HomeCollegeMy kids will be dumb.

My kids will be dumb.

Girl Ninja isn’t even pregnant (sorry Mom-Ninja-in-law), but I’m pretty sure I already hate our unborn children. Or at least, that’s the way society might see it. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll definitely love the heck out of those little ninjas, but I wont love them enough to jeopardize my and Girl Ninja’s future.

In other words, it will be a cold day in you know where before I take out a loan to help fund their college education.

I have absolutely ZERO desire to finance anything in the future (except a house of course). You think I’m going to let my kids change my mind!?

Heck to the No I wont! That said, I DO plan on my children going to college. In fact, they really only have two options post high school:

1) Move out and get a job or

2) Move out and go to college.

Since I refuse to take out a loan for their college education, but I desperately want them to go, I have to figure out a way to reconcile those goals. The first, and most obvious objective, is to begin saving for their college education long before they plan to attend.

College has never snuck up on anybody…ever.

So why do we allow people to pretend like it does? I know, the day Baby Ninja is born, I have an 18 year countdown to college. Seems like enough time to make something happen. With 529’s, ESA’s, and prepaid tuition options, there is little excuse for me to not look ahead.

Even if I don’t have the liquidity to fund my children’s education, I sure as heck wont go in to debt to make it happen. If my kid wants to go to a private school and can’t get enough loans or scholarships to pay his way, guess what? My kid ain’t going to private school.

There will be no entitlement in the Ninja household. I just don’t get how parents can take out $50,000 parent loans so their kid can go to some obscure private school in the middle of Arkansas that nobody’s ever heard of, when public school tuition and junior college tuition is as cheap as it is (compared to private school tuition).

So why do you think people do it? Do you know any parents (or kid’s whose parents) funded their childs’ education with parent loans or 2nd mortgages? Would you ever take out a loan to pay for your child’s college experience?

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  1. We’ve talked about this topic for a bit too (we have a 1 year old) and basically we’re saving money for her to go to an in-state public college. We will not take out a loan for her college tuition. If she wants to take out a loan, that’s her choice.

  2. I’m curious about your position on this since I know you had student loans of your own — if Ninja Kid wanted to go to say, Harvard, and couldn’t afford it without a loan, obviously you wouldn’t pay for it … but would you allow him or her to take out a loan himself/herself?

    My grandparents paid for their own college; my parents paid for their own college; in turn, I paid for my own education (with a hefty amount of student loans). It makes perfect sense to me that my child would pay for their own education, though my husband disagrees with that idea.

  3. Yep, I know exactly how it happens because I’m one of those kids.

    My parents took out an ungodly amount of loans to send me to an obscure private school that you’ve never heard of (well, since you lived in SoCal, maybe you have…). One of those schools that always is in the “Top 10 Most Expensive Colleges” – but simultaneously tops the lists for “best deals” in colleges because its graduates consistently have THE highest average post-grad and median incomes. So if you think of it as an investment and return…

    They did it because that was the school I wanted to attend and they had told me they would help me go whereever I wanted. Simple as that. I was a good student and that school was a great fit for me. I went along with it because I didn’t really understand what they were taking on on my behalf. I would have felt better about it if I had taken on a greater share of the cost, but that wasn’t what they wanted.

    I don’t want to do what my parents did, but I do want to give my children the option of going to private school (well, one that is actually superior to the public school options for what they want to do). My husband’s parents managed to pay for our extremely expensive college completely out of pocket with no aid. So we’ll be saving. A lot!

  4. Luckily tuiition in Canada is much more reasonable than the US, so I’m saving for my son’s education in an RESP (a registered education savings plan) which the government will top up 🙂 I won’t take out big loans, but I will help him out as much as I can when the time comes. I worked and saved throughout high school, got scholarships, and worked during university, and my parents told me they’d loan me money to fill the gaps I couldn’t cover. In the end, they gifted the money to me, as they told me when I graduated that I didn’t have to pay it back. I very much appreciated this! I think that was a good way to do it, because I figured I had to repay it, so I didn’ t ask for help very often (I actually hated asking with a passion) so after 10 years in university (I have a PhD, I didn’t take ages to do a BA) I only owed them about $5500. I don’t want my son to have huge loans to cope with, so hopefully he’ll follow in his mama’s footsteps and work hard to avoid that fate!

  5. Myself and my co-worker were speaking about college just last week. We are both electrical engineers full time but have both started our own businesses outside of our ‘real’ job. He builds furniture and I teach guitar lessons.

