This is a topic that my family has been talking about, and I suspect this is not just a one-post topic, so it may stretch out over the week, as student debt is an important topic.
In my case, I was fortunate in that my parents paid for my education. I graduated (in 1986) with no student debt (which is depressing knowing that all of the debt I carry now is of my own making, but that topic is an underlying thematic premise in this journal, so we’ll leave that one aside for now).
My parents and many friends of mine had to pay for their own education, or finance their education themselves at least. What are the pros and cons of all of this:
Pros of Having Child Pay for Education
- A sense of ownership and responsibility can be instilled in the student. If the student is the one who has paid for something, the student is much more likely to value their education that much more.
- A higher degree of pride in the accomplishment of “doing it yourself”, and being self-made. This may not necessarily be true all the time, but it can be a decisive motivational factor in later life. Knowing you can accomplish goals is essential, and this is a huge goal.
- At 18, this child is learning the value of money and the value of the education they are earning. Of the people I know that “did it themselves” they have a very good understanding of money and also how to live on a budget.
- Co-operative programs are available at many Universities and this can be a way to pay for an entire education (or most of it) and they get worthwhile job-related experience at the same time.
- If a student takes care of their own school expenses, they are not burdening their family with these costs. This can be a point of pride (and is for many people I know who paid their way).
Cons of Having Child Pay for Education
- Students graduate with crushing debt loads, which will drag on their early adult lives. These debts can cause a great deal of consternation and angst in young people’s lives. Sometimes these debts cause a sandy bedrock to build upon, causing more issues later in life (financially).
- If a child has to have a part-time job during school, can they truly concentrate on school full time?
- A degree can take longer, if there is a need to do a part time job, and thus not be able to take a full course load (or worse, your job causes you to fail courses). A longer period of education means more costs, means more loans?
- Can the student truly experience the University experience if they are constantly worried about money? (some might argue that in fact, that point is part of the entire University experience (I tell stories of Kraft Dinner being 4 boxes for $1.00, when I was at school)).
So is it better to help or pay for your kids’ post-secondary education? Let’s ask tomorrow.
- Student Debt Part 2 with more direct discussion on the subject
- Student Debt Epilogue which wraps up the subject
Back To School
A few other quick views on back-to-school and RESPs
- RESP: Back to School Reminders for September.
- So that is what $50,000 looks like… It is important to know what is the final goal for an RESP.
- Back to School (Monetary Nightmare) the start of September can be expensive.
- Back To School and RESP Time is the time to think about this. When else if not the start of school?
- University, Who Pays ? It isn’t written in stone that you must pay for your kids’ education.
- Kids Allowances (redux) is this concept dead? Are allowances passe?
- Money Hemorrhage in August? (aka the Scream). September can be a very expensive month.