Should parents pay for their child’s college expenses?

I grew up in a home where hard work and financial responsibility were very important.

My father started out as a high school teacher with a meager salary, while my mother stayed home with the kids. They didn’t make a lot, but because they were very careful with their money, we had a comfortable childhood. My parents believed in the importance of working and saving, and wanted to teach us the same principles. They did this by giving us multiple opportunities to work and save what we earned.

By the time I graduated from high school, I had held several jobs and had a few thousand dollars saved for college. My parents paid for a portion of my college expenses, but expected me to use my savings and work through college to cover the remainder of the costs.

Now that I am raising a family of my own, I have tried to teach my children some of those same principles. My kids all have chores and get paid for their work. My older kids have part-time jobs (when they are not in sports) and save their money in the bank.

Even with all of this working and saving, it is not enough to cover the cost of college (in-state or otherwise). In fact, when my second son applied to college last fall, the school’s financial aid department informed me of my “expected financial contribution” as the parent … well over $100,000!


Unfortunately, we do not plan to contribute a half a million dollars towards his college education.

He plans on paying for college with his savings, some scholarships, some help from us (not in the six-figure range) and a job. If he works part time during school and full time during the summer, he might be able to avoid college debt.

Should parents be expected to pay for their children’s college expenses?

Shouldn’t parents be teaching their kids about financial responsibility?

It is bad to expect our kids to work and pay for their own college education?

What do you plan to contribute towards your children’s college (or other post secondary) education, if any?

Tell me what you think: [email protected]

Melanie Flake

Melanie Flake

Get EdNews in your inbox

Weekly round up every Friday