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Hello Fools,

First I wanted to thank everyone on this board. I've learned a lot (and still learning more every day) about the different ways to save for college. I'm probably going to enroll in a 529 plan for my 1 yr old son once we figure out which state's plan works out best for our family.

As my husband and I were talking about college savings, we were discussing whether or not we should expect our son to pay for part of his education. Our parents weren't able to contribute much to our education and we never really expected that they should. On the other hand by the time Alan goes to college, we'll be in a much different financial situation than our parents were.

So my question is, how much are you expecting your children to contribute to their own education? It's not a question of the parents can't or won't pay for all of it but of making your child at least partially responsible for their own education.

TIA for your thoughts.

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<<<So my question is, how much are you expecting your children to contribute to their own education? >>>

zenwoman,

I am a sophomore at the University of Missouri at St. Louis. Unfortunately for me, my parents decided that it would be best for me to fund my entire college education (and my family is fairly well off, trust me) because they thought I would value my education more if I paid for it. Worst of all, I was given only about six months' notice on this wonderful news.

My parents are right; I do value my education more because of my financial contribution. But after forking over my entire savings for one semester at a private college, I decided I didn't want to spend years in student loan debt. I now go to a public college which I am not entirely happy at. I have most of my tuition paid for by scholarship money, but I have to work 25 hours plus during the school year to keep up with car payments (I had to buy a car so I could get to school). I feel overwhelmed, especially for a nineteen year old.

This is not intended to me a "poor me" story, but I wanted to tell you about my college experience so you can better understand my advice. Here it is: whatever you decide, make sure your child knows what is expected of them financially years in advance. Set up a "college savings" account for them to contribute to, and make sure they do. Secondly, I think it is important for a college student to pay for part of their education--they WILL value it more. But make sure their needs are being met. Don't strand them in the land of college! They will thank you later.

Good luck!
Heather
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There is a thread over at the Retire Early Message board regarding this very question. Just some more thoughts on how to go about giving the child some sense of ownership of their education. It starts at
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?id=1380025000424001&sort=id .

Gabe
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I realize that this is very late in response to the original post, but I just found this board today and am going through each message.

What my wife and I decided is to have each kid pay a portion if they choose. Let me explain. We live in Indiana and the kids can go to Purdue Univeristy North Central for about $5,500 this year. So, we are going to pay $5,500 and they pay the rest. If they want to go to North Central, they can live at home and commute. If they want to go somewhere else, we will pay the 5,500 and they will have to take out loans for the remainder. Just my two cents.
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