Should You Pay for Your Child’s College Education?

College chorus singing at a graduation ceremony.

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This is a Guest Post from our frugal friend Kayla Sloan.
Kayla is a personal finance blogger in her mid-20s who loves to write about money topics of all kinds. You can follow her on her journey out of debt on her blog at Shoeaholicnomore.com.


There is no doubt that having a college education can help secure a better future for your son or daughter. College graduates have better career choices and make higher incomes over their lifetime than those who don’t go to college. But if you child didn’t get any sports or academic scholarships to help cover those costs, should you help them out? Should you pay for your child’s college education?

Sacrifice

College tuition, room, and board charges are higher than they have ever been. As a result, many parents are finding it harder and harder to be able to afford the heavy price tag of a college education for their children. One reason may be because the wages and incomes of American workers are not keeping up with rising tuition costs across the nation. With only so much money available in the budget for any family it can be difficult to make ends meet without figuring in those costs. In fact, some families must make sacrifices in other areas if they want their children to have a college education. But just what and how much are they sacrificing?

It’s one thing to make budget sacrifices in order to save money for your child’s future education. But according to some sources, there are parents who sacrifice much more. By diverting money into college costs that could be invested in future retirement savings and investments, some parents could be jeopardizing their own future financial security.

Choices

Some of the other ways parents are funding their children’s educations may be through making different budgeting choices. For example, some are giving up going out to eat as often. Additionally, in order to make ends meet, they may be couponing more through internet sites such as Coupon Dash. Other ways parents are saving for college education costs include cutting back on clothing, vacations, and new technology. Not being able to afford to pay for everything means some items in the budget have to be cut back or eliminated.

Hard Work

As a parent, what lessons are you teaching your children by paying for your child’s education? Speaking from personal experience, my parents did help out with my college education. But I also had some academic scholarships to defray those costs and I worked throughout my college years as well. Additionally, I took out a student loan to help me finish my college education. However, what I learned from the experience of contributing to my own education was nearly as valuable as the education itself. I learned that success comes from hard work. While other college kids were having fun and going to parties I sometimes had to decline in order to have the time to study or work. Many of these same college kids lack a work ethic and as a result have had less success later in life.

A College education for your child is not cheap. Whether or not you should pay for your child’s college education is a question only you can answer. But, maybe you should also ask yourself if it is worth the sacrifice.

What other ways could you help pay for your child’s college education?

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