There are so many options when it comes to school for children. Home school, public school, private school all have their own with benefits and drawbacks, but in the end, the kids grow up and end up in the same place university/college.
I think getting a post secondary education is compulsory in today’s society. While there are few who succeed without it, the majority of children will need something if they ever hope to have a successful career. But university or college comes with a steep price tag, and I don’t think that is a burden a child should bear alone.
No, I do not think that parents are responsible for paying for their children’s way in life. In fact, when I was in university I abhorred the kids whose parents paid for them because while I was working full-time to pay for school plus working my ass of to get straight A’s, they did nothing but hang around at central square socializing, and they did not take pride in their grades or care about their school work at all.
I think it’s good for a child to have a part-time job so they can understand the value of money (and many other things) and understand the value of the education they are receiving. But I don’t think that at one of the most tumultuous times in their teenage lives that they should be faced of the weight of their entire future on their shoulders because they may not be able to come up with the money for school.
I was lucky. I had a good job and worked 35 hours a week from the age of 17 so I had lots of savings and did not have to worry. Getting those straight A’s also paid off and I received almost $20,000 in grants and scholarships between my undergraduate and graduate studies. My parents also had some money put away that I was able to use. So for all these reasons I never had to borrow a dime.
Some of my friends however, were not so lucky. The really unlucky ones did not qualify for student assistance programs because their parents “made too much money” even though that did not mean their parents were giving them any of said money. Then there were those who did qualify and graduated with tens of thousands of dollars of debt they had no hope of repaying since the job market sucks and university does not usually translate directly into a well-paying job. Then there were those who went to college and did have an easier time getting a job, but soon came to find themselves very limited when it came to lateral opportunities or chances for career advancement since their training was so specialized. So they either went back to school, accumulating more debt, or took pay cuts to be able to have flexibility.
I do not want that to happen to my kids.
In case you are interested in helping your kids to save for school there are lots of great options available. All three of my kids have a tax sheltered RESP that the government tops up monthly with a percentage of money based on our contributions. We don’t put in a lot, but at the age of three my son already has almost $4000 in there and we didn’t even start it until he was around 6-8 months old.
So if you haven’t started to think about it yet, give some thought to how your kids will pay for school and make those decisions while you still have time to make them. I for one feel a sense of pride and relief knowing that I will be able to help my kids if/when they need it.