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Subject:  Re: How we raise our children Date:  3/22/2011  9:02 AM
Author:  alstroemeria Number:  301477 of 312777

paying for college

Just a side note here. My daughter is very conscientious and was very proactive in searching for scholarships. She found a local square dance group who gave $1,000/year or maybe per semester, I forget ( for all 4 years IIRC) to a couple of graduating seniors, and she managed to win one. It may not sound like much, but our deal (her father & I were divorced) was that each parent and child was responsible for 1/3 of college expenses* with need-based aid shared equally but merit-based aid coming only out of the child's portion. She was a merit scholar and had that square dance thing, and as she went to a relatively inexpensive private college (RIce U--lots of oil endowment so even full freight was about the same as one of the expensive public colleges). DD also worked during school year as well as summers. She owed $3,000 when she graduated, and paid it off within a year of graduating.

My son wasn't so proactive and didn't work during the school year and worked very low-paying jobs over the summers (camp counselor), started out at an expensive private college and received little financial aid (he transferred to a very good public college after 2 years--and got terrific grades at both, I hasten to add), and owed $20k when he graduated. But he has payments taken automatically out of his bank account and just pays the minimum because the rate is so low--and it gets lower every few years with his on-time payments. IIRC he's paying ~$180/month.

* I paid for her computer and books because I was in better financial shape than her father since both my second husband and I worked, while her step-mother was a sAHM with 3 kids of her own, and they had CC debt. Her father had to pay his share by borrowing from his 401k, while I had already saved one year's worth, and the rest came out of investing the full amount allowed in my company ESPP so every 6 months for an automatic 15% profit (taxed at marginal rate, but still a great benefit which I believe is hard to find now), I'd have the cash safely in my checking account to write checks for school. I did have one year where my kids were both in college, and that was a bit tighter for me so I eliminated most discretionary spending that year. Then my share of of my son's college was much larger--luckily I was making more money. (My ex has pretty massive debt at this point, but I hate to say that he's "lucky" to be getting an inheritance this year large enough to pay it all off, probably including his mortgage--his father died, but he was something like 102. It's a terrible thing to be in such debt at age 62. Without this inheritance, he'd be looking at not being able to retire. His wife never did go back to work, which puzzled me until I learned that she's likely to get a large inheritance, too. Kinda weird to count on the death of loved ones to save one's bacon, but I wonder if that's more common that most people realize.
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