BOSTON (CBS) – Who should pay for college? That’s a fair question.

The student is going to benefit so should they pay for college? Should the step-parent be expected to contribute because he/she is living in the household? I don’t have definitive answers!

But I do have an opinion and that is that kids should be responsible for some of the cost of college. It is very expensive to send a kid to college today and I am afraid most kids just expect someone else to pay for it.

In doing research for this segment, I found that almost 40% (37%) of graduates are struggling to pay back their loans. A couple of weeks ago 20/20 had a story on Sugar Babies. College students in need of tuition cash are going to sugar daddy websites for help. Their sugar daddies help them pay their college expenses in exchange for services. They only interviewed young women.

I found this most distributing! College today costs too much money!

I do believe an education is a very good investment! That investment could be worth over a $1 million dollars to the student. That’s the average pay difference over a working career between having a high school diploma compared to a college degree.

One of the criteria for selecting a college should be its affordability. These are conversations that should take place before the kid gets out of middle school.

Start meeting with the guidance counselor as soon as she will let you in door. Start researching schools and costs as soon as the kiddo takes the PSATs in their junior year. Let them do this research. They need to realize how much this is going to cost the family. It is their education and they need some ownership of it.

We have great state schools and community colleges here in Massachusetts. Two years in a community college and then a transfer to UMASS is a very doable plan. Their degree will be from UMASS.

Check out US News & World Report’s College Rankings article. Lots of good information on schools. Look for schools that give out the most financial aid in the form of grants. Five of the top ten liberal arts colleges are right here in New England, 3 in Massachusetts.

Check out the Princeton Review’s list of the Best Value Colleges. The schools included on the list are where parents and the students will get the most bang for their buck. Some of the schools listed offer large grants. Swarthmore located near Philadelphia offers on average a $34,000 grant to offset annual costs of $52,000.

Other good deals that I found are Cooper Union in New York City. A student’s acceptance includes free tuition, which is worth $37,500 this year.

There is Olin College of Engineering in Needham, MA, which once offered free tuition but now has a new tuition scholarship worth $19,500 a year to every accepted student.

Comments (8)
  1. Taxed Enough says:

    If you borrow for something, I don’t care what it is or why you think you need it, YOU should pay back the money. Period!
    Your decisions are not somebody else’s responsibility and your decisions should not result in a free ride into somebody else’s earnings.

  2. Bob says:

    We have 4 in college and not one of our children was ever told that a good education was available at the State level from their guidance councilors. There was always the push for private and very expensive colleges. Schools should be required to inform kids that their college educations will in most cases result in huge college loans that have to be repaid and their entire life will be dictated by the repayment of those loans .

    1. Matt says:

      At what point does it become the parents job to inform their kids that their college educations will in most cases result in huge college loans that have to be repaid and that their entire life will be dictated by the repayment of those loans?

  3. response says:

    It’s a parents job to prepare their children for adulthood and this is a huge part of it.
    You need to be truthful with your children about expenses and the cost of living.
    So, Matt to answer your question – when they are toddlers!
    Please explain to your children, yes, you can go to BC, ND, NE…other expensive colleges, but be prepared to pay down the debt and that may mean not owning a house for a very long time.
    I encouraged my kids to look at state schools, do a cost analysis of how much it will cost them as opposed to a private college and go from there.

  4. ginny says:

    When my daughter was in 5th grade I started explaining what it was going to take for her to be able to go to college…excellent grades from that point on, outside activities that would be seen as beneficial by the school(s) she applied to. When she got into 9th grade I started talking about student loans, grants, etc. because of my single income, were her only option. Then I had her look into the schools that had a good reputation for the field she wanted to go into. In the end she got the ,message, and she was accepted at the top 5 schools in the US for her major,was offered full ridesat all of them, for all 4 years; Kids should not expect parents to pay the bill unless they also pay into it.

  5. paul says:

    Here is what WE did: We told our children that we would pay for all the costs for college….BUT….ONLY if they finished and with a 3.0 or above. They paid for their books, took out loans, paid for gas, and all expenses. They gave us copies of ALL of their receipts. WE placed an equal amount into a savings account. When each graduated….we handed them the passbook. One used the money as a downpayment on a house and is still paying on the loans. The others paid off the loans and had some money left over for cars. They seemed happy that the got it the “old fashioned way….they EARNED it”

  6. DoverDavid says:

    Having worked in higher education for over 20 years, I am very familiar with this topic. Many times I have sat with families who have decided to attend out school and only after the bill arrived did they ever ask how much it would be to attend. Most if not all schools have information on current costs for both in state and out of state students.

    People file for financial aid and are upset with the limited amount they receive. Perhaps more should know that the government looks to the parents as the primary party to pay for college costs, because it is a choice to send your child to college, one you should be preparing for years in advance.

    One of the hardest things I have had to do is sit with a student, who has attended for a year is to inform them that it appears that they can no longer afford to attend here. So many students want to cross the state border to attend school and do not realize that it is costing them a lot more in doing that simply to wind up obtaining a degree in liberal arts.

    Perhaps a family needs to say to the child that we can afford to give you X amount each year for college. That anything over this amount is up to them to finance, whether that be by working in the summer, taking out loans, or receiving outside independent scholarships.

  7. Karlo says:

    What are some alternatives to loans for eoglcle?I got a federal loan from my eoglcle and now I need to pay the remaining $1900. My parents aren’t too keen on co-signing (I don’t blame them) since I have to have one at the only credit union that offers them in my area. I know credit cards are crap, but should I try them and just may the minimum payments for a while? I’ve tried scholarships, but I haven’t been successful. What else is there that I can do?I mean to say that the credit union requires a co-signer for student loans. They aren’t too keen because no one likes to co-sign on a loan.

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