by Jeanne Sager
I'm not going to lie. I try not to think about sending my kid to college. It's not just that I'll have to face empty nesting and the end of her childhood and all that mushy gushy stuff that makes mothers weep into their Ben & Jerry's. I'm not ready for the financial hit of college tuition.
I know I will have to get creative to pay for college. But there's at least one new parenting trend I just can't get behind. Crowd-funding your kid's ride to the school of their choice is just a little too tacky for me.
You've heard of crowd-funding, haven't you? It's becoming a popular way to raise money for just about everything these days -- from helping a bullied bus monitor get the money she needs to escape the nasty brats at work to giving a reality star the funds she needs to pursue her dreams as a pageant girl.
All you need to do is write up your plea, upload it to one of the (growing number of) crowd-funding sites on the Internet, and wait for big-hearted people to give you their money.
It's not the worst way to raise money. I've been known to donate a time or two on sites like these, usually for sick kids whose families are struggling with bills.
But a sick kid surprises a family.
College doesn't. So the "sudden" need to reach out to the world to help pay for your child's education is a bit disingenuous.
Most of us hope from birth that our kids will one day go to college. For many American kids, there is no other option. The children are told, "You WILL go to college, no ifs, ands, or buts about it."
That means you have 18 years -- give or take -- to save for college. If you don't do that, well, that's on you! It's not up to the rest of us to fund your kid's college dreams. As the old saying goes, "Your lack of planning does not constitute my emergency."
It isn't just the lack of class that bothers me here, quite frankly. It's the message you're sending to your kids.
Throwing up a website and saying "gimme all your money" tells our kids that it's OK not to plan, that they should expect people to pick them up when they fall.
Sometimes there are nice people who will do that. But more often than not, there aren't. Life doesn't work that way.
Life is about planning. It's about working hard to get what you want, not resting on your laurels and expecting it to come to you.
Still thinking about crowd-funding your kid's tuition? You might want to look at loans instead.
Would you donate to a college tuition site or do you think it's tacky for parents to ask?
I think that what other people do is not my business - nor my place to judge them.
I have known many people who worked themselves through college. Last I checked, tuition around here at a decent college, was about $8,000 a yr. Working at a convience store pays you $9.50 around here and factory jobs pay around $15.- an hr. So it seems do-able. Working pt at the convience store (24hrs a week) is enough to pay their way through college. I am a single mom of three kids, so my kids will have to work hard to earn a college degree. My 17yr old has been working since she turned 16 - and is planning to attend a local college. She already has a good bit saved. She works pt all yr round and adds in a ft seasonal (summer) job at a local theme park.
Hmm, maybe its just my family, but I don't know many people who pay for their childs college. In fact, most of my family raises their kids first then goes to college later. My 24 yr old is taking three classes at a time, paid for with his own money, and he works full time. I can't get him to understand that taking longer to get a degree is not a traumatic tragedy. Its just reality for most people. I guess he knows too many people whos mom and dad paid for theirs the day they graduated high school. You know where those college grads are now? Back home with mom and dad, unemployed, with their expensive diplomas.
No thank you. Now, within the family, I would have no problem gifting money to nieces and nephews. We also have given gparents the info for the boys ESAs so they can deposit (like for Christmas and birthdays). But the above idea is inappropriate and tasky to say the least.
I'm not sure how I feel about it. I think it depends on the intended going to college, the reason for going, the when to go and the circumstances all around. For some people to ask, it is tacky but there are some who no matter what, can not seem to get to that place where it is financially available. Even with having 1, 2, 3, and even 4 jobs. I just don't know. I don't know that I could do it but that may be me. I can't ask for help as it just kills me to do so. Makes me feel like I failed in some important way and like I am putting someone out. Even if the capability and desire to help is there. But that is just me.