fees for UW. It is ~9,000 a year for tuition, ~9,300 for room and board, and approximately ~1,200 for books. Bethany is looking better and better.