Should Parents Pay For College?

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Sometimes, I think that my two and a half year old is going on 18. I jest, but time flies and college isn’t far behind. Realizing this, my husband and I started looking into options for saving for college. A financial adviser told us (with a straight face, no less) that given the current trends of tuition increases, we would need to save $3 million to put her through college. I found an estimate that was a little less disturbing, but not much better.

Once I stopped laughing hysterically, I started to consider what our role should be in paying for her education. Or, really, what should any parent’s role be? There seems to be two approaches to this question.…

8 Things Incoming Freshman Must Do The Summer Before College

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When I asked my soon-to-be-college-freshman son what to include in a pre-college to-do list, he said: say goodbye to your girlfriend or boyfriend, buy a good alarm clock, and watch a movie about balancing partying with education.

Well, at least one of his suggestions mentioned education (sort of).

Based on what my other kids have experienced, there is a lot more to do before you arrive on campus. If you’re heading to school in the fall, be sure to check these eight things off your to-do list.…

How To Survive Life At Home With Your Parents

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Living with college roommates is tough. However, living with roommates who happen to be middle-aged and have given birth to you isn’t any easier.

This summer, I moved home after graduation. Living with my parents definitely has its perks: home-cooked meals, a live-in cleaning service, and luxuries I’d never be able to afford on my own (hello, 56’’ flat-screen plasma.)

However, being yelled at to “clean my room” 15 times a day, a curfew, and endless reruns of Lifetime movies also makes me feel like doing this on occasion.…

A Parent’s Take On The “Worst” Graduation Advice From Parents

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When it comes to new college grads, my generation is always good for passing along well-intended—but possibly less than stellar—advice (as Sasha pointed out last week).

I found Sasha’s post intriguing, not only because I’m a parent of college students who will eventually don a cap and gown, but also because I’ve hired interns. So, at the risk of providing even more unasked-for advice, here’s my two cents on the “worst advice” people told her.…

5 Steps To Create A Student Loan Repayment Plan With Your Parents

Don’t leave any money on the table when you negotiate—even if it’s with your parents.
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Graduation is right (and I mean right) around the corner. With that has come more stress than I’ve had in my entire life. This is partially due to my fear of falling down while on stage. But until recently, I was also freaking out because my parents and I still hadn’t decided if/how they’d be helping me repay my student loans after graduation. I decided the time had come for us to make a real game plan—a game plan that’s clear, tactical, and allows my parents and me to beat these loans together. Here are some steps you can take that may help you make a plan with your parents.…

3 Reasons To Manage Expectations For Your Family’s College Contribution

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Award letter season is right around the corner. And with it, I’ve been thinking about what’s realistic for a family to contribute when paying for college—especially in this age of students suing parents for tuition.

My husband and I take an “oxygen mask” approach to our finances, i.e., we apply our own before assisting our children. In other words, if we couldn’t fund both equally, we’d allocate money to our retirement before our kids’ college tuitions, even if that meant not meeting the “expected” family contribution listed in an award letter.

You might dislike the idea of your parents thinking more about their own future than yours; however, it makes sense. Here are three reasons why.…

Answering Those Wonderful Parental Questions In Post-Grad Life

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So far, becoming an adult has entailed dealing with a series of obstacles like, “How does one make rent again?” Oh, and, “Am I already facing a life crisis?”

I figured out those answers for the time being, but some questions I just don’t have any answers to yet. Some questions I never even asked myself before. These often come from my older family members—especially when talking about my post-grad life.…

Last-Minute, Inexpensive Gifts For Your Mom and Dad

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The sprint between Thanksgiving and Christmas is quick. And for those college students who celebrated Thanksgivukkah, the gap between holidays this year was, well, no gap at all. This makes holiday gift buying a challenge.

If you still have gifts left to buy, you may feel challenged as to how to give creatively on a limited budget. The best gift to give your mom and dad this season is really just some of your time and conversation. But if you’ve bonded enough this year, here are a few other ideas.…

Didn’t Get into Your Top-Choice College? You’re Not Alone

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This Thanksgiving, my daughter came home for the first time since she left for her freshman year. I was so glad to have a lot of time with her and so happy that she absolutely loves her college—even though it wasn’t her first choice.

I couldn’t help thinking just how different things were just about a year ago, when the news wasn’t nearly as good for her on the college front.…