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 very lucky in that my parents paid for my education, and 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 really 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 powerful motivational factor in later life. Knowing you can accomplish goals is important, and this is a very large 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 a lot of the people I know who paid their own way).
Cons of Having Child Pay for Education
- Students graduating 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 as well (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). 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.