I read a very interesting post at Free Money Finance and made what seemed to be a a very contrarian reply.
Fundamentally, I believe that parents should pay for as much of their children's college and graduate education as they can without jeapordizing their retirement savings (I didn't mention that part in the comment). We hope our children will help us when our health fails, but we also hope to never be a financial burden on them.
Many others feel that children will not value their education if they do not pay for some or all of it theirselves. I agree that they need to have a feeling of contribution, but in my thoughts, hard work and good grades are more than sufficient. After all what is more important: children paying for college or graduating with excellent grades? I think the later.
Outside expenses, vacations, etc... I really don't have an objection to children pay for their own entertainment, etc.... Free pleasure and luxury can easily demotivate children and lead to idelness. Let the children save up for the pleasures and luxuries.
Another thing I recommend, that few others considered is having children take one or two years off before going to college. Let them explore the world, taste work, travel and experiment outside of school. Give them a chance to mature so they appreciate school all the more. Most of us agree that a college education can be helpful in obtaining many jobs and is necessary for the graduate degrees that other jobs require. Experience in the workforce as an unskilled laborer can be very challenging and motivate a child to improve their opportunities by completing a higher education.
Here's the text from my post, please share with me your thoughts:
I am in disagreement with the let the children pay for college crowd.
My core belief is that it is the parents' primary responsibility to help their children grow and prosper in our society.
My secondary belief is that an active hands on education should focus on values, ethics and responsibility. A child's character cannot be developed without aggressive attention from parents.
I had to pay (75%) for the vast majority of my education at an elite private insitutation. Paying my way and accumulating debt was an enourmous burden and a competitive disadvantage.
I disagree with those who argue that their children should pay for 1/2 or more of their schooling. If they are hard working and competitive students, they should have the opportunity to focus on their education and competing for good grades.
Let chidren save up for personal expenses, vacations, etc....
A large school debt is a significant burden for new graduates who should concentrate on investing as much as possible into their new retirement accounts - not paying off student loans. We all know the value lost by not saving early on. Furthermore, high student debt might disuade children from furthering their education, i.e. "how can I afford graduate school with all these college loans? (I do understand they can be deffered)"
A solid work ethic is what enables our children to be admitted to a most competitive school and to succeed within it. That ethic can and will be dilluted with external work obligations.
For those unsure if their children will value their education if they do not pay for it, I recommend having their children take a year off before attending college - most likely at the child's expense.
Let them work for a year as an intern in the careers they are considering or as an unskilled laborer. Both approaches will educate them greatly and motivate them to excel in their education.
Also, a gap year might help them achieve a certain level of maturity that the entering freshman may not initially have. Think of it as a chance to explore and grow without risking grades.
Have a wonderful evening,