    We will not tell our children they have to go to college. Shocking to some people, but think of how the job market has changed in the last 10 years or so. A piece of paper showing that you memorized facts doesn’t get you very far in this day and age. The college model is outdated and hopefully by the time my baby (and Ninja’s future babies) get out of high school college will look very different than it does today. At least, I hope it does….

  6. I don’t see what you have against private schools. Many of them offer financial aid packages (no loans) that make them as affordable as large state schools. Harvard, for example, bases your tuition based on the amount you can pay (well based on their formula of course), so many middle class and lower families end up getting a really good deal there. The doors that an institution, like Harvard, opens for your child are amazing.

    That being said, we are already saving for our child to go college. We will pay for what is equal to instate tution and our kid is on his own for the rest. They can borrow for college, but I can’t borrow for retirement (unless you count a reverse mortgage).

  7. We have told our children years in advance that we will not pay for their college education. They can live at home rent-free while they go to school and we will feed them and make sure they have clean socks. We both have seen plenty of examples of kids slacking off when mommy and daddy are footing the bill, while the ones who are responsible for their own financing put in real effort. I’m also wondering when college became a requirement? There are plenty of achievers out there that never stepped foot inside a college. I wonder how many OWSers are dentists or electricians?

  8. Dont’ know yet. I defintiely want my girls to go to college. I didn’t and it’s hurt me job-wise, I don’t want them making the mistakes I did. My wife and I will try to help pay for them to go to school, but there won’t be any loans in our name. It’ll be loans in our kids name. It’s their schooling, it’s their life, afterall. So I think I mostly agree with you. But it is nice if you can set aside some money for them. And if where they want to go costs more than that, well, get a job kid! A lot of kids work while in school. My sister did. It builds character and financial knowledge.

  9. Since we don’t and won’t have kids, this is a moot topic in our household, but we are friends with a couple that are in their mid-30’s with 3 girls (ages, 2, 5, and 6). She’s a stay-at-home Mom who helps manage a small building they inhereted and keeps home and life together (she does an awesome job), and he works all the O/T he can at his daytime job, AND is a real-estate agent (his “part time” job). He also helps maintain the building they inhereted, and well as a house they rent out. He said he’s working his a$$ off so his kids future’s are taken care of, and he’s best to get a head start on it now.

  10. My husband and I worked our way through college. It was indeed difficult! So, I do not want my children to experience that difficulty. It is not I do not want to teach them responsibility. I simply want them to concentrate on their studies. If we do not have the money to fund their college education, they will attend the nearest state university and stay home, if possible. They cannot and will not take a college loan but they can work while in college and apply for scholarships.

  11. In-state tuition, room and board for Washington State University is just under $20k/yr, excluding any scholarships. UW is slightly more expensive. Private universities with a sticker price of $50k/yr are (IMO) not worth it at that price, but they often provide a financial grant package which brings the price down so it is on par with in-state tuition, bringing them into the realm of consideration.

    Still, I really don’t see how students working near minimum wage can afford a total of $80k over 4 years, which is why I’m paying this cost out of my pocket. But only the first degree – they can pay for their own graduate studies.

    For certain fields (STEM) a degree is a requirement for employment in their field. But then again…

  12. I have 2 boys, a HS Senior and 10 year old. My husband and I were non-traditional college students and paid for our own education. We both managed to do this without taking any loans. My husband used his GI Bill for his undergrad and received tuition assistance from the military to get his masters. I on the other hand had to be more resourceful and I described how I did so here:

    My husband and I have utilized 529 plans for our boys, and he has a couple semesters left of his GI Bill that has been transferred over to them. By all means, we can afford to pay for our boys’ college education. However, we are not. The option we are giving them is Mom and Dad will pay for your first 2 years of college at a public university and you are responsible for the last 2. This gives them time to do well and earn scholarships for their portion. In addition, if they receive any scholarships while Mom and Dad are picking up the tab we will hold onto that money and give it to them for their portion they are responsible for.

    My HS Senior son has just been accepted to his number one college of choice. Luckily, since my husband is still active duty he basically gets in-state tuition anywhere. That was another stipulation, Mom and Dad are not paying out-of-state tuition. Because said son knows he is responsible for his last two years of school he choose this particular school because once he signs his commitment (he plans on doing Air Force ROTC and getting his commission) the summer before his Junior year, his tuition will be discounted by 50%. Smart Kid! So really, he is only having to pay for one year of school.

