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Parents Begging Other People to Pay for Their Kid's College Are Tacky
July 23, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Parents Begging Other People to Pay for Their Kid's College Are Tacky

by Jeanne Sager

saving moneyI'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?

Replies

  • JadeTigr7
    July 23, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    I've asked my parents and inlaws to sign up their debit and credit cards with our kids upromise account.  Other than that we won't be asking for money to pay for the kids college.  It'd be hypocritical since we won't be paying for their college either.

  • KickButtMama
    July 23, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    Huh. While I agree asking strangers is weird, I think the overall tone of the article is a bit hostile. If you get bothered by seeing these things...then Don't see them? And I find it insulting the whole "your lack of planning" term, my eldest is 12. Last year we had to use his college savings to survive on, as my DH had been laid off for 2 years and unemployment (which was SUPOSED to go for another 5 months) was randomly cut off, and I've been fighting for over 4 years for my social security disability. So we had Zero other option but to use our kids college savings for things like food and housing. Now, it never would have occurred to me to ask strangers to help w/ their college savings. But we'll probably ask family to pitch in. 

  • Bleacheddecay
    July 23, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    Yes. I think asking other people for money is tacky. So, I just ignore or skip such things when they are sent to me.

  • kmath
    by kmath
    July 23, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    I wouldn't ask someone else to help me pay for my son to go to college.  If he wants to go it will be between us and his dad to figure out how to get him there. 

  • MacMamaof5
    July 23, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    This is my opinion as well.  IMO, it's as bad as if I were to ask someone to fund the hospital bill for my child's birth.  YOu have to count the costs of parenting. If you can't afford college--shouldn't go til you do.  A lot of folks work to pay their way thru.

    Quoting Bleacheddecay:

    Yes. I think asking other people for money is tacky. So, I just ignore or skip such things when they are sent to me.


  • hwblyf
    by hwblyf
    July 23, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    I had a cousin ask all of us to sign up for her upromise account and I ignored it.  Circumstances happen to everyone, and I understand that accounts sometimes have to be drained, but everyone has choices and I don't have to pay for yours.  My parents have made a choice to give money to my kids' college accounts, but they also decided to stop because of their circumstances.  I get very upset when people behave as though they have no financial choices and are dependent upon others to "rescue" them.  College isn't something that HAS to be done, so I think soliciting people for funds is quite self-centered.

  • PurpleCupcake
    July 23, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    AGREE! This exact thing with unemployment just happened to us. 

    I find it more than insulting for someone to say, "You had 18 years to save". 

    Did I? House note, car note, $700 a month for health insurance, gas at $4 a gallon, A t-shirt for $16, a friggin can of soup for $2? What was I supposed to save? The pennies at the bottom of my purse?

    Quoting KickButtMama:

    Huh. While I agree asking strangers is weird, I think the overall tone of the article is a bit hostile. If you get bothered by seeing these things...then Don't see them? And I find it insulting the whole "your lack of planning" term, my eldest is 12. Last year we had to use his college savings to survive on, as my DH had been laid off for 2 years and unemployment (which was SUPOSED to go for another 5 months) was randomly cut off, and I've been fighting for over 4 years for my social security disability. So we had Zero other option but to use our kids college savings for things like food and housing. Now, it never would have occurred to me to ask strangers to help w/ their college savings. But we'll probably ask family to pitch in. 


  • KickButtMama
    July 23, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    IMO, college IS something that has to be done, in order for my kids to have the best possible future. Do I think it has to be Ivy League? No, wil my kids have to work & go to school? Yes. But I don't think my kids should be disadvantaged just because my DH's former employer went out of business and all of his previous industry was shipped overseas. And every doctor I've seen agrees I should be on social security but I'm still fighting for it....neither of these things are my kids fault, so They shouldn't be punnished for them. 

    I guess it's all in differing points of view. I have no problem with my kids asking for $$ rather than 8 million crappy gifts for birthdays/holidays. So I don't see a problem w/asking those who would give graduation gifts, birthdays, etc to instead put $$ into something my kids need rather than those immediate toys that break after 5 minutes. 

    Quoting hwblyf:

    College isn't something that HAS to be done, so I think soliciting people for funds is quite self-centered.


  • hwblyf
    by hwblyf
    July 23, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    Nope, I have no problem with asking for college money instead of gifts, it's what the person wants instead of a thing.  And if college is something that HAS to be done, then it gets done, without asking others for someone else's money.  Do I think that sometimes life is a crapshoot and we're on the wrong side of the crap?  Indeed I do.  But I would get really irate with someone asking me for money and insinuating that their crapshoot was worse than mine.  I would like to think that we're all basically generous people and if we had family that were struggling we'd reach out to help.  But I also wouldn't be asking for money.  I hate being in debt, I hate people feeling as though they can police how I handle money because they "gave" or "gifted" or even loaned the money to me.  But I also think there's a huge difference in asking money the way you are going about it and basically panhandling your friends, which is what the original post implied.


    Quoting KickButtMama:

    IMO, college IS something that has to be done, in order for my kids to have the best possible future. Do I think it has to be Ivy League? No, wil my kids have to work & go to school? Yes. But I don't think my kids should be disadvantaged just because my DH's former employer went out of business and all of his previous industry was shipped overseas. And every doctor I've seen agrees I should be on social security but I'm still fighting for it....neither of these things are my kids fault, so They shouldn't be punnished for them. 

    I guess it's all in differing points of view. I have no problem with my kids asking for $$ rather than 8 million crappy gifts for birthdays/holidays. So I don't see a problem w/asking those who would give graduation gifts, birthdays, etc to instead put $$ into something my kids need rather than those immediate toys that break after 5 minutes. 

    Quoting hwblyf:

    College isn't something that HAS to be done, so I think soliciting people for funds is quite self-centered.




  • coala
    by coala
    July 24, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    This is something that I do not agree with.  I don't ask for money when I "need" it, let alone asking for people to pay my children's way to college.  We will help our kids do what they want, but they will also work and pay towards their goals as well.

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