  13. OK so Funny! The Ninja that went to a private school that was very expensive and cost family ninja a lot and as well DN a lot wont allow private schools in baby ninja’s future……right – babygirl ninja will bat her eyes and say but daddy you and mom went to private school and had a great experience help a ninja out and let me have the same dream you had…..please daddyninja….

    I see this going down in history as a great Momninja moment where I get so say remember that time you said My kid ain’t going to private school well think again……

    • Please read mother:

      “College has never snuck up on anybody…ever.

      So why do we allow people to pretend like it does? I know, the day Baby Ninja is born, I have an 18 year countdown to college. Seems like enough time to make something happen. With 529′s, ESA’s, and prepaid tuition options, there is little excuse for me to not look ahead.”

  14. $50,000 isn’t really a private school amount of debt. 4 years at a public university will easily cost $40,000 and that’s assuming you live at home.

    I didn’t/don’t have a college fund of any type. I receive about $2,000 a year in grants/need based aid. The rest is all student loans. If my parents weren’t willing to take out the PLUS loan, I would not be in school right now.

  15. I paid for my children’s education! Private school and university. It is my best legacy for them. I rather give them a good education and nothing else. There will be no large inheritance for them, but they don’t need it. They are successful adults which I attribute to a good education.

    • My parents had this exact mindset. It’s how things “work” in our family. The parents pay for undergraduate education, and then you’re responsible for your own graduate school, if you decide to go (we almost all have). If I have children, I will do the same for them, even if it means sacrificing some (many?) of my own material wants.

      • That’s how my family works as well. However, it wasn’t just money given to my siblings and I. We had to keep our grades up and do our part as students. Our “job” was to learn and do what we needed to do to get an education.

        Also, I do not get the bashing on private education. Many private schools give out scholarships to make the price comparable to the state universities. I actually received enough to make my college education -significantly- cheaper than going to state.

  16. After all the effort I have put in getting myself out of debt, there is no way I’ll be getting back into debt for my future child’s educational pursuits!
    I’m all for saving towards their education in order to give them a helping hand, but just as I put myself through college and university so shall my future kid(s). Same deal applies where my stepson is concerned.

  17. I’m not sure I can make the same comments, not having children, but if I did I’d like to think I would do almost anything in my power to help them succeed at their dreams.

  18. Private schools are not necessary to get a sound education, the primary reason being that there is an abundance of well-trained potential faculty emerging from good graduate schools around the nation. I went to state schools myself, the State University of New York at Stony Brook for undergrad and master’s, and Rutgers (which is really New Jersey State) for my Ph.D. I don’t think going to less expensive state schools did me any harm. School is far more expensive now than when I went (I literally took out only one loan for $1500 during grad school in the late 70s, but adjust for inflation), and one must shop around for price.

    Two cases in point: I’m thinking of two young people who check groceries at my local supermarket. Melanie (not real name) is now a senior in high school and wants to go to an expensive private school because she’s convinced she’ll get the ”best education” that way. Intellectually, Melanie is far brighter than Allen (not real name), who is going to a community college that costs him $2000 a semester. But who’s really the smarter one in this instance?

  19. Sometimes I wonder if someone who spent 2 years and $2000 reading 200 books would be just as competent in an entry level job as someone who spent [insert cost here] getting a BA.

  20. Our county has a great community college. Before my child even thinks about university they’re going to be attending. I just don’t want them to make the same mistakes I did. Plus there is no reason to spend 4x the amount of money for the same education. Many of the professors at our local universities teach at the community college and they use the same text books. I’m guessing they’re not going to take the time to make an easier lesson plan for the community college. So equal education for 1/4 the cost.

  21. I am a budgeteer to the nth degree, which is all due to my student loans. I never would have learned how to strategize financially without them.

    The bad side is, obviously, the sheer number. For my B.A. and my M.Ed., I owe $95,000.

    My husband and I were just talking about this specific topic today; when/if we have kids, and those kids are thinking about college, it will be a cold day in hell before I let them take out loans in this amount never mind attempt to cover it. I loved my college experience, don’t get me wrong, but if I understood the numbers and the work I might have made a few decisions differently and had a little less on my plate now.

  22. College is over rated (unless of course you are going to be a dr or lawyer which is super cool). Its just too much money to even think of some high cost private place. No way would I get a loan like that for my kids. Thats crazy talk. I have a pretty good job and with no college. You can get good paying jobs…without college, really its true. I’ll support what they want to do but in a way that doesn’t put them in a financial bind for the next x amount of years due to student loans.